In a landscape cluttered with competition, a strong marketing strategy is crucial to stand out from the crowd. It’s no longer enough to simply have the best product or service on the market– you also have to reach the eyes of the right customer and convince them of such.
This isn’t news. In fact, there’s a decent chance your competition is also familiar with the importance of strong marketing and has at least a basic strategy to catch your audience’s eye. Basic marketing techniques, for many businesses, are no longer sufficient.
Whether you’re developing your own brand’s strategy or you’re an agency working with multiple clients doing the same, there’s one essential truth all marketing professionals know:
Understanding your audience is the best path to success.
When you can tailor the perfect marketing strategy to meet your goals with your intended audience, informed by their preferences and interests, you have a higher chance of success. That’s where data marketing comes into play.
As you’ll see, data marketing adds specificity and efficiency to your strategy that you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise. You’re able to know and prove with data which campaign strategies will work best with your audience.
We’re going to explore data marketing through the following points:
- What is data marketing?
- 4 Elements of a Successful Data Marketing Strategy
Are you ready to learn about marketing’s biggest trend, and make the most of the successful strategy for yourself? Let’s get started.
What is data marketing?
Put simply, data-driven marketing is the practice of basing your brand’s marketing and communications strategy on the quantitative information you’ve gathered on your audience.
While traditional marketing practices were based on long-held assumptions or simply “gut” feelings, data marketing is based on quantifiable fact— your consumer data. What once would have been a mass, untargeted marketing campaign based on an educated guess is now a factual effort based on what you know to be true.
The process is straightforward. By combining the consumer data collected by your brand and third-party sources reflecting additional information about your customers’ lifestyles, interests, and behaviors as well as consumer trends and propensities, you have all of the information you need to handcraft the perfect campaign to reach your target audience.
Whether you’re a marketing agency, a mail house data reseller, or even a brand yourself— you know that data marketing is an essential component of modern-day outreach. However, with all of its benefits, that doesn’t mean the method isn’t without challenges. Let’s explore both.
What are the benefits of data-driven marketing?
The main benefit of data marketing is the specificity the strategy offers, improving your ROI and the overall success of campaigns. When you improve both the accuracy and speed of marketing campaigns, your efforts are more efficient and more effective.
As far as the success of these efforts, the data is there. Researchers have found that marketers who used data-driven campaigns experienced over 5 times ROI compared to the marketing spend to initially hold the campaigns. Further, they’ve found that 64% of marketing executives surveyed “strongly agree” that using a data-driven marketing strategy is crucial for success in the modern economy.
The results are clear. This is because data-driven marketing allows you to:
- Gain clarity on your target audience to better market your product to them.
- Use predictive analytics to anticipate future trends in your consumer base.
- Discover the best channels to host your marketing efforts and optimize them.
- Improve the customer experience for your current audience.
What are the challenges of data-driven marketing strategies?
As you read earlier, the benefits of a data marketing strategy don’t come without hurdles. There are a few challenges your company has to overcome to successfully implement data marketing.
For example, turning back to the same infographic cited earlier, 44.6% of marketing professionals cited insufficient technology as the barrier to successful data marketing. After that, a lack of internal experience was cited by 34.8% as their biggest challenge.
From there, other common challenges are:
- Data silos and lack of coordination between the various datasets within a company.
- Incomplete, outdated, or even error-full in-house data.
- A lack of knowledge about modern marketing techniques.
While these may seem like large institutional hurdles to overcome, understand that a strong data marketing strategy is within reach for your company. Whether sourcing third-party data or bringing in a team of data experts, there are solutions to these common challenges.
Continue reading to explore the 4 essential elements for data marketing success. With these elements, you’ll be able to build a strong foundation on which your organization’s marketing strategy can stand.
4 Elements of a Successful Data Marketing Strategy
Diving into data marketing for the first time can feel like an overwhelming effort. First, there’s a ton of information to collect and parse; Second, it can be a high-tech process if you’re a less tech-savvy brand.
However, don’t be deterred from making the most of this effective marketing technique! Data marketing is the future of the field and with the below essential elements, you’ll be off to a great start.
If you’re looking for more information as you read, download AccuData’s whitepaper on the Data-Driven Marketing Must Haves to continue your research. For now, continue reading for the 4 essential elements of a successful data marketing strategy.
Data to inform your strategy.
It almost goes without saying that to build a data marketing strategy, you need consumer data. However, beyond that basic tenet, few dig further into what this data should look like and how it should be handled!
You know that you need data to build your strategy. But, if you’re unaware of how to best collect and use that data, the process can be a headache.
If you’re working with an incomplete dataset and therefore an incomplete picture of your audience, any insights will be too flawed to do you much good. Or, if you’re collecting a massive amount of information with no organizational structure in sight— you’ll struggle to pull actionable insights to begin with.
