Modern marketing is a mix of math and magic – you need the insights drawn from Big Data, but you also need to be able to connect with customers on a human level. It takes a special kind of talent to be able to merge these two approaches and use sophisticated technological tools to create a strong connection with an audience. This infographic from Bain & Company uses information from a survey of marketers from 436 companies in North America, and looks at the tactics used by marketers who are increasing sales and market share vs. those who are losing sales and market share. Let’s see what they’re doing right.

There are a few traits that set marketing leaders apart from the pack, when it comes to their digital marketing strategies. For one thing, their spending habits: marketing leaders tend to spend twice as many marketing dollars on digital vehicles, and far less on television. Another thing that they do is use A/B testing to tweak their campaigns – they are three times more likely to use test results to change their campaign spending. In fact, marketing leaders rely more heavily on data when it comes to decision making overall. Compared to other marketers, they are three times more likely to consider data when making decisions. Maybe this is why they make those decisions two-and-a-half times faster.

Marketing leaders are also more involved in making creative decisions than their peers. Compared to other marketers, marketing leaders are twice as likely to own the creative activities that shape their branding. They tend to outsource less – they are 50% more likely to invest in in-house digital marketing expertise and tools.

So what first steps should you take on your road to becoming a marketing leader?

  1. Paint a holistic picture of the customer. Don’t just rely on number-crunching and data analytics – combine it with more direct human interaction like customer feedback.
  2. Encourage emotions. Connect with your customers on a more human level, by listening to and responding to their feedback.
  3. Stay nimble – and be bold. Keep evolving based on the results of campaign testing. The point of testing is to point out what isn’t working – so when you find it, ditch it. Work on improving what does work, and keep trying new things.

Have you found the sweet spot where math and magic are balanced? Do you have any tips for the rest of us? Let me know in the comments!

Interesting Infographics: Secrets of Marketing Leaders