Data-driven marketing has taken over as the gold standard, yet creating a data-driven marketing strategy it something that many markets struggle to achieve. A 2018 report by Walker Sands found that while 63 percent of marketing organizations are aware of a quickly changing landscape, only 28 percent feel like they’re keeping up.
Now that people know how much data is available, marketers are expected to use that information to validate every strategic decision they make. Senior management wants to see the return on investment so it can show investors, shareholders, and the board of directors how the company is performing and what the cash flow looks like.
But management and shareholders aren’t always aware of data-driven marketing strategy and the complications.
Numbers might seem concrete, but data can be manipulated or fail to show the big picture. The tools used to track ROI can be expensive and difficult to implement, or there might not be enough data to determine statistical significance. And bad data can block the flow of information.
Additionally, results that seem positive might be easily debunked as vanity metrics, inconsistencies can lead to a lack of confidence in the numbers, and many consumers use fake information when filling out lead forms, which can skew results.
The need for a data-driven marketing strategy also extends beyond management’s expectations. Consumers have increasingly high expectations and attention spans that seem to grow shorter by the day, so connecting effectively at all points of the customer journey can be difficult. But it’s critical in order to gain and retain clients.
A key part of overcoming these challenges is determining which numbers to track.
The right data can shape a thoughtful and cohesive strategy (and give management something to take to the board).
We live in a world where much of our consumer activities take place online, and it’s all being tracked. Google probably has a record of everything users have searched for and every video they’ve watched. That extensive data collection drives Google’s unprecedented ad targeting.
Such vast amounts of data can be overwhelming and seemingly random, so to stay focused, establish clear KPIs and an agreed-upon method for measuring results from the start.
KPIs can be program-wide or channel-specific. Generally, you should set high-level goals to guide you — ones that will net new names, user registrations, purchase behavior, etc.
Be mindful of vanity metrics such as likes or views. A comment or social share is much more valuable than a quick thumbs-up because users are taking more time to engage with your brand and sharing that interaction with their followers. A study by Nielsen found that 54 percent of the information that drives buying decisions comes from social media sharing, so give your audience content worth sharing.
Also, keep in mind that quick page views aren’t accurate metrics to measure success because they don’t show the whole picture. Does it really matter if you drove 100,000 people to your landing page if only a few converted?
Once definitive KPIs are set and data collection is underway, there are several tools marketers can use to understand their data and effectively create a data-driven marketing strategy.
Your options for data might be vast, even overwhelmingly excessive, but these tools will help you figure out not only which metrics to focus on, but also what to do with the insights you gain.Would you add any tools to this list? Let me know in the comments!