Data-driven Digital Marketing is Not the Future. Here’s Why

Pooja Agnihotri
8 min readJul 5, 2021

What if Coca-Cola doesn’t want to increase its Sales?

Imagine Coca-Cola one day running an ad on TV. The ad says, “We just realized we are selling way too many cokes than we planned for. We have hit our ideal number of customers and that’s where we want to be. We understand there is still a lot of unmet demand in the XYZ corner of the world for our product, but unfortunately, we won’t be able to handle that because we don’t want more customers.” Tough to imagine, isn’t it?

This makes me wonder if there is a thing like TOO MANY CUSTOMERS or TOO MUCH WEB TRAFFIC?

The Problem of Too Many Customers

Have you ever heard anyone say, “Oh heavenly God! My business is having too many sales, I need to hit the brakes on this. For some inexplicable reason, if I get any more sales my entire business will collapse.”

Or maybe in a business conference you found somebody complaining, “I am being contacted by so many prospective clients for my services. I don’t want this and I want my phone to stop ringing.”

Or maybe somebody in a restaurant talking to his friend, “Hey John, my website is attracting traffic of 10,000 visitors a day. I don’t think I want so many people to come to my website. Maybe 9,000 web visitors a day would have been perfect for me, but 10,000… that’s not what I wanted but I guess I’ll try to live with it.”

No! No! No! That’s the answer in every case.

Because we all know that there is no such thing as having too many visitors, too many leads, or too many sales. If there would have been, we might not be running a business.

That’s why we believe in forever growth, because here we understand that there is no place for stagnation in a business. A business is either growing or it’s shrinking.

How Do You Achieve Business Growth?

So what exactly do I mean when I say business growth? When does business growth happen?

  • Business growth happens when there is an increase in the number of sales.
  • It also happens when we do something in a more efficient and improved way so that it cuts down expenses and improves ROI.
  • It also happens when the visibility of your business increases in the digital world.
  • Not just that, but when people prefer your brand over your competitor’s, that is also business growth.

Isn’t that what we all are trying to achieve every day in our work? Trying to figure out different ways to grow the business that we’re a part of.

Why Do So Many Businesses Fail?

Data shows that a corporation fails every 3 minutes according to Chet Holmes, author of many popular business books. How are we making sure that our business doesn’t fall in this category?

The very insightful book “ 17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail “ brings the cautionary tales of mistakes made by many businesses that ultimately led to their failure and which other businesses should avoid at all costs if they plan to survive and grow.

According to the book, one of the top 5 reasons a business fails is “no marketing or poor marketing”.

MARKETING!!! Why does this word have so many misconceptions attached to it?

When this word comes up, why not think about it as an investment rather than an expense?

Why not think about the long-term growth of a business rather than short-term growth?

When I say Marketing, I don’t Mean Sales

Marketing isn’t synonymous with sales.

Marketing is a pull concept where you don’t have to force (push) your products on anyone. They already consider your product as far-superior than others and want to buy it (pull effect).

Such is the power of good marketing. Still, many business owners fail to understand the importance of this. They either ignore marketing altogether or end up falling prey to some form of ineffective marketing.

Don’t Just Do Marketing, Do Effective Marketing

There is a huge chasm between marketing and effective marketing.

Effective marketing is reaching the right people at the right time with the right message so they take the right action. If there is any mismatch, you won’t see the expected results.

For example, if a family has just bought a home or are just touring NYC, will targeting these people with home buying messages generate any results? Maybe in a 0.00001% case, but getting 1 lead out of a million is not what your limited budget is for.

The Stage of Business Stagnation

Another important thing to remember is that effective marketing won’t reach a stage of stagnation after a few years. Marketing is not a passive word, it’s active-always changing a business for the better.

With the rise of technology, there has been a shift in the way we live our lives. We have started going to online stores to buy clothes instead of visiting stores in person. We have started finding restaurants online for our next meal.

And it’s not just B2C, B2B businesses are drastically affected by this as well. Now it takes more than cold calling to win over a client. Clients have access to all kinds of information now, and their decision-making is changing according to that. They are going to research you online first, try to learn about your company, check your online reputation, and get proof of your expertise before partnering up with you.

Unlocking the Power of Data For Business Growth

Unlike in the past when we struggled with the lack of data, things are completely different now.

We now can tell what a customer is buying, why he is buying, who he is, what does he do in his free time, does he like your website, on which part of the website does he loses interest in your services, etc…

We are surrounded by data, and mining this data gives us power in the form of information that we never knew before. Now, a business can know that people in the age group of 20–30 love their product, so I can target them more for growing their business.

Or I can change their product positioning to attract other age groups who would also love their products.

We can know what percentage of people are leaving a website after adding a product to the cart, which tells us that there is something unappealing there that needs to be fixed. The information keeps growing and so do the insights we can gather from that. That’s a creative marketing and advertising.

The Rise of Data-driven Digital Marketing

The internet has given rise to data-driven marketing, whereby data makes the marketing decisions, which is actually a good thing.

Ignoring data will only lead to failure. Data can save us from disappearing, losing out to our competitors, or self-destructing like Kodak, Blockbuster, and many more.

As corporations have moved more and more towards data-driven marketing, it’s moved further away from creative marketing and advertising.

If you check the graph of creative marketing and advertising, it’s showing a continuous decline. Was creativity a fad? Have we developed a robotic personality with the time that responds to only numbers and not creativity or stories anymore? What is the future: creative marketing or data-driven marketing?

Why Business Growth Needs More Than Data-driven Digital Marketing?

Did you watch the Superbowl this year? Which ad won your heart and mind? Which ad could you not stop talking about?

Yes, you are guessing correctly. It was Google’s Loretta ad, the Hyundai Boston accent spots, and the Tide commercials with Charlie Day.

What was so special about them? Creativity in the form of story-telling.

Let’s try another exercise. Do you remember any statistics or data from 1997’s ad campaigns (magazines, billboards, websites, TV ads, etc…)?

Of course not!

Do you remember the ‘Think Different’ campaign by Apple from that time? Definitely!

That’s the kind of ad that wins everyone over and grabs everyone’s attention; an ad that is still unique after so many years; an ad that makes you nostalgic; an ad that makes you talk about it even many years after it aired, just like the many popular 50s campaigns your grandpa still talks about.

The truth is that no matter how much technology changes us and shapes our society, we are still emotional human beings. We are driven by creativity. We will hardly remember any numbers, but we will never forget a good story.

Data-driven, Creativity-Inspired Digital Marketing is the Future

That’s the reason that marketing needs to be inspired by creativity and driven by data. Data can help us grow to an extent, but creativity when combined with data can take us to a level we never thought possible.

A combination of the two is the right answer for the success of any business- a business that is always growing and doesn’t become stale after 5–10 years.

The Stories of Deadly Business Mistakes That You Should Absolutely Avoid

The secret to success in business isn’t doing what other successful people have done; it’s by avoiding the mistakes made by businesses that have failed. Instead of repeating their mistakes, now we can learn from them and best ensure business growth and commercial success.

17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail brings the cautionary tales of mistakes made by many businesses that ultimately led to their failure and which other businesses should avoid at all costs if they plan to survive and grow. Get your copy.

Originally published at on July 5, 2021.



Pooja Agnihotri

Experienced marketer and a published book author, Pooja Agnihotri, is on a mission to save businesses from themselves.