How Marketing Leaders Can Use Data Driven Marketing to Report Results Easier
by Marije Schreur, on Oct 26, 2020 6:06:47 PM
As a Marketing Manager, you’re not only responsible for delivering growth across your own department, but also for defining - and designing - a data-driven marketing growth strategy that impacts the entire organization, driving it forward. While this is a natural position for you to be in, there’s a lot riding on your shoulders, and the board expects to see the presentation of new strategies and campaigns that truly deliver. But, what exactly are they looking for?
The truth is that the board may not entirely know what they want, which is why your brief isn’t as comprehensive or as clear as you would have liked it to be. While a combination of experimentation and creativity can be beneficial in this situation, these aspects often deliver more when they’re paired with data-driven decision making; when innovation and imagination are rooted in solid, proven facts and figures.
Research by insights firm McKinsey suggests that businesses that blend creative marketing with data-driven decision making typically grow twice as fast as those that don’t. But using data to develop successful strategies and campaigns is a complex task, right? After all, you might have tried this in the past and become lost amongst all the marketing metrics, or disappointed by the results generated by external vendors.
The truth is that incorporating data into your approach for developing new frameworks isn’t as challenging as it once was. “The analytical horsepower required to mine through that data and create actionable insights to unlock new opportunities: it’s within reach for everybody” says McKinsey partner Jason Heller. “That used to be the heavy lift. It used to be a really bold aspiration to think that you could have such a rich, data-driven marketing practice. Now that’s available to small and midsize marketers”.
Leaving Digital Footprints
The reason that data-driven marketing is becoming increasingly accessible? The average digital footprint is larger than ever. At this point, we’re no longer just talking about data in terms of ‘people who bought this also bought that’, but data from every touchpoint, from every channel, and from every stage of the customer journey. Website visits, app purchases, social network behaviours, media consumption… it’s all there.
Marketing data has long been used to look backwards; to use historical data to determine how successful a current campaign is likely to be. Now, with unlimited opportunities to use this data, along with appropriate attribution models for tasks like audience segmentation, targeting, and personalisation, marketing leaders have a new opportunity to use data to look forwards; to design strategy and campaign frameworks founded on these insights.
The benefit of this is that marketing leaders have a solid base on which to build their approach, rather than leaving it to chance; to what they think is best. They can look at proven, reported results and use this to optimise campaigns for improved relevance, engagement, and personalisation, whether across a single channel, or across the entire strategy. Digital footprints and behavioural cues are the drivers of modern success.
Using Data to Drive Success
Simply holding data isn’t enough. In fact, even the most valuable of data can be pointless if it’s not used effectively. And despite living in a world dominated by artificial intelligence and machine learning, human application of this data is imperative. Marketing leaders must know how to apply the data they have to their approach in a way that aligns with their marketing - and business - goals. So how can it be done?
Many marketers believe that data from reported results is best used to define and shape a journey, whether that be the marketing journey, the buyer journey through content funnels, the sales journey, or the service journey. But is this really the best use of your insights? Data shouldn’t be used to define a journey, but rather to optimise it; to use correlation analysis and conversion data to improve the accuracy of your customer personas, develop new key segments, and so on, that enable you to optimise your approach at each stage of the journey and develop a strategy that engages with the right people at the right time.
The Data Challenge
Many marketers see the biggest challenge of data-driven marketing as collection of the data itself. However, pretty much every organisation will already hold enough valuable data to create a very decent overview of their audience. Instead, the biggest challenge lies in translating this data into usable, actionable insights. That’s because while businesses may already hold this data, it’s spread out across numerous different ‘pockets’ across the organisation, making it difficult - if not impossible - to consolidate.
Dispersed data fails to create a comprehensive overview of customers. What it does is provide a full look at individual aspects of audience behaviour, which isn’t enough to build a successful framework for a strategy or campaign. All data must be brought together in order to generate real value, which means that investing in a centralised data platform like HubSpot is an essential prerequisite for data-driven marketing.
Justifying Your Decisions
While your experience in marketing may give you confidence in your decision making, you naturally seek ways to justify your decisions to the board; to give them the same confidence that what you’re doing is driving the business forward. Reporting on results and using these results as the foundation of your overall strategy is how you’ll achieve this. Rooting your marketing framework in solid data not only allows you to attract and engage with your audience better, but also to do so with complete efficiency, ensuring that the board is able to see real, rapid results that show your inbound marketing is on the right track.