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What Is Data-Driven Marketing (& How Can You Use It)?

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Now more than ever, companies are using data they gather from the internet, mobile devices, payment systems, and more to improve their core operations. Why?

Because organizations that do are 23 times more likely to gain customers, and six times more likely to retain customers, compared to less-informed companies. These businesses who let data drive their marketing strategies tend to be 19X more profitable than their competitors!

So, what does being data-driven mean?

Simply put, a data-driven approach uses customer information to create more effective sales and marketing campaigns. You gather data through whatever sources you have, like those listed above. Then you analyze it so you can tailor your campaigns and target the right audiences.

This maximizes your return on investment, and is crucial to long-term success. So how do you get into data-driven marketing?

I’m going to show you.

6 Things Data-Driven Marketing Does for Your Business Strategy

Data-driven marketing is frequently used to improve and personalize the customer experience, which creates happier customers and increases revenue.

Here are some of the things data-driven strategies can help you do.

1. Determine future trends.

One of the greatest advantages of embracing a data-driven approach is having a wealth of information in your database that you can use to determine actionable insights about prospects or customers. You can spot patterns and identify trends before they blow up.

With such powerful insights, you'll know what to expect from the market, and how to use your expertise to adjust your strategies accordingly.

2. Enable fact-based decisions, not assumptions.

Data-driven organizations don’t have to do a lot of guesswork. You get to base decisions on facts, and eliminate a lot of human biases that are usually involved in decision-making.

When someone asks “Why do you think we should do this?” you can point to the numbers. Fact-based decision making also speeds up the entire decision-making process, which helps your organization grow faster and stronger.

3. Improve product development.

Data-driven businesses can get a good grasp of their target market, learning things like:

  • What consumers are using
  • What they aren’t
  • What they like
  • And what they don’t

With this information, you can bolster features and services your customers like and need, and find what areas have the most potential. Plus, you can come up with new products or services that are specifically tailored to the market’s demands.

4. Strengthen customer engagement.

The age of one-size-fits-all marketing is long over. With so much data available online, consumers expect brands to deliver personal and relevant content.

Having so much data at your fingertips is a competitive advantage, too. It enables employees to create messages that resonate with consumers. In turn, it should significantly enhance customer engagement and boost brand loyalty.

5. Support multi-channel experiences.

Use your data across several networks. For instance, you can share data-driven ads across different channels (like social media and Google) using automated marketing campaigns.

This way, you can guarantee that your message is relevant, valuable, and consistent. You can also make sure that it reaches people at the optimal time and place.

6. Support longevity.

Companies that are bigger and older often have deeply ingrained processes and mindsets. It’s often harder for them to enact change.

If you work in a bigger company, you can leverage data to show employees its positive impact on business, such as by reducing expenses and eliminating risks.

Instead of being overwhelmed by data, employees should start seeing it as a helpful tool. Over time, this will help create a data-driven culture within your organization.

3 Common Ways to Get Your Data

Data has become such a valuable corporate asset. So how do you gather all the data you need?

Here are a few ways many organizations collect data.

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that lets you assess big data and transform it into actionable steps. It’s also highly customizable, and is available online at no cost.

Here are some of the things you can do with it.

Related: 25 Powerful Digital Marketing Tools to Increase Sales (2019)

Identify keywords.

Analytics informs you about the keywords that visitors use to find your website. You can compare these results with the list of keywords you're targeting to check if you’re creating the type of content they want to see.

Google Search Console is particularly good for helping identify these keywords.

Check mobile responsiveness.

Mobile phones have become an essential part of the buyer’s journey. You can use Google Analytics to keep track of the mobile performance for all your site’s pages. This is crucial since Google started using mobile-first indexing.

Improve site speed.

Your data will tell you the amount of time it takes for a web page to load. By monitoring each of your site’s web pages, you can identify the ones that need improvement, and reduce your site speed.

Since speed is now a major ranking factor on Google, you can also expect to get a better ranking on the mobile search results. You can quickly check your site with PageSpeed Insights, too.

Get to know your audience.

Google Analytics empowers you to know your audience - the languages they speak, their location, their interests, their behavior on your site, and more.

You can use the data you gather to create buyer personas, which you can then use to create personalized content for your target audiences.

