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What is Data-Driven Marketing?

In today’s marketing world, it’s no longer enough to just hope you’re reaching the right audiences. Gone are the days of billboards, blanketed commercials, and paper handouts. These strategies are still used but have been replaced with their data-driven counterparts. Now, we can use data to geofence exactly where billboards or ads should be placed to target the right foot traffic, cater OTT advertising to an individual’s TV viewing habits, or mail paper handouts to the exact addresses of our past and current customers. 

But even more, data allows us to think beyond these strategies. Here, let’s talk about what data-driven marketing is and how you can use it to grow your business, generate more leads, and know exactly who is consuming your content and buying your products. 

What is Data-Driven Marketing?

Data-driven marketing refers to strategies marketers can use based on insights they garner from their users. These insights can come from everywhere, including website data, social media, content consumption, paid media, SEO, and more. You can even use data to drive neuromarketing, which looks into the minds of consumers.

Today, data is the new black gold. It’s extremely valuable, but only if it’s harnessed in the right way. Like gold, big data isn’t helpful until it’s extracted in the right ways. But after that, it can provide priceless insights and can yield powerful results.

But unlike gold, data can be used again and again. In fact, it gets stronger as it grows! This is why it’s more important than ever to harness this data for your marketing strategies to move your business in the right direction. 

data-driven marketing process

The Stages of the Data-Driven Marketing Process

There are multiple stages of the data-driven marketing process. These stages can be broken into two categories: explore and engage

The exploratory phase is when you are using customer data to develop new insights. This first half helps you discover where your data is hiding and organize it in an actionable way. 

The engagement phase is when you use this data to make strategic decisions. It can help you create the right message and target the right people at the right time. 

Let’s look at the steps included in each of these phases. The first two steps, data integration and discovery, are part of the exploration phase. The second two steps, data optimization and execution, are part of the engagement phase. 

Data Integration 

The first thing you need to do when approaching a data-driven marketing strategy is to find out where your data is hiding. As mentioned earlier, you can scrape data from a number of sources. Here are a few:

Social Media

Take a look at who is engaging with your social media content and what type of content is performing well. This may look different depending on the platform. For example, someone isn’t going to consume content the same way on LinkedIn as they will on YouTube or Facebook. Use social media analytics tools to get started. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have their own analytics tools as well that show user behavior. 

data-driven marketing strategy using heatmapping

Credit: heatmap.js

Website

Your website serves as much more than an online business card. Using heat mapping tools like Luckyorange, Crazy Egg, or Hotjar, you can quickly see where people are looking on your site. When you dive into Google Analytics, you can see even more user interactions. For example, they might jump from a blog post to a service page. Lastly, you can use web scraping tools to gather even more data. You can use this information to retarget users, price your products more competitively, or countless other scenarios. Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, said this about website data:

Quote about data-driven marketing

Don’t believe us? Check out the infographic below. After all, data never sleeps!

Infographic outlining data-driven marketing

CRM

Your CRM is a traditional place to look for data. Well-built CRMs include everything from a lead’s name and email address to their pain points, buyer persona, and lead scoring. With all this data at your fingertips, you can see how helpful it would be to create more strategic marketing and sales goals. 

Sales

Of course, you can use past sales as an indicator for future success. Using this data, you can create different buyer personas and use those to target others in the future. For example, maybe you notice that a large percentage of past customers found their way to your site via an Instagram ad. It might make sense to invest more money and time into social ads!

In addition, you can also use sales data to reveal things like revenue, churn rate, lead opportunities, sales cycle durations, customer conversion rate, and more more. All of this information will help you make more informed sales and marketing decisions. 

Analyze & Discover

The next step in the data-driven marketing process is to analyze the data you just collected from the sources above. It’s not enough to just have data. You need to know what to do with it and use those insights to drive your strategy. 

From the data above, you can make conclusions about things like:

  • Product demand
  • Customer affinity
  • Common conversion paths
  • Customer behavior
  • Attribution models

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when we’re talking about data-driven marketing. There are countless insights you can find and use with all of this information. 

Act & Optimize

Now comes the fun part, taking action! So you have your data from all of your sources, you’ve generated some strategic insights, and you’re ready to take action. Now what?

There are many things you can do with this data, but here are some places to start:

Spend

The goal is to use all of this data to find out where your customers are, what they are doing, and how they are converting. From that, you can be a lot more thoughtful about where you put your marketing dollars. If you see more ads converting on social versus PPC, direct more funds there. If you see that one blog or social media post is performing better than others, optimize your content marketing budget accordingly. 

Process

Now it’s time to implement all of the data you defined from SEO, PPC, content marketing, web optimization, and social media. Using this information, you can optimize your marketing process for powerful results. 

Data-driven graphic
Credit: KOCHAVA

Segmentation

We spoke about buyer personas a bit already, but here we want to expand and talk about audience segmentation, as well. It’s no longer sufficient to create one marketing message that you send out to all of your leads. Instead, you need to use data to segment this group using unique qualifications. 

Audience segmentation is commonly used in email marketing, but it can also be utilized through A/B testing, social media, content, paid media, and more. Make your marketing dollars go further by targeting the right people with the right message. The most common segmentation types are:

  • Demographic
  • Behavioral
  • Psychographic
  • Geographic

Decision

Full-funnel marketing is great, but it’s not as great when you realize that the majority of your leads are falling off at the awareness or consideration stage before making a decision. You can use data-driven marketing to prevent this and create an optimized funnel focused on conversions. Know who is making a decision, where they came from, how long their decision journey was, and so much more. 

Offer

Another action item might be to create an offer that’s appealing to both you and your customers. Offers are what will help direct someone to make a decision and, even better, come back for more. Whether you offer a free consultation, a percentage discount, or a referral program, give them a data-driven offer they can’t refuse!

Execute & Deliver

The last stage of the data-driven marketing process is to execute and deliver. You have your data, have generated insights, and are ready to take action, but that doesn’t mean you’re done. In fact, this is just the beginning. 

Using everything we’ve found throughout this process, you can now continue to optimize your strategies to drive results. Record things like a customer’s preferences, where they came from, and their lead score to grow your database. After all, data can only get smarter with more accurate points to analyze!

Final Thoughts

Data-driven marketing is the strategy of the future because it allows us to know who our customers are, what kinds of messages they are consuming, and when and why they make the purchases they do. You can use your marketing collateral, including your website, social media profiles, and CRM data to gather information. From there, you can generate insights and invest your marketing time and dollars into what’s driving the most conversions. Then, rinse and repeat!

If the thought of all this data is overwhelming, you’re not alone! In order to take full advantage of the technology and information available to marketers today, you need to know what to look for. Luckily, we can help! Reach out today if you’d like to take advantage of the power of data-driven marketing. 

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