It’s no secret that data is an incredibly valuable resource for businesses, however, using the data to make more accurate decisions and improving ROI isn’t easy. Using information correctly makes it possible to predict the future, improve your revenue, and even give you the chance to avoid wasting money on ideas that might not work out based on prior results. Hence, the reason we continue to struggle with our data and improve our understanding of how to best analyze our data so that data drives marketing decisions.
How to gather and use data
Market research involves collecting primary data to directly address questions facing your business. Unfortunately, market research is fraught with problems and, if you don’t know what you’re doing, market research can easily lead you astray. The classic example of this comes from Coke, which changed its entire formula based on the results of a flawed market research effort. Because they asked the wrong question, assuming that consumers bought cola based on one criterion when, in fact, another had a stronger impact on purchase intentions, Coke was embraced and, potentially, suffered opportunity costs as a result.
Here are just a few aspects that might warrant the expense and time needed to do market research.
- Segmentation: A segment is a group of people who share common traits that are meaningful for your marketing efforts. For instance, knowing that your brand appeals to a specific market segment allows you to laser-focus your efforts on things important to that group. Knowing which segment prefers your product/services helps guide messaging, offers options for talent to promote your brand, and even suggests important issues such as sales point and features built into a product.
- Competition: Understanding your competition allows you to predict future actions and guiding you when your data drives marketing actions you take. Uber Suggest from Neil Patel, offers one means to achieve this Gathering data about competitor’s SEO and marketing strategies helps you build future strategies to support your brand.
Tools for campaign building
Building a successful marketing campaign is a challenging process, with a lot of companies struggling to put together a plan that will help them find the success they want. There are loads of tools around the web that can help with this, providing an incentive to spend some time to use data to your advantage. Far too many companies simply go with their gut when they are approaching this side of their work instead of adopting a data drives marketing strategy.
- SEO: SEO is the process of making your site appear in searches on platforms like Google. Using tools like Google Keyword Research make it much easier to optimize your appearance in search, while website plugins like Yoast SEO help ensure your content maintains your focus on chosen keywords.
- Social Media: Websites like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are very powerful when used properly. You need to dedicate time to creating valuable content shared across these platforms on a consistent basis based on both the needs of the platform and your target market. There are loads of useful infographics and other sites to help you optimize your social media strategy.
- Advertisements: Ads are one of the more costly forms of marketing available to modern businesses, but they’re very powerful when used correctly. The Google Ads platform, as well as advertising tools through social media platforms, offer guidance in constructing your ads, as well as data. Just ensure that data drives marketing strategy rather than ignoring these stats.
- Analytics: Most social platforms as well as Google, for monitoring website performance, offer a variety of metrics for those businesses who value when data drives marketing strategy.
Any firm committed to a strategy where data drives marketing, know they must set KPI (key performance indicator) metrics prior to embarking on the campaign to help with assessing performance at the end of the campaign. If you want some ideas of KPIs critical for assessing digital performance, check out this list curated by my online community.
- Your Website: Google Search Console and Google Analytics are great for assessing website performance. Be careful to prioritize metrics that impact performance rather than vanity metrics such as # of visits. Instead, look at conversion rate, shopping cart abandonment rates, and other such metrics.
- ROI: Determining your ROI is a big challenge, with many companies having to rely on experts to help with these calculations. However, there are loads of ROI calculators available around the web, giving you easy access to the support you need when you’re figuring this out.
Alongside the tools that fit into your workflow at specific points, it also makes sense to consider general tools that can help you with other challenges when you want a data drives marketing strategy. It’s always worth putting in the effort to find options like the ones below, expanding the value you get from your marketing while also giving you greater control over the whole strategy. Of course, though, you need to avoid wasting time on options that aren’t good for your work.
- Calculators: Maths is one of the hardest topics around for some people, especially when you’re dealing with fractions, percentages, and the array of numbers that can come up in a business. There are loads of custom tools out there that make tasks like trying to calculate percent increase incredibly easy.
- Monitoring Services: While you may have access to a lot of data, most companies are most interested in trends, rather than the day-to-day flow of information. Having services that monitor your website, advertisements, and social media posts are a great way to save yourself the time that comes with managing this manually.
- Data Management: Dealing with large amounts of data can be a complicated and overwhelming process without the right tools to help you. There are loads of data management options on the market, providing you with everything you need to keep track of your most important information.
Data is an extremely powerful weapon for businesses, but you have to use it correctly to get the most out of this precious resource. Many companies put huge amounts of time and resources into making sure that their data is working for them, but that only happens if you use tools that maximize the potential of your data so that data drives marketing strategy. The tools presented here should help you out, but it also makes sense to do some research to find examples that are designed for your exact scenario.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.