Success in marketing: data-driven or serendipity?

Which is better data-driven or serendipity?

In practice, a balanced approach can achieve the best results, Data-Driven minimizes risk while Serendipity helps find innovative and creative solutions.

What is Data-Driven?

Data-Driven” means making decisions based on numbers, data and facts. This approach is based on analyzing quantitative and qualitative data to identify trends and patterns and make informed decisions. The focus is on collecting data and analyzing information to make predictions and minimize risks. Data-driven decisions are typically driven by objective information and can be aimed at improving processes and optimizing business operations. This approach can help minimize risk and maximize the likelihood of success because decisions are made based on objective information.

According to a 2019 study by McKinsey & Company that examined 3,000 companies across a range of industries, data-driven companies were found to be 23 times more likely to achieve customer acquisition, 6 times more likely to retain customers, and 19 times more likely to achieve profitability than their competitors.

Another 2020 study by Deloitte showed that companies that were able to leverage their data to optimize their business operations achieved 10% higher profitability than those that did not.

According to a 2020 survey by Gartner, 91% of companies said they were already using data analytics as an important part of their business strategy.

Facts about data-driven marketing

  1. Data-Driven Marketing is based on the analysis of numbers, data and facts to make marketing decisions and improve the customer experience.
  2. By analyzing data, companies can better understand their customers’ behaviors and create personalized marketing campaigns.
  3. Data-Driven Marketing enables companies to optimize marketing campaigns and measure the effectiveness of marketing efforts by analyzing marketing campaign data and results.
  4. By integrating data from various sources such as CRM, social media, email lists, and website analytics, companies can get a comprehensive picture of their customers.
  5. Data-Driven Marketing enables companies to use their marketing budgets more effectively by targeting the needs and interests of their audiences.
  6. By using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, companies can automate data analysis and create personalized marketing messages.
  7. Data-Driven Marketing helps companies measure the effectiveness of marketing efforts and respond to changes in market demand.
  8. Companies that use data-driven marketing have a competitive advantage because they can respond more quickly to market changes and adapt their marketing strategies.
  9. According to a 2019 survey by Forbes, 86% of respondents said that data-driven marketing was important or very important to the success of their business.
  10. Data-driven marketing has been shown to increase customer loyalty and satisfaction as personalized marketing messages improve customer engagement and create a better customer experience.


“Serendipity” is the concept that unexpected discoveries and coincidences can often lead to significant breakthroughs. Serendipity is based on the idea that by being open-minded and creative about new ideas and experiences, a person or company is able to find unexpected opportunities and solutions. It is a type of creative thinking that is based on chance and surprise and often requires an “out-of-the-box” way of thinking. Serendipity can refer to innovations and breakthrough discoveries that might not have been possible without such an open mind.

There are many examples of companies that have become successful because of serendipity, such as the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming or the invention of Post-it notes by Spencer Silver.

Serendipity can also have a big impact on success. A 2018 study by McKinsey & Company found that companies that were able to foster creative ideas and innovation had 30% higher revenue growth than companies that did not.

Facts about serendipity marketing

  1. Serendipity marketing uses unexpected events and trends to discover and capitalize on new business opportunities.
  2. A successful serendipity marketing campaign can lead to the company targeting new markets or audiences.
  3. Such a marketing strategy can help achieve higher customer satisfaction by exceeding customer expectations.
  4. Serendipity marketing can help position a brand or company as innovative and open-minded.
  5. Implementing serendipity marketing requires a degree of flexibility and openness to respond to unforeseen events and trends.
  6. Serendipity marketing requires thorough market research and analysis of trends to assess the opportunities and risks of an unexpected opportunity.
  7. It can be difficult to measure the success of a serendipity marketing campaign because the results are often random and unpredictable.
  8. Serendipity marketing can also be considered a type of risk management, as it helps to prepare for unforeseen events and take advantage of potential opportunities.
  9. Serendipity marketing can be used in a variety of industries, from entertainment to technology and retail.
  10. It is important that serendipity marketing be considered as part of a broader marketing strategy and not used as a stand-alone marketing method.


Although the two concepts refer to different methods of decision making, they can often be combined in practice. Data-driven decision making can be complemented by a creative mindset to discover new opportunities that were not apparent from the data alone. On the other hand, a serendipity can be supported and validated by data to assess its impact on the business and make better decisions.

In practice, a balanced approach can yield the best results. Data can help minimize risk and maximize the chances of success, while serendipity can help find innovative and creative solutions that may not have been obvious at first glance. It’s important to be open to new possibilities and ideas while considering data and facts and making informed decisions.


“Data Driven” studies

  1. “The Power of Customer Data: An Examination of the Impact of Data Quality on Company Performance,” a study by Experian that examined the impact of data quality on company performance.
  2. “The Business Value of Big Data: Evidence from the Banking Sector,” a study by economists at the University of Cambridge that examined the impact of Big Data on the banking industry.
  3. “Data-Driven Decision Making: The Engine of Business Performance,” a McKinsey & Company study that examined the benefits of data-driven decision making.
  4. McKinsey & Company, “The case for data-driven transformation.”
  5. Deloitte: “The Data-Driven Business: How to Use Data to Drive Business Outcomes”
  6. Gartner: “Data and Analytics Key Initiatives Survey 2020”
  7. McKinsey & Company: “The business value of design”

Studies on “Serendipity

  1. “The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck,” a book by Christian Busch that explores the concept of serendipity and the promotion of luck and serendipity in various areas of life.
  2. “Innovation and Serendipity in Knowledge-Based Industries,” a study by researchers at the University of Southampton that examined the role of serendipity in knowledge-based industries.
  3. “Serendipity and Strategy in Rapidly Evolving Industries,” a study by scholars at the University of Oxford that examined the importance of serendipity in fast-moving and rapidly changing industries such as technology.

Author: Thomas Barsch, Founder at DIGITAL BREAKFAST

WAS IST DAS DIGITAL BREAKFAST? „Deine digitale Wissensdusche - egal wo Du bist!" #LIVE-STREAM Die seit 28. Oktober 2015 stattfindenden Offline-Veranstaltungen wurden im März 2020 in Online-Veranstaltungen umgewandelt. Die Online-Veranstaltungen finden dienstags & freitags von 9:00 Uhr bis 10:00 Uhr an 62 Lokationen statt und beinhalten einen 25-minütigen Impulsvortrag zu einem digitalen Thema mit Diskussion und Austausch im Anschluss. #PODCAST Der DIGITAL BREAKFAST PODCAST widmet sich jeden Montag authentisch aktuellen Themen rund um die Digitalisierung. Für Menschen, die etwas zu sagen haben oder erfahren wollen. Befähigung, Inspiration, Networking - dafür stehen wir!

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