“Marketers who want to stand the test of time must start harnessing data to drive real-time marketing strategies and influential consumer connections.” - Patrick Salyer
By the year 2020, experts predict that 1.7 megabytes of data will be created every second for every person on the planet. That’s a colossal volume of information. That said, if you’re looking to compete on today’s digital battlefield, taking a data-driven approach to your marketing strategy is no longer optional, it’s a necessity.
In fact, recent studies reveal that 64% of marketing executives 'strongly agree' that data-driven marketing is vital to success in a hypercompetitive global economy. The contemporary consumer is tech-savvy, time-poor, and more demanding than ever; in today's world a one-size-fits-all sales message or banner advert is futile and will not serve to inspire, engage, or earn conversions. No; in today’s world, you must reach out to your target audience on a personal level - and a data-driven marketing strategy is the answer.
Data gives marketers the power to pinpoint the precise moment a message is most relevant to a consumer. People receive between 300 and 3000 marketing messages every day, yet they can only retain a maximum of three. Which is why yours must count.
If you’re not creating and presenting your audience with meaningful, personalized content at the right time in their consumer journey, you're missing vital opportunities to grow and develop your brand or business. To help you boost brand awareness, grow your audience and increase your conversions in a strategic, sustainable way, we’re going to look at how to create an outstanding data-driven marketing strategy in four actionable steps.
However, before we delve any deeper, let’s look at the data-driven marketing definition: in a nutshell, it refers to the marketing insights, actions, and decisions that are derived from the analysis of data based on or around consumer behaviours and interactions. Now that we’ve understood the data-driven marketing definition, let’s move on to the first step of our strategy guide.
Create Your Team And Set Your Data-Based Goals
Before collecting, analyzing, and using any consumer data to build your strategy and connect with your target consumer base, you will need to build the right team to deliver your strategy.
To ensure that the team handling your data is balanced, it should ideally include members from different departments across the business, forming the foundations of an effective, cross-disciplinary data-driven marketing strategy. Speaking on the subject, Richard Bayston explains, "That doesn’t just mean someone from IT gets together with whichever guy from sales that managers think they can spare the best. It means that you have to find individuals “who are willing to go beyond their areas of knowledge."
A truly outstanding data-driven marketing strategy team will consist of people who are willing to collaborate, share ideas, and go beyond the realms of their expertise to work towards one common goal.
After you’ve assembled your crack data strategy team, you will have to establish clear cut strategic goals: marketing KPIs. To ensure that you gain the insights that are most valuable to your business, you first need to establish that data that is worth collecting.
As a team, discuss the streams of data that will have a positive impact on your marketing strategy and decide the data types that will improve the effectiveness of your campaign, focusing on gathering data around crucial Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will really help you push the envelope.
Collect Your Data
To reap the rewards of a successful data-driven marketing strategy, you will have to collect all the insights you deem relevant to your ultimate goals and KPIs.
To do so, you should gather information from these primary data types:
- Content performance data: a glance at public metrics such as social media performance, the success of your existing content (comments, shares, likes and search visibility), and the success of your recent campaigns (consumer reactions, did it go viral?) in the public domain.
- Marketing and social media analytics (click-throughs, impressions, conversions, and more)
- Consumer and prospect data (including web behaviour, transactions, online activity, and any other social network activity)
- Qualitative data (personal information and insights that will help you to humanize your campaign)
Consult platforms such as Google Analytics and set up custom reports to collect as well as decipher stats and metrics based on how users interact with your website, in addition to demographic-based data including age, location, device preference, and interests. Creating Google Analytics dashboards will help you understand it faster and more efficiently.
Not only will collecting fresh insights help you build a profile on your target audience, but historical data will also help you shape and direct your marketing strategy. Moreover, by looking at how your blog posts and social media content is performing, you’ll be able to understand what works and what needs further improvement, enhancing your chances of engaging with your audience significantly.
In addition to Google Analytics-like platforms, here are other ways in which you can obtain valuable insights based on the data types above:
A study from Mark W. Schaefer shows that three to four buyer personas often account for over 90% of a brand's sales.
Buyer personas are critical to any data-driven marketing campaign worth its salt. Not only do buyer personas provide an effective means of getting up close and personal with your target audience, but they also ensure that you get optimum results for all of your content marketing efforts.
By conducting detailed market research and collating Source and Medium as well as Interest and User Demographics metrics from Google Analytics, and using this information to build definitive profiles that represent your ideal consumers, you'll be able to take a targeted approach to all of your marketing efforts and connect with your prospects personally. The result? Increased brand awareness and enhanced conversion rates.
To get you started, this visual buyer personal will help:
Browse the blogs, websites and social media profiles of your competitors to gain a deeper understanding of the topics they're covering, the ways in which they’re promoting content, and the media types they're utilizing the most. You can use this information as an inspiration for your own content offerings; you can also use these insights to spot topics and subjects you can build upon or approach from a fresh angle.
Selecting a valuable set of keywords is integral to the success of your data-driven marketing strategy. To help you create an optimum list of short and long-tail keywords that serve to enhance the SEO potency of your strategy, there are several analysis and comparison tools including Google's Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Neil Patel's Ubersuggest. Not only will these tools help you select the terms and words that are likely to be more valuable to your campaign, but they will also suggest alternatives and give you insights on search volume and traffic competition.
Discovering the trending topics based on your industry, products or services will prove most valuable to your strategy. To do so, you can consult Google Trends and Twitter Trends to uncover the topics that are in most demand, and gain targeted inspiration for your email communications, social media posts, blog content, and more.
Create Your Content-Marketing Framework
Currently, a miniscule 7% of B2B marketers do not use content marketing as a critical part of their overall digital strategy. Engaging, inspiring, relevant, and valuable content is the very cornerstone of data-driven marketing, meaning that the content marketing element of your overall strategy is a large area of focus.
To give you all the ingredients you need to build a content marketing framework that will optimize your marketing campaign, you can read our guide to building a data-driven content marketing strategy.
Amplify, Analyze, Test, Sleep, Repeat
Once you've collected your data, built your buyer personas, and developed your content marketing framework, it's time to take action by amplifying or distributing your content and marketing assets to your target audience.
To do so, you should take some time to look at the current distribution channels your business uses and analyze which ones work best. You should also sit down as a team and consider the emerging social platforms that you could potentially use to your advantage.
After making a definitive list of distribution channels and prioritizing them based on value and focus, you should create a schedule for all of your content and marketing actions, noting where and when you will share your assets with your audience. Doing this will not only give the output of your data-driven marketing strategy the direction it needs, but it will also ensure that you get maximum engagement and optimum results from all your efforts.
A solid distribution plan will free you from the shackles of any one platform or outlet. But for it to work, you must plan your distribution and amplification actions methodically. Building marketing reports tracking the actions you set will help you stay on the right path.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly: data-driven digital marketing is largely about gaining fresh insights and tweaking or evolving your plans to drive sustainable commercial success.
With this in mind, you will need to collect and analyze new data on a continual basis, testing the elements that work and those that don’t. Marketing dashboards are not just a helpful, handy tool in the process, they are crucial if you don't want to lose track of all the data you collect, nor to keep it blurry. By doing so, you’ll remain authoritative, stay relevant, and continue connecting with the right consumers at the right time, resulting in the level of long term success you no doubt deserve.
To start making sense of your marketing data and create professional dashboards, try out our 14-day free trial!