What is marketing myopia?

The answer to this question is up for debate, but it often presents itself as a hyper-focus on the here and now.

For some brands, it can look like an inward focus on the brand itself, one that almost entirely forgets customer needs, market trends, and other big-picture aspects of the outside world.

If left unchecked, marketing myopia progresses to the point where a lack of balance between the short- and long-term vision keeps the brand from achieving its goals. Marketers might struggle with figuring out how to leverage their data or extract actionable insights from the information they gather.

So what’s the cure for marketing myopia?

How can you balance both short-term and long-term goals to meet business objectives and offer relevant customer experiences?

Understanding Data to Overcome Marketing Myopia

Begin by refocusing on the larger picture of the outside world, including consumers, trends, and innovation efforts. To fully lean into digital transformation and personalization efforts that would give you a competitive edge and improve consumer relationships, you need to balance business results with consumer-centric thinking. Like every aspect of successful marketing, this starts with data.

Understanding marketing data often starts with looking at the relevancy and quality of your data. Being able to see purchase history and website page views is certainly informative, but that type of high-level, historical data only skims the surface.

If you can dig deeper and see the journey that led to consumers’ purchases—as well as how consumers engaged with your brand at every touchpoint—you can use that data to see which points are most relevant along the journey and where improvements need to be made. Deeper insights also allow you to truly personalize the consumer journey and help consumers find the products they’re looking for, which leads to improved ROI in the long run.

Features of Good-Quality Data

Netflix is a perfect example of a brand that uses its data effectively to offer more personalized experiences to users. No two customers have the same home screen with the same recommendations for what to watch next.

This is the gold standard of personalization, and the only way Netflix could have achieved it is by investing in better data collection, understanding its marketing data, and learning how to analyze and use those insights at scale.

Capturing the right data and tagging it appropriately can make the task of leveraging your data easier and more efficient. This means you need to understand what data to collect, how it will help you achieve your goals, how to tag it properly, and how to implement tools to help you analyze the data and extract actionable insights.

The features of good-quality data often boil down to accuracy, precision, reliability, timeliness, and relevance. You want to collect enough of the right data from the right data sources — and at the right moment in time — to inform your marketing decisions. Demographic data is a good place to start, but truly meaningful insights and consumer intent are found in behavioral data that shows how consumers really interact with your brand. Gathering first-party data allows you to dig deeper into every consumer action, helping you better understand how users make their way through the consumer journey. This information can be used to improve the consumer experience, helping you curb marketing myopia and see things more clearly.

Improving ROI With a Less Myopic Approach to Marketing

With a better understanding of your marketing data, you can turn your attention to leveraging that high-quality data and technology to better target consumers and improve ROI.

Here are a few big-picture strategies to consider moving forward:

Take Stock of the Data and Tools Already Available

There’s a lot of really cool technology out there, but it’s not always the most useful. Before investing in any new technology, first, consider the problem you’re trying to solve or the goal you’re hoping to achieve. Then, take a look at your tech stack. Can it adequately address that issue as is? If not, find a piece of technology or a third-party provider that bridges the gap and helps solve your problem. Of course, it’s also important to audit new technologies and make sure they’re serving a purpose before adding them into the mix.

Look at the Bigger Picture of Data-Driven Marketing

When short-term goals become a fixation, it’s difficult to step back and recognize where you’re headed. Not that you shouldn’t monitor campaigns and adjust as necessary, but this kind of inward focus is often the main driver of marketing myopia.

Instead of thinking only in terms of the next month or quarter, evaluate where you want your marketing strategies to be in a year, three years, five years, and so on. Remove yourself from the day-to-day operations to get a clearer vision of where you see the company’s marketing going in the future.

Where does digital transformation for marketing fit, and what does it mean for your brand? What areas will be changing the most? How can it support your data-driven marketing efforts?

Anchor Marketing Goals to Customer-Centric Thinking

As you establish goals from year to year (and especially those tied to revenue or growth), it’s often a beneficial exercise to view each one through the eyes of your consumer. Take something like average cart value, with the goal of increasing dollars spent. Although you could easily recommend more expensive products to consumers to increase revenue, the move will likely take a toll on the consumer experience and damage brand loyalty. Instead, try bumping up the value of those recommendations by no more than 10% or 15%, making a slow, but deliberate progression toward your goal of increasing cart value while preserving the digital consumer experience.

For example, if a consumer normally buys $10 bottles of wine, offer up an $11 alternative. If someone buys $100 shoes, suggest a pair that runs for $110 or $115. Slight value increases in personalized product recommendations are easier to swallow for consumers and still allow you to help them find what they’re looking for. This strategy can create some sizable profits for your brand. In fact, existing customers are 50% more likely to buy new products, and they spend about 31% more on average than new customers.

Overcoming marketing myopia to get to the bigger picture requires a deeper understanding of your marketing data. Using quality marketing data gives your brand the ability to personalize its messaging and product recommendations on a much deeper level and radically improve the consumer experience—all while increasing profits and maintaining a competitive edge in the market.

Diane Keng

Diane Keng is the CEO and co-founder of Breinify, an AI and predictive personalization engine that helps brands curate dynamic, meaningful experiences for their consumers at scale. Diane is on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for enterprise technology and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, TechCrunch, OZY, and Inc. Magazine.

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