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This is a guest post by Danielle Canstello, Pyramid Analytics.

We live in the golden age of big data, with advanced monitoring systems constantly pouring new information in our databases. Whether it’s coming from the company website, the social media channels, or any other sources, data is highly valuable because it lets you understand customers and their needs and wishes.

However, this doesn’t mean it’s easy to make sense of market trends. Without a well-established strategy, data doesn’t value more than a pile of unsorted documents!

So, how do you put everything in a logical order and how do you decide which data is valuable and which is not?     

Is Data-Driven Marketing Necessary?

According to a recent report, 87% of marketers consider data as being the most underused asset of their companies.

If collected correctly, data can pinpoint to weaknesses in your campaigns, showcase strengths, and give you tips on how and where to find high-quality leads. The right data-driven marketing strategy will show you the best customer segment to address, leads to improved ROI, boosts brand awareness, and increases customer loyalty.

A good example of how data-driven strategy can boost a company’s income comes from STIHL USA. They are considered America’s no. 1 brand in gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment, and they managed to get this high due to stellar marketing and sales technique.

Still, they wanted to approach a new market segment and decided to use a data-driven marketing strategy. As a result, the company found new opportunities that increased its annual revenue with an estimated $200 million!

This shows that the old approach, where it was enough to create a one-size-fits-all campaign, is out of date. The current consumer doesn’t have the time to understand your message and knows there are other opportunities on the market if the one you offer doesn’t satisfy them.

So, yes, the use of data is more than necessary because it helps create the right type of content for each segment of your audience, and it tells you when it’s the best time to deliver it.

How to Create the Best Strategy Based on Data?

If you understand the risks of moving forward without a strategy that uses data to provide the best possible results, have a look at the steps below.

#1: Collect the Right Data.

If you look at the whole process, you’ll realize that it’s not difficult to create a marketing strategy that’s based on data. After all, it’s a battle plan that analyses information collected via interactions and engagements with the consumers in order to create predictions on future behaviors that involve your brand.

The main goal of this endeavor is to provide users with a personalized experience when they are coming in contact with products and services they may want to purchase. For this, it’s crucial that you use a wide array of sources, such as:

  • Analytics reports from social media channels (details on impressions, conversions, or click-through rates);
  • Consumer data (online activity, persona, behavior, and more);
  • Content performance;
  • Google Analytics reports;
  • Qualitative data (personal insight to appeal to new leads);
  • Competitor analysis (make sure to keep track of your competitors’ success);
  • Current trends;
  • Other sources you consider useful.

As you can see, the accuracy of this entire process is completely reliant on the type of data you collect and the sources you use.

For instance, a company can use a wide array of sources starting with the analytics software implemented on their website and ending with direct surveys with the customers. As a result, the volume of data generated on a daily basis is huge, which overwhelms most marketing teams.

For this, specialists recommend using automation software that can integrate all sorts of data sources in the flow. Moreover, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software has the possibility to integrate data from brick and mortar locations with data collected from online locations (such as social media channels or the website).

As a result, even though it may require a bigger initial financial effort, it pays to have a specialized software tool that takes the workload off the marketing team. This will speed up the process and improve the results’ accuracy.

#2: Filter Data Based on your Goals.

Not all data is important for a specific campaign, which is why it’s important to know what you want to achieve.

Once you know the results you’re looking for, it will be easier to focus on the data that makes sense for those goals alone. It also reduces the time spent filtering through piles of unnecessary data, thus dimming down the overall cost of the campaign.

This aspect is also important when you’re choosing the software that will take care of your database. Make sure to choose one that allows users to implement customized filters without limitations. This way, your marketing team will have flexibility when it comes to data handling.

#4: Get Everyone Involved.

There is a common misconception among decision-makers that puts the work of data gathering and analysis on the shoulders of the IT guys.

Since this process involves data analysis, behavior prediction, marketing, and sales, it is totally illogic to leave the entire workload on the tech department. This is why to create a successful data-driven marketing strategy you need a cross-departmental team of open-minded people with diverse backgrounds.

Make sure that the people involved are interested in broadening their horizon by learning about each other’s field of expertise. Thus, the IT guys should be willing to understand more about sales and marketing, while the data specialists should have an interest in the data collecting process.

#3: Take Action.

Once you have the right data, it’s time to take action based on the insight it offers.

Start by adjusting your current content strategy based on the directions suggested by data. For this, run a comparison between the target audience you were trying to reach and the one suggested by the data. You should have a clearer idea of the type of person your content should address.

It may take some trial and error, but in the end, you will have a well-targeted content strategy that attracts and engages the right users. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of media (images, videos, animated GIFs, blogs, social media messages, and more).

Data can also help companies identify new markets that could be tapped into without too much effort. For instance, a company that sells t-shirts could easily tweak their marketing campaign to include people who want to see customized texts and images on their shirts. Moreover, the business could be expanded to other products and services.

Just make sure to go where the data takes you!

#4: Identify Hurdles.

Another benefit of using data in your marketing strategy is that any bottlenecks will immediately stand out.

For instance, customers may get stuck along the purchase process, which may lead to a higher percentage of abandoned carts. The data should pinpoint the exact step that trips users and it may also provide some solutions.

Analyze, Optimize, Repeat

New data is collected every day which is why you can’t define one marketing strategy and forget about it.

This is a repetitive process that gets smoother with time. So, before you even start, make sure you understand each step will require optimization and fine-tuning to provide the best results. Each new information will shine a new light on your strategy’s strengths and weaknesses, and you need to act on without wasting time.

This is a long-term process that will help your company make better decisions, but it takes some trial and error, especially in the beginning.

Author: Danielle Canstello is party of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics. They provide enterprise business intelligence and data analytics services. In her spare time, she writes around the web to spread her knowledge of the marketing, business intelligence and analytics industries.

Use data to pinpoint weaknesses, showcase strengths, and find high-quality leads.

Photo by Dennis Kummer on Unsplash.