Therefore, we’re going to focus on two aspects of data to inform your strategy: collecting data and processing data.
As far as a data collection, there are two key sources to keep in mind:
- In-house data. This is the data your business collects on your customer base. Whether social media interactions, email list sign-ups, or buying transactions, this information is valuable. Breaking down internal data silos is crucial to make the most of this data.
- Third-party data. In-house data can paint a picture of your customers as they interact directly with you, but it doesn’t paint a full picture of your customers as human beings. Third-party data can fill in the gaps on what interests your audience when they’re not communicating with you. For example, are they homeowners? Are they interested in “going green?” Third-party data is key to figuring that out.
Once you’ve collected your data, you have to process it. A mass of raw, unexamined data will do little to help your brand’s marketing strategy and even in the worst-case scenario, send you down the wrong path.
Data hygiene is the practice of making sure all of the data you collect is correct and essentially error-free. It involves fixing incomplete, incorrect, and duplicate entries so that you have one complete and accurate entry for each point of data in your system.
The process begins with conducting an audit of your databases and addressing key issues. Then, you create clear practices preventing these issues from arising again going forward. For a more in-depth look at the process, check out AccuData’s primer on data hygiene.
An objective to guide your strategy.
Even if you have the most complete, accurate, pristine database in the entire field of data-driven marketing, you’re going to have difficulty using it if you don’t know what your goals are.
As you’ll see in the next section, the key to acting on your data is segmenting your information into key groupings and acting on those groups. In order to do that, you need to have a clear understanding of what you’re hoping to achieve with the strategy overall.
Forming objectives for your data-driven marketing strategy will guide your data analysis. By understanding the audience you’re hoping to reach and the call-to-action you want them to respond to, you’ll understand your end-goal. Then, you simply use the insights unveiled by your data to discover the best path to reach that goal.
A few objectives could be:
- Growing your Millennial audience.
- Successfully launching a new vertical.
- Exploring social network marketing for the first time.
- Holding an event series in a specific geographic location.
Believe it or not— each of these efforts can be directly improved using data. For example, data can reveal the ways in which Millennials are already interacting with your brand allowing you to optimize those channels. Or, it can give you a direction on which to base your geo-proximity targeting, therefore driving foot traffic to your event series.
A plan for analyzing and applying your data.
Once you’ve collected and cleaned your overall dataset and defined your objective, you can begin analyzing your data. After applying the insights unveiled by this analysis to your marketing strategy, you’ve successfully used data marketing.
As you’ve seen, examining your raw data will do little to inform your strategy. Use your data marketing objectives to build your strategy through the following steps:
- Determine which demographics or common characteristics will best address your objective. This is a process of analysis, discovering where patterns exist within your database and applying them for action. Decide which characteristics would best inform your strategy, such as geographic location, age, buying history, communication preferences, or social network use.
- Segment your data by those characteristics for easier action. Dive into your data to discover leads most likely to respond to your marketing campaign and determine how you can best communicate with them.
- Put the insights unveiled by those groupings into action. There are a variety of ways you can put your data analysis to action, including but not limited to ad retargeting, dynamic advertising, paid search results, and even email and direct mail personalization.
Digging into your in-house data and third-party data can be a difficult process, especially if you don’t have a data team in your midst. This is one area where bringing in a third-party team of data experts, such as AccuData, is a great idea. From discovering trends in your consumer data to helping you formulate a plan of action, these teams can be a valuable resource.
Metrics to track success.
Effective data marketing doesn’t end when your campaign does. The entire point of these strategies is to learn from the data and improve your marketing efforts. It’s essential that you have a strategy in place for analyzing the success of your campaign to continue doing so.
Pay close attention to those who responded to your campaign and those who didn’t. Were there any surprises, such as likely respondents ignoring the effort or unlikely respondents doing the opposite?
Dig deeper to examine why they responded (or didn’t). Do your non-responders or non-buyers share any common characteristics that correlate with their response behavior?
Use this information to inform your future marketing efforts. With this predictive analysis, you can identify buyer personas and expand the prospects of your campaigns going forward.
Data is a powerful force for successful marketing in the modern age. For more information on data marketing best practices, check out these additional resources:
- Four Data-Driven Marketing Must Haves. Explore this downloadable resource to learn more about the essentials of data-driven marketing.
- Data Hygiene: An Introduction to Processing Your Data. Clean data is essential for any successful data marketing strategy. Explore AccuData’s guide to data hygiene to learn how to process your data.
- Meet Goals with Predictive Modeling. Predictive modeling is a key tenet of data marketing. Learn more about the strategy through this downloadable resource.