Marketing is important.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t agree with that statement, even small mom-and-pop stores. Although what “marketing” looks like is different for every business, it’s a vital aspect that business owners cannot ignore. Unfortunately, many fail to develop a true marketing strategy that works for them. They may put out an ad, share some Facebook posts, send out an email newsletter, and that’s it. You may only hear from them when they have new products, a sale, a change of hours, etc. And that’s okay… But that’s stagnant. Lifeless.
That type of “marketing” won’t get you seeing the results that you crave: Attentiveness. Interest. Responsiveness. And, most importantly, following up on a call to action: buy, subscribe, request a demo.
Data is the Key to Unlocking a Successful Strategy
In marketing, data is everything. Consider it your map to understanding your customers:
- It tells you what roads to take. If you’ve done something multiple times with success, that’s a safe avenue. Keep using it as part of your strategy.
- Attention! Falling Rocks Ahead. Trying something new? Your data can give you insight as to whether it will be risky or clear paths ahead.
- Detour here. If you are in the process of trying something new for your marketing, your data can tell you whether you should continue—or take a sharp turn and go in another direction.
If you don’t use data to drive your marketing strategy, you’re effectively wasting time and resources, taking a chance, and hoping that it will work; however, you’ll never know why it worked. Did you get lucky? Was it something effective? Will you know what—or how—to replicate something for repeat success? With a data-driven marketing strategy, it is all laid out for you. But how do you develop a marketing strategy like that?
Developing a Data-Driven Marketing Strategy
When it comes to creating a data-driven marketing strategy, there are some key elements that you need to keep in mind:
- Specific goals
- Personalization (or tailored experience)
- Refinement or Redirection
Let’s explore these in detail.
Your data-driven marketing strategy won’t be of any benefit if you don’t know why you’re doing it. That’s why before you do anything else, you need to sit down and think about your desired marketing goals. Do you want to make more sales? Get more people to sign up for your product demo? Get 1,000 new email subscribers? Whatever they are, they need to be smart—or, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.
We live in a highly personalized world. Even if we don’t always acknowledge it, efforts to personalize our experience—everything from our retail shopping to our music habits—exists in nearly every facet of our lives. And it’s something that consumers have come to expect. According to a February 2020 article in Forbes:
- A shopping experience that feels impersonal frustrates 71% of consumers [Segment]
- When it comes to shopping,91% of customers prefer to shop with those that personalize offers and recommendations [Accenture]
If you’re not personalizing, you’re isolating a significant portion of your customer base. While some don’t care for personalization because it’s too intrusive, the majority prefer personalization because it makes their experience with companies more enjoyable.
Whether you’re an individual managing an entire marketing effort by yourself or a member of a team, a marketing strategy can be a lot to handle. You have to worry about having fresh content for multiple platforms, keeping an eye on all those platforms, testing campaigns, collaborating with individuals from sales, and so on. The list is endless. That’s why automation is crucial to not only staying on track but keeping your sanity in check as well.
For example, you can help automate your email marketing by installing a simple email follow up tool that does the brunt of the work for you. Instead of losing out on a sale by not following up with a customer, you can automate this process. You can “set it and forget it” momentarily while you focus on other tasks. It’s especially helpful if you have several emails on which you would need to follow up.
Having all that data won’t do you any good if you don’t look at it and analyze it. Many platforms come with built-in analytics tools that can help you understand your data, but some third-parties offer software to do the same. Regardless of how your marketing team uses data, you’ll want to review and keep a historical record of your data. What trends do you see? Did things change and when? Can you pinpoint a specific action you took or campaign you implemented that made a difference?
Refinement / Redirection
After you’ve analyzed your data, you have to listen to what it is telling you. Sometimes, you may be seeing results that are getting you closer to your goal but not quite there yet. It may be time to refine your marketing strategy a bit to get it to work better for you. This is where testing comes into play: You can conduct an A/B testing of two different subject lines with the same content. Which seemed to perform better (i.e., higher open rate) and why? How can you duplicate its success?
Your data may also tell you that you need to redirect your strategy. If you’re not seeing any movement towards your goals after a while, then that is a sign that what you’re doing is not working. It’s time to redirect your efforts into a new avenue. After a while, you’ll want to repeat your analysis and see if your new strategy works better.
Let Data Lead the Way
Data allows us to create effective marketing strategies by giving us a true insight into our consumers and their likes, dislikes, needs, and pain points. Our marketing may not hit the mark perfectly on the first try every time, but following the data at least gets us close.
About the author:
Michael Habiger is a marketing specialist with over 6 years of professional experience, frontier of data-driven marketing and automation. Currently head of marketing at Follow Up Fred.