The Importance of Data
Is guessing fun? If you’re playing charades at a party, then yes. If you’re a marketer who’s attempting to optimize campaigns and strategies while limiting expenditures, then no. When you don't really know who your ideal customer is, what they want, and what their buying patterns are, you end up with more misses than a guy on his ninth beer playing his first ever game of darts.
The solution? Data. And a lot of it. With the Internet and the myriad of tools that are now available, things that were impossible years ago are now not only doable, but necessary for a business to survive. Data, or more specifically, data-driven marketing, allows a business to rely on hard numbers and metrics, rather than gut feelings and assumptions, to make decisions about which channels to target.
It’s all about getting the right message to the right person at the right time in the right place.
Getting Started with Data-Driven Marketing
You don't need a degree in data science (thank goodness because it’s pretty hard) to get started with data-driven marketing. Here are a few easy steps to think about when beginning:
Identify Your Marketing Goals and Objective
A good first step is simply being aware of what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Are you looking to drive more traffic to your website? Is boosting engagement on social media your top priority? By setting clear goals and objectives, you'll have a roadmap to follow as you collect and analyze data.
Collect and Track the Right Data
There’s a lot of data out there. Guess an amount. It’s way more than whatever you just guessed. Setting clear goals will enable you to concentrate on only the most relevant of data points (e.g. conversion rates, email open and click-through rates). It is vital you have the correct tools in place to accurately track and measure these metrics, so you can see how your marketing efforts are performing.
Analyze and Interpret the Data
Time to play detective. Look for patterns and trends, and try to identify what's working well and what areas might need improvement. Use this information to make informed decisions about your marketing strategy and tactics. Don’t be afraid to stop doing something if it isn’t working.
Test and Optimize
Use your data to run A/B tests and see which variations of your campaigns perform the best. This can help you fine-tune your marketing efforts and continually improve your results.
Use Your Data to Inform Your Content Strategy
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Meaning, great content is only great if your audience thinks it is. By analyzing what types of content are most popular with your target audience, you can create more of what resonates with them and gets shared widely.
The Benefits of Data-Driven Marketing
If you ever had to take an essay test at school, but really didn’t know much about the topic, you may have tried the throw up method. Essentially, you just write everything you can possibly remember and hope some of it is relevant. Sometimes, this actually works. For marketing, this approach is a no-no. Businesses are not able, financially or bandwidth-wise, to create an unlimited amount of campaigns with unfocused content just hoping some of it will resonate with some customers.
Data-driven marketing enables you to be ultra-targeted and personalized in your efforts. With data, you can segment your audience and tailor your messaging and tactics to specific groups, resulting in more relevant and engaging content for your customers.
Not only does this lead to higher conversion rates, but it also helps to build trust and strengthen relationships with your audience. People don’t love being sold to, but they do appreciate when a brand or business “gets them”. If someone feels that a product or service speaks specifically to their needs, they will run to it.
Is It Working?
A data-driven strategy also helps you to optimize and continually improve your campaigns. By tracking and analyzing data, you can see what's working (and what's not) and adjust your strategy accordingly. This allows you to make informed, data-backed decisions and continuously iterate on your approach, ensuring that you're always getting the best results possible.
In addition, data-driven marketing also allows you to make more efficient use of your resources. By identifying what's most effective and focusing your efforts there, you can save time and money while still seeing strong results.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a data-driven approach is the ability to predict and stay ahead of the curve. With data, you can identify trends and patterns that allow you to anticipate customer needs and behaviors, giving you a competitive edge and helping you stay ahead of the game.
The result of all of this? Data-driven companies have more revenue, more customer retention and loyalty, and more ROI on marketing expenditure.
TL;DR: When companies use data-driven marketing, they do RevOps better.
The Future of Data-Driven Marketing
The amount of data available today has made things possible that would leave marketers from twenty years ago speechless. But twenty years from now, that sentence will be true again. Here’s a quick look at where the world of data-driven marketing solutions is headed:
AI and Machine Learning
AI and machine learning got a lot of attention in 2022. Buckle up for 2023. These technologies will allow businesses to analyze massive amounts of data in real-time, identifying patterns and trends that would be impossible for a human to detect. This will enable businesses to make smarter, data-driven decisions about which marketing strategies are most effective, and tailor their campaigns to specific segments of their audience.
The amount of customer data that will be available in the future will allow businesses to create immersive, personalized experiences. By using data to understand what makes each customer tick, businesses will be able to create marketing campaigns that feel like they were designed specifically for that individual.
Will a retailer be able to know what you want even before you do? With a wide array of past purchases and browsing history available, the answer is “yes”!
New Data Sources: Voice-Activated Assistants and Smart Home Devices
Around 500 million people use Siri. For perspective, that's the total population of the United States, France, Italy, and Spain added together. That means businesses will need to find ways to use data to reach customers in this new, virtual environment. This might involve using data to optimize the keywords and phrases that trigger voice search results, or creating personalized recommendations for products and services that are relevant to each customer's needs.
Things are changing. FAST. The businesses that change with the times will survive, the ones that don’t…well let’s just say no one in the 1980’s ever thought Sears would go out of business. No company is too big to fail if they don’t adapt and change.