The term “big data” is a phrase born of this century, but the concept isn’t revolutionary. Modern businesses of all sizes already generate data on a daily basis from a variety of sources, including CRM systems, ERP systems, and social media.
The primary challenge for most businesses is finding a way to harvest the relevant data from this wealth of available information and using it to provide actionable insights.
Marketing is one area that can dramatically benefit from big data analysis. Data-Driven Marketing can improve customer relationships, create a one-to-one conversation between buyer and seller, and drive customer engagement and sales. With data-driven marketing, marketers can deliver the best possible message to the right people at the right time.
What is Data-Driven Marketing?
Modern marketing is the sum of many parts, but at its core is communication. Simply put, data-driven marketing is communication built around the intelligence gained through data collection and analysis.
The best marketing departments are chiefly audience-focused, and 53% of marketers are primarily focused on communications relevant to the customer above all other priorities. Data analysis drives marketing strategy at a high-level and improves performance at the point of communication, driving higher engagement rates and sales.
To stay competitive going forward, businesses will likely need to adapt to this new reality. While 64% of executives agree that data-driven marketing is crucial to success, many are still grappling with the best way to harness that data for insight, rather than already using it to improve their communications.
In a world where businesses compete with every organization vying for their customers’ attention, data-driven marketing provides a distinct advantage.
Why is Data-Driven Marketing Important?
Data-driven marketing is crucial to compete in this day and age. Businesses are no longer competing solely with their direct competitors. In the age of information, audience attention is a precious commodity. In that sense, marketers are competing with every other organization that communicates with their customers and prospects, including Netflix, Amazon, and other masters of data-driven communication.
But you don’t have to work for an industry giant to master data-driven marketing. Instead, you can incrementally improve your marketing efforts in a number of different ways:
Delivery Improvements: Data-driven marketing can ensure your communications are delivered in the best way possible.
Performance Monitoring: Measuring the performance of campaigns and communications, gaining insight as information comes in, and adjusting strategy to make improvements.
Diversifying Profitability: An increase in competition can lead to declining profits. But by identifying opportunities to cross-sell, upsell, and diversify sales, marketers can wring as much profitability as they can out of each individual customer.
Defining the User Journey: By understanding all the different touch points a customer has with your brand, and by understanding the customer’s journey from first interaction to a sale (and every point in between), you can better understand how to take control of that customer journey.
These are just a few areas in which data-driven marketing is important for the modern marketer.
How Can Marketing Agencies Take Advantage?
There are so many ways marketing agencies can use big data to boost customer engagement, create successful campaigns, and otherwise look like rock stars. This is not a comprehensive list, but these examples demonstrate the power of data-driven marketing.
If you’re sending the same message to all of your customers and prospects, you’re not taking advantage of audience segmentation. Audience segmentation involves breaking your audience into well-defined groups based on behavior or demographics and crafting messages that will appeal to those specific groups. Reaching the right people with the right message can improve response rates, increase efficiency, and boost sales.
Content is the marketer’s bread and butter – it’s the way organizations grab the attention of potential customers. But 27,000,000 content pieces are shared every day. With the oversaturation of online information and the sheer volume of content competing for your audience’s eyeballs, how can you stand out?
You have to be creating customized content that appeals to the consumers most likely to engage with your brand. Successful content speaks directly to specific buyers and will keep you ahead of competitors that take a “one size fits all” approach to their messaging.
Crafting great content – whether it is emails, blogs or a newsletter – can create a snowball effect. The more interesting your content, the more it will be shared on social media, which is one of the largest potential sources of web traffic, leads, and customers. Content for existing customers can also help you drive repeat business and keeps customers engaged with your brand.
Data-driven marketing can help you identify the right people to target with your content so you can get down to the fun part: creating.
Let’s take a look at email deliverability. There are a few challenges here that data-driven marketing can help with.
Spam Filters: Many marketing emails are getting caught in spam filters. Trigger phrases like “fantastic deals,” “weight loss,” and “get out of debt” can land emails in the spam abyss. But if you weren’t tracking this data, you’d never know anything was wrong.
Date and Time: The time and date of an email can also affect open and click-through rates. Your audience may respond to specific times. Preferred times could even vary between different audience segments. But if you aren’t experimenting with different options and tracking performance, you might miss the fact that retired customers on the East Coast are more likely to open an email that comes in the afternoon.
Customer Insights for Profitability
When your industry has a dozen (or more) competitors, profits for your different product and service offerings can decline. But data insights can help you cross-sell, upsell and otherwise wring the most profit out of your contacts.
For instance, social media offers a wealth of information on your audience, including age range, profession, and other interests. Maybe your RC car sales are lagging behind among your existing customer base, but by analyzing your customers on social media, you find that a majority of your customers also love comic book action figures. Now you have a product to promote to a customer segment that you didn’t previously know existed.
The possibilities for customer insights like these are infinite – they are limited only to the imagination. If a marketer can ask a question the data can answer, there’s an opportunity knocking.
Once you’ve used your data to deliver the right message to the right people, you can’t rest on your laurels and repeat the same formula over and over again. That formula can be tweaked and adjusted to amplify what works and drop what doesn’t, delivering better results.
You can do this by setting metrics that measure the success of your efforts and then “listen” as new data rolls in from your campaigns. You can gain valuable insights on the performance of your campaigns and continue to learn as you go. In this way, you can constantly be improving.
The next logical step for big data, one that will be especially helpful for marketers, is that of predictive analytics. The heaps of data available to you can reveal patterns that can help unlock future opportunities.
Using predictive analytics, your data could tell you the best and worst times to reach new customers, the ideal time frame to send a promotion, or when your customers are most likely to make a repeat purchase.
With information like this at your disposal, you can identify new opportunities you simply couldn’t see before.