Why data counts?
Data. It’s described as the new combustion engine of this century. Fuelling organisations with the tools to predict human behaviour, analysing patterns that can ultimately transform how well it performs. And in marketing, data analytics help determine who your customer is and how you should be targeting them.
Harnessing data helps build a deeper understanding about a business marketplace and its competitors that in turn, will build successful digital marketing strategies for awareness and growth. Data can help define the shape of successful campaigns. It can sharpen which types of ads work best and pinpoint what to use in content or social media marketing.
And ultimately? Data is capable of transforming the efficiency, productivity and success of organisations. The healthcare sector is a prime example. New post Covid data is changing the way care is planned, administered, and monitored, not to mention the research for new treatments and diagnosis methods. Data sharing in health technology means collaborative innovation, better patient outcomes and cost effective administration worldwide.
When data goes dud
But data research and analysis has deep holes and pitfalls. As businesses grow, data and its source points can become overwhelming. Too much data can flow from multiple locations creating confusion and conflicting analysis. If a business structure has not been set up to funnel, organise and analyse the data properly, some valuable insights become hidden whilst other data sources are over subscribed.
What’s more, if data is poorly distributed, not comprehensively shared with all relevant business units, its value is compromised. The upshot is that business teams cannot see a full picture and are unable to undertake coherent, meaningful action using fully visible data sets.
Data needs experts
According to data specialist, Collibra, business users, data analysts and data scientists spend 80% of their time locating the right data. That’s a lot of people and a lot of dedicated effort and expertise! But skilled data specialists are often hard to find.
A 2021 report from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) revealed the extent of the data problem for UK businesses. A survey of 1,045 businesses found that nearly half (48%) were recruiting for data roles, and a similar number were struggling to find candidates to fill the role. The study estimates that there are currently around 250,000 jobs that require hard data skills.
So with all of the data opportunities and all of the data led challenges combined, we caught up with Somebody’s Director of Digital Strategy, Devon Hyde to hear more about her tips and best practice in fusing data with effective digital marketing.
1. Make data meaningful
Data helps remove subjectivity and risky ‘group think’ but there’s also an element of individual expertise that should be layered on top of any data set to guide its value and unlock meaning. In other words - a robust and smart analysis of what the data is telling us is critical to the type of action taken as a result.
So to make smart data led decisions for marketing, always step back and consider the core business objectives. What is the marketing activity looking to achieve? Is it about awareness? Or engagement and conversion? And also remember, these objectives are not individual single sylos. The most successful business marketing strategy should include touch-points for awareness and conversion working together.
2. Double data with insight
Data through comprehensive market research can be expensive but if a fresh marketing plan or a new type of customer is required, data can help ensure the level of audience awareness & perception is understood. This knowledge could be served through data delivered in a customer survey or more cost effectively, through building early stage user feedback as well as analysis of competitor activity.
And of course, this may well be nuanced across different global geographic territories. Being able to understand, customise and track each locational marketing activation is vital. Consistent tracking will help reveal the extent of awareness and clearly sign-post how to adapt and customise each activity. Tracking analysis will also help feed valuable data into the shape of the next marketing campaign - helping to stitch together the most efficient and cost effective strategy.
3. Customer understanding
Data that helps unlock customer behaviour is so important. And understanding audience intent is something that Google can help with. Custom intent audiences are a Google Ads feature that allow businesses to control who sees their ads, based on the users' previous activity online. In practice, this serves an opportunity to reach people who are already searching for the product or service your business offers.
Recent advances in programmatic advertising have propelled understanding around online customer behaviour and digital ads are now able to hyper target customers, utilising a bank of data built over time. An ad could be creatively award winning, but if it’s not in the right place, targeting the right people, then a campaign will never reach its true potential.
4. Customer behaviour
Alongside powerful digital profiling, customer behaviour can be analysed through all of the media channels owned by the business such as websites and social media channels. Monitoring the impact of page content or the popularity of a piece of curated content will help a business establish clear customer appetite - and enable the marketing team to swiftly re-shape, if needed.
What’s more, as B2C and B2B events are now coming back to life, these represent even greater opportunities to gather ever more valuable customer data. What’s key here is to ensure a robust set of measures are pre-set in advance to extract meaningful data from the post event analysis.
5. It’s never won and done!
If Covid taught us anything, it’s understanding that consumer purchase patterns change over time and all the time. And it’s a recognition that all businesses need to build into ‘always on’ data gathering. Right now for example, monitoring price fluctuations during this economic crisis is critical. Whether a business is price driven or not, this current climate will likely impact purchase decision makers and businesses need to be alive to adapt if necessary.
6. Open mindset
Sometimes data can be surprising and unexpected - blindsiding conventional business knowledge! For example, a recent BrightTalk survey showed that over 80% of B2B customers are in digital fatigue but most surveyed pointed to video as the format of choice for educational content. For B2B products and services - this timely data is invaluable.
So always maintain an open mind to information that challenges received wisdom. Build agility into budget planning where possible, ideally. keeping a budget in reserve for testing new tactics and maybe new digital marketing tools as well. Testing new marketing machinery will help prevent budget wastage through long term marketing repetition, ensuring campaigns are hyper informed and relevant.
6. Not everything that shines
And finally, remember that new marketing tools and tactics can look shiny on the surface, promising fast results - but without meaningful customer data at the core, an approach can develop that is too much, too fast - leading headlong into the wrong direction. It comes back to having full visibility of a customer, the purchase climate and their likely behaviours.
Harnessing good data helps build a deeper understanding about a business marketplace and its competitors that in turn, will build successful digital marketing strategies for awareness and growth.
We’re here to help! For a complete analysis of digital data to help unlock growth - contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.