Related: How to Create (& Target) Custom Buyer Personas

Buyer Persona Example

2. Google Ads Reports

Google Ads is a pay-per-click online advertising system run by Google, where advertisers bid on certain keywords to make their clickable ads appear on the platform’s search results.

Google Ads offers you two ways to connect with your desired audience - the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network. To determine the success of your campaign, you can monitor the available data.

Here are some of the metrics you should look into:

  • Attributes: Campaign type, bid strategy, device preference, etc.
  • Performance metrics: Clicks, impressions, average cost per click, total cost, etc.
  • Conversion metrics: Conversions, conversion rates, converted clicks, etc.
  • Attribution metrics: Click-assisted conversions and impression-assisted conversions
  • Competitive metrics: Impression share and lost impression share

For most businesses, here’s a list of reports you’ll want to pull. You can also sync all your Google Ads data with your Google Analytics. Doing this is easier for you, and also helps you better target new customers.

3. Spreadsheets

There are a million other analytics tools and contact management systems that share data with you via downloadable spreadsheets. You might even keep up with a few things in your own spreadsheets! Here’s what you can do with that info.

You can identify trends with customer survey results, perform content topic analyses, calculate your ROI, and so much more from your spreadsheet. Excel and Google Sheets seem pretty straightforward, but there’s more to them than what we all learned in school.

Zapier is a tool you can use to feed your e-commerce data (and all sorts of other data) into your spreadsheet. You can then connect this data to several other platforms such as Facebook Lead Ads, Google Analytics, and 1,000 other tools to automate your workflows and improve productivity.

5 Ways to Implement Data-Driven Marketing

Now that you know where to get your data, here’s how you can start using it.

1. Strengthen email drip campaigns

An email drip campaign helps you build a relationship with your audience, increase customer retention, and increase sales. It entails building a series of messages that are dripped or sent in a predefined sequence.

When someone joins an email list, they receive the first email after signing up. They may receive the second one a few days after, and so on.

Where does your data-driven approach fit in all this?

Using a data-driven approach enables you to group similar audiences together and see which messages are performing better or worse than others. Of course, you can also use it to create personal messages to establish a one-to-one connection with each of your potential customers.

2. Re-engage prospects

Retargeting is when you show ads to people who’ve viewed specific pages of your website. Usually, the ads include a product or topic from the page(s) that person viewed.

It’s a highly effective and important marketing tactic because it gives you an opportunity to reach out to prospects who’ve previously visited your website or shown interest in your brand and your products.

Let’s say your target audience is looking into good beauty deals. With that data, you can automatically provide valuable ads and deals that should motivate prospects into paying for your products or services.

3. Personalize user experiences

Using data analytics tools enables you to collect the data you need to get to know your audiences, their preferences, and their dislikes. That means you are able to create personalized user experiences, more than just including people’s names.

You can tailor content based on your audience’s needs, change your website based on the customer journey, and you can most certainly identify and improve other aspects of your business operations to create better consumer experiences.

4. Optimize paid search

You can optimize your online campaigns, improve your search engine ranking, and drive relevant traffic to your website by adopting data-driven strategies.

Look at the keywords that your audience is using. What are they interested in? Now you can create ads specific to those interests.

Moreover, having a wealth of data enables you to take a good look at what your competition is doing and consider using those strategies as well.

5. Target customers with dynamic advertising

Social media platforms are imperative to building connections with your target audience. You should take advantage of major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to distribute ads.

This works particularly well if you retarget website viewers with ads you know they’re interested in. This way, audiences can log into their accounts and receive all the information they need about your brand, your new products, and more.

Turning these platforms into two-way communication channels enables you to share the information you need with your audiences and collect the information you need from them.

Next Steps

If you ever find yourself doubting the importance of data-driven marketing, remember that Netflix, which was founded in 1997, is now the US’s top media company by market value.

Amazon, which started as an e-commerce bookseller in the early 1990s, is currently the world’s largest retailer by market capitalization. They both got there by using data-driven marketing.

Data-driven marketing is here to stay. It’s not a fad. Even in highly competitive environments, so many companies thrive because of their reliance on data.

So, take a look at every channel that affects your brand, and get the information you need to pivot and adjust course when needed. You’re bound to encounter a few hurdles along the way, but that shouldn’t stop you from continually learning and refining.

It takes time and a lot of effort, but it’s all worth it.

Related: 5 Steps to Drive Targeted Viewers to Your Website