As marketers, we like to think we’re creative thinkers. And we need to be, to an extent: innovation and thinking outside of the box are essential if you want to stand out in a crowded marketplace. However, there’s more to being an effective marketer than just creativity. We also need to be highly analytical, and be able to back up our decisions with cold, hard facts. How do we do this?
Collecting and analysing the right data means that you can more accurately and effectively target your customers, leading to a higher conversion rate and better ROI. Thanks to the digital revolution, we now have more valuable data available to us than ever before, presenting a wealth of opportunities – but only if you know how to use it.
So, if you’re a creative at heart, how can you embrace data-driven marketing? And what exactly are the benefits of doing so? Stay tuned for our rundown on why data-driven decision making is essential in modern marketing.
If there were ever a sound business case for using data to make marketing decisions, the ability to personalise your communications is it. At its heart, marketing is all about sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Data gives you the key insights into who the right people might be, as well as the best medium to use and the time at which they’re like likely to be most receptive. Using data to understand customer traits and behaviours allows you to create and target the most relevant and valuable content, and keep them moving through the purchasing funnel.
All too often, the specifics of buyer personas are plucked from thin air, or concluded on a whim. In contrast, data provides solid facts about your customer base, so you can use this information to put together buyer personas which accurately reflect your various customer segments. Age, gender, occupation, affluence and purchasing behaviours are all things which can be gleaned from analysing your data sets.
Knowing exactly who we’re marketing to at any time helps to make sure that our communications are as relevant and therefore effective as possible.
As we already mentioned, sophisticated analytics tools have meant that we have access to a huge amount of information about our customers, also known as – warning, buzzword coming up! – “big data”. The sheer amount of things we now know has meant we need to adapt systems and methodology to cope. This has presented a lot of companies with a basic problem: where do we start? And more importantly – where do we stop?
Before you dive head-first into spreadsheets, spend some time thinking about the information you’d like to extract from your data set. For example, say you’re sending out an email to lapsed customers to encourage them to engage with you again. The data you’re looking for is the date of their last interaction with your business. Their middle name and phone number is probably of little interest to you. Don’t become overwhelmed by data: set clear goals at the start, and stick to them.
This is a motto you can apply to pretty much any marketing discipline, but it’s particularly apt when discussing data. If your company is split by channel – web, sales, marketing – it’s likely you all own separate pots of data, and you might not necessarily share them amongst departments.
Although everyone has different day jobs and targets, each silo should have the same end goals in mind, allowing you to achieve company objectives together. Making sure everyone has access to all relevant information is just one way to improve this cohesion.
Data is not only useful in deciphering which customers to target – it’s also useful in measuring the efficacy of your current channels and practices. Having a good idea about which channels are effective at bringing in leads and which result in higher conversion rates can offer a clearer view as to which marketing methods to use where. As well as backing up key budgetary decisions, this data can convince key stakeholders of the value of newer mediums, such as social media.
Do you make data-driven marketing decisions, or do you tend to trust your gut? Let us know in the comments below!