I love the show Mad Men—and not just because Don Draper is such eye candy. As a marketer, I find the show to be the perfect fantasy world: Creative people dream up ideas in the morning then spend the afternoon sipping martinis and hoping their brilliant ideas work out.

In the real world, however, screenwriters can't ensure our success, so we rely on data. But data is not a crutch nor a replacement for creativity. Data is the means to predict the outcomes of our efforts with unprecedented accuracy.

The effectiveness of our marketing efforts heavily relies on our proficiency to use the data at our disposal—in other words, it relies on our data IQ. All marketers need it, and all the best marketers have it in spades.

Here are three reasons why you, as a marketer, want to have a high data IQ.

1. Data gives you creative freedom

I'm a "real-time data" kind of chief marketing officer (CMO). Knowing the real-time results of every activity my team undertakes lets me try new things and take more risks.

Think about this scenario without data: A team member comes up with a zany social media idea, but it represents a significant investment. Without data to show a return, the answer is undoubtedly no. That's much too risky a bet when every dollar counts!

On the flip side, when I have data, I can say yes because I can watch the idea's success (or failure) in real time. Things aren't working out? Pull the plug. Is the idea working better than anticipated? Put more resources against it, or mirror that campaign for other targets and continue testing.

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image of Heather  Zynczak

Heather Zynczak is the chief marketing officer at cloud-based executive management platform Domo.

LinkedIn: Heather Zynczak

Twitter: @hzynczak