How to Use Data to Inform Your Marketing Campaigns

  • The importance of data-driven marketing for businesses
  • Challenges of data-driven marketing campaigns
  • Benefits of using data to inform your marketing efforts
  • Strategic marketing campaigns utilise data

Data has the potential to be your most valuable marketing tool, but it’s useless without insight.

It’s also probably one of the most significant pain points we face as marketers, and few have the expertise to work with data effectively.

However, with the proper guidance, you could create scalable, repeatable marketing processes that would not only achieve and support overall business goals but pave the way for your campaigns to run on autopilot – every marketer’s dream.

Today, it’s essential for marketers to look beyond analytics and return to the most reliable source of information – customer data. Marketing teams should explore how they can turn customer data into actionable, opportunistic objectives that achieve the all-important return on investment (ROI).

Knowing your target audience’s behaviours, goals, pain points, and challenges will allow you to develop marketing strategies that serve their needs and, given the wide variety of tools available to capture data. There’s no excuse for not knowing what your customers want in the digital age.

Collect as much information about your target audience as possible – this data will be core to any successful marketing strategy.

If you’re interested in gaining insight into how to manage data better and improve your strategic direction to boost your marketing plan’s overall efficacy and efficiency, we’ve got you covered.

Customer data and data-driven marketing

Customer data is any information concerned with your target audience and their perception of your product or service.

Data-driven marketing is the optimisation of communications based on customer data to help inform marketers of their audiences needs, desires and future behaviours to maximise ROI opportunities.

Businesses collect customer data to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and their experiences with the company to devise strategies to improve their marketing, product and support efforts.

While the idea of data-driven marketing might seem intimidating, strip the “fancy jargon”, and you’ll find that you’re familiar with the concept.

The importance and challenges of data-driven marketing

Data-driven marketing is vital due to the many actionable insights you can gain and utilise to guide future decision-making, making it a real challenge.

Where information and experience are gathered and stored, it also needs to be managed and arranged to impact the business and the consumer positively.

The benefits of the data also go beyond improving communications as customer data can also give marketers insight into how to:

  • Personalise the customer experience
  • Continuously improve content quality
  • Increase customer engagement and grow your audience
  • Measure and improve their strategies in real-time

It’s becoming increasingly important to personalise campaigns in the digital age. Understanding your audience will provide you with a strong foundation, especially for businesses with a large customer base, such as e-commerce sites.

Benefits of using data-driven marketing

Marketers can use data to help support and drive business decisions that will retain existing customers and grow your audience to diversify your consumer base and increase sales over the long term.

Data is also vital for brand development and engagement retention as it could suggest what channels audiences might engage with now and in the future to help marketers position messages based on the behaviours of their target users.

Data-driven marketing helps marketing teams remain on-trend and consistent at every customer touchpoint, allowing for a stronger connection to be built with their audience.

However, the most important benefit data can bring businesses is efficiency, profitability and productivity as better informed strategic decisions will ultimately increase turnover.

Human hand holding megaphone. Social media marketing concept. Vector stock illustration

So, where does data come from, and how can businesses collect this vital information?

In today’s digital age, data comes in many shapes and forms, including:

These various customer data sources can help inform you of your customer’s journey and understand how your marketing efforts influence buying decisions.

How has data-driven marketing changed over the years?

Historically, last-click attribution has been the preferred method for managing analytics; however, it offers a very narrow perspective of the customer journey as it doesn’t take into account what the user experienced before their last click to purchase.

The ever-changing search landscape and growing presence of smart devices has triggered a significant shift in the user journey, which now takes place across multiple channels and devices.

Today’s marketers must equip themselves with the right tools to understand the customer journey holistically, which involves investing more time, training and money into marketing efforts.

Using data proactively rather than reactively

Moving away from reactivity means offering solutions before the customer has to ask. 

Marketers need to be able to identify issues and opportunities by drawing conclusions from the data collected to react to new customer behaviours and environments in real-time.

