“Passion provides purpose, but data drives decisions.”
American entrepreneur and CEO of Bonobos Inc.
This quote by Andy Dunn encapsulates the singular benefit of data-driven marketing. It helps you make the most informed decisions, the most effective decisions and make quick decisions.
Your training and experience as a marketing professional have taught you how to address a variety of marketing challenges and scale or refine your marketing strategy considering changing market equations.
But how do you know whether your strategy will work and deliver the results you are looking for?
This is possible only with data-driven marketing, which essentially uses Big Data to deliver key marketing intelligence, which in turn helps you make more informed marketing decisions.
According to Statista, the global Big Data market is all set to hit a revenue figure of 103 billion U.S. dollars by 2027. This is a massive figure and illustrates the disruptive power of data and its demand across industries and domains, including marketing.
This brings us to the question: How does data transform your digital marketing efforts for delivering a competitive edge to your business? Let’s take a look.
1. Improved and Personalized Marketing Campaigns
Data collected from various sources such as points of sale, social media channels, online communities, customer surveys, site usage, email sign-ups, purchasing patterns, favorites, loyalty programs and more are used to deliver personalized campaigns to a target audience set.
We have heard of buyer personas being categorized according to demographic and psychographic segmentation, and marketing campaigns implemented and deployed around such segmentations. But data enables you to go many steps further in terms of segmentation, e.g., you can create a campaign based on certain color preferences of your target customers. You know that a specific group of customers has a preference for blue, and therefore you can create a campaign that caters to this specific preference of your customers.
Your digital marketing campaign can offer coupons, bargains or deals on specific products that meet these preferences, thus improving your campaign’s chances of delivering results.
2. Use Learning Gained to Maximize Results for Newer Marketing Channels
Let’s say there’s a scenario wherein your business is leveraging Instagram for brand promotion, customer engagement and increasing audience reach. You’ve been doing it for quite some time now, and you’ve been using various Instagram analytics tools to measure your performance against different metrics.
This has put tons of data in your hands and you are using this to refine your Instagram strategy; your marketing team now wants to create a Facebook page for your business.
The advantage you now have, courtesy of all the marketing intelligence you have gathered from your Instagram profile and Instagram marketing strategy, is that you can keep this data at the back of your mind while building your business’s Facebook profile. You are not going into Facebook completely blind, thus reducing risk by a long way.
You can use the same successful engagement, retention and acquisition model on Facebook as you have on Instagram. Now, it is important to remember that no two social channels work similarly, but their core purpose is the same. The data gathered from one channel has given you a thorough understanding of the engagement tactics and messaging that works; this knowledge can be put to work in order to leverage the new channel.
The above snapshot is from a GlobalWebIndex report that offers key insights into the social landscape. It offers a clear idea of the percentage of users of various social media platforms. In the last point, we talked about data helping us learn, and implementing this learning in newer channels.
But the question is — how do you pick the right social platform for your business? The above snapshot gives you the answer. But, wait, what if your business targets adults, and you want more clarity on the social platforms used by adults.
Now you know that most U.S. adults prefer YouTube over other channels. But what if you want to capture the attention of Generation Z?
Now, you want to dig a little deeper — how does Generation Z actually use social media?
You now have enough data to do a bit of micro-strategizing. There are plenty of other data points you can use to understand Generation Z better and come up with a micro-strategy that not only targets this audience through the channels they prefer using, but also create drill-down messaging.
E.g., for boys, it’s “fads” that determine the coolness quotient of a product; girls are more likely to judge coolness by their feelings for the product.
Keeping this particular information in mind, you can create a strategy that leverages the right social platform, and targets boys or girls in a way that can create the most impact on them.
It’s important to note that data-driven micro-strategizing is not a new concept.
Getting content published on a specific third-party site because a percentage of your target audience visits the site regularly (again, data at work here) comes under the ambit of micro-strategizing. Content marketers have been doing this for quite some time.
4. Convert Marketing Investment Into Sales
Marketing is primarily a sales enablement activity. In the absence of data, this is a bit of a hit and a miss, which means you aren’t really 100% sure whether your marketing strategy is going to result in higher sales figures.
With Big Data at your disposal, you now have more clarity on the kind of messaging and customer outreach that is making an impact on the customer and driving buying decisions. Never forget that your marketing strategy is being implemented in an information age wherein the customer is more informed than ever. Use it to your advantage.
Learn more about your customer preferences through their buying behavior, how and why they are buying a product, and the various channels (website, social platforms, etc.) they visit just before they purchase a product or service.
Use data to target customers when they are most likely to see your marketing message and when they are most likely to get impacted by it. Your marketing strategy must use data to drive positive purchase decisions, and nothing else. This is the competitive edge you must strive for — better sales through data-driven marketing.
While we are talking about the ways and means to get a competitive advantage through data-driven marketing, we must also add a word of caution. It’s not about the quantity of data that you have at your disposal, but the quality of the data. In order for data to work for you, it must be the right data. If you are just realizing the potential of data-driven marketing, then you must hone your ability to choose the most meaningful data from the data sets available to you.
You will learn as you go.
Something else you must keep at the back of your mind when it comes to marketing strategy is that data can be used in many ways to achieve a competitive edge. So, don’t limit yourself. Keep looking for newer and better ways to go one-up over your competitors by making use of data.
About the Author
Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of The 20 Media, a content marketing agency specializing in content & data-driven SEO. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Digital PR. Pratik has spoken at 80th Annual Conference of Florida Public Relations Association, Accounting & Finance Show, Singapore, NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, SEMrush Meetup, MICA, IIT-Roorkee and other major events. As a passionate SEO & content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory and Inc42 to name a few.