No matter how clued up your team is about your customer, without data that will enable you to understand everything about your audience, it’s challenging to adhere to proactivity. Businesses need to be in a position to scale and utilise data without neglecting the personalisation element.

By having data on your consumers in one system, you can identify customers based on various factors, such as:

  • Their last order
  • Interests
  • Location
  • Behaviour

However, proactive service isn’t just about predicting your customers’ behaviour; it’s about anticipating their wants and needs.

Create a strategic marketing platform

Go a step further than creating a strategic marketing platform by devising media-specific approaches to help you develop an actionable marketing plan comprising several smaller aims and objectives.

Adhering to this approach will allow you to use data more effectively and gain insight into the strategies you need to employ to help achieve your marketing objectives.

Suppose you’re prioritising brand building – you could use the data to look at customer behaviour and examine how customers interact with your brand to create a strategy to boost the overall customer experience and strengthen the relationship with your audience.

Cleanse your data

While cleaning data is a painstaking process, ultimately, it will increase overall productivity levels and allow for high-quality information to inform your decision-making.

When cleaning data, you should look out for duplicated, inaccurate and corrupted records to ensure your data is up-to-date. Remember that smart data will help you develop strong relationships with your customers – fewer errors make for happier clients and less frustrated employees.

Importance of data accountability

Taking responsibility for data and demonstrating the steps you take to protect that data will not only ensure you adhere to legal compliance but give you the competitive edge.

Businesses should have different teams accountable for the various stages of the customer journey. The cross-functional approach will ensure that each team member works in conjunction with business objectives and maximises efficiency to boost overall company performance.

Tailor your communication style

The payoff of tailoring your communication style can help you gain alignment with your audience and maximise the impact of your message.

Customers have become more attuned to how brands interact with them and no longer expect:

  • To be redirected to third parties
  • Formal and ambiguous communication
  • Broad statements

Consumers want the buying process to be seamless in today’s digital age, so marketers must manage multi-channel interactions to determine how they impact the user journey.

Tracking your campaigns

Tracking your campaigns will allow you to quantify your success, identify the metrics driving leads, and gain insight into the most effective channels for reaching your audience.

However, as tracking campaigns can be pretty challenging, there are practices you can use to help facilitate the process, such as:

  • Generating integrated manual inputs, including asking customers for feedback on their experience with your brand and logging that information for reporting purposes to inform future campaigns.
  • Integrate systems such as CRM software with marketing automation to promote efficiency and create a seamless experience between the CRM and third parties. Most automated solutions also allow you to track and identify where in the sales funnel a customer is located.
  • Analytical tools such as Google Analytics deliver data on who is visiting your website, demographics, location and how they are converting into leads. Google Analytics also provides insight into bounce rates, backlinks, time spent on page and click through rates.

Store your data and identify areas of improvement

Proper data storage will provide businesses with a solid start in the market and gain the customers’ attention needed to create growth opportunities.

Digitising data storage will also allow you to store large volumes of information more efficiently, improving performance and protecting against data loss.

Being able to call on large volumes of data will also ensure marketers make the customer experience more relevant, which is critical to the success of a business.

So, to get the most out of your data, consider cleaning, segmenting, and personalising it to help you achieve those all-important business objectives and maximise ROI.

Your customers will feel greater loyalty to your brand if they believe that your company cares about their needs, naturally increasing engagement and converting prospects into clients.

Communication is vital, and data-driven marketing will allow marketers to identify what works, leverage data to obtain valuable insights, and optimise their marketing efforts to improve conversion rates.

Ensure your marketing teams know how the business’s aims and objectives fit the overall strategy to prevent any issues or miscommunication. Even if you have the best automated, integrated software, problems are bound to arise if you don’t have your entire team on the same page.

Compare your results against goals, then continuously refine, test and monitor your efforts to ensure you’re correctly harnessing the power of the data, especially given that marketing operates in a dynamic landscape, meaning what works well today may not tomorrow.

Test different things such as unique CTAs, QR codes, discounts and promotional codes, emails and microsites to see what fits within your overall strategy.

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