This article is all about data-driven marketing. I’m going to explain to you what data-driven marketing actually is, how being data-driven can make you a better marketer, and how you can start being more data-driven today.
Definition of Data-Driven Marketing
Data-driven marketing is using data to improve the way you market your product or service. This definition goes for paid marketing, content marketing, email marketing, social media, marketing, and so on.
It’s about using data to test, learn, analyze, hypothesize, and optimize your understanding of current and potential customers so you can get more for less.
It’s about using data to make better decisions and improve your marketing performance across all of your channels.
What data-driven marketing means for you?
So let’s dive in and unpack what data-driven marketing means for you.
Data-driven marketing doesn’t just mean using digital advertising platforms like Google ads, Facebook ads, MailChimp, and Twitter that use and produced data. Let’s take Google ads as an example. Their algorithm processes trillions of data points in order to try and find the right person with the right ad at the right time.
The algorithm works the same for everyone. So unless you do something different, how will you edge ahead of your competitors? The good news is that advertising platforms produce unique data just for you. In fact, data is being produced everywhere all around you all the time. It’s been created on an advertising platform, on your website, on your web analytics platform, in your CRM, in your back-end sales platform, etc, etc.
Data is being created at all times all around you. And this is the key to unlocking a way to edge ahead of your competitors.
Let’s imagine you’re joining a company and the CMO said something like, “We’re a b2b company. LinkedIn is the only social channel we use for paid advertising. Facebook just isn’t for us. It’s not professional. It’s not where our prospects are hanging out”.
You could take that at face value and say okay, that makes sense. Thanks for the heads up. Or you can put your testing hat on and let the data do the talk. To do that, you need a framework. But don’t worry, I’ve got one for you.
- Create a hypothesis
- Test it
- Analyze it
- Learn from your analysis to make better decisions.
How Data Driven Marketing Helps you become Better Marketer?
So now we’ll talk about how data-driven marketing will help you become a better marketer. Data-driven marketing improves your ability to gain a deeper understanding of your target customers. Figure out what channels are most effective to communicate with them. Define how to most effectively communicate your value and refine the conversion journey to make prospects convert more efficiently.
That translates into an increased conversion rate and lower cost per acquisition. ultimately leading to a higher return on investment getting you more of what you want for less.
Start becoming more Data-Driven
So we know what data-driven marketing is and why it’s important for a lot of marketers, how can you get started? What can you actually do to start becoming more data-driven today?
Firstly, you need to create an inventory of all the platforms that could have useful data. This means figuring out where are you producing data with your marketing efforts, where it’s being stored, and what is currently being done with it. I mentioned where are you producing data earlier. As for where it’s being stored or used?
Think about what tracking you have set up or any integrations or workflows set up by other teams operational or financial. Then ask if is it being used in the G sheet by finance or sales report by Rev ops. This might require some collaboration with other teams in the business, but you want to know what’s already been done with that data.
Do you know what pipelines and workflows are already happening all around you? Because maybe you can leverage those. Now you know what data is available.
The next step is to get the data all in one place so you can find a way to aggregate it to make it understandable. Instead of just having 1000s of rows of data. Listen, data is great, but there’s lots of it. You’ve got multiple campaigns with multiple ad groups with tons of ads across multiple platforms.
To make it useful, you need to organize it so you can eventually understand it. And also ask questions. This could be in a Google sheet or in a marketing data hub like a funnel, or even in a data warehouse. Each has its pros and cons.
How much data do we actually need?
Let me just contextualize how much data we’re actually talking about. The average marketer has about 11 data sources, which means 11 Different platforms that produce data that they want to get their hands on. Now imagine all this data wasn’t in one centralized location and instead of having each one of those platforms open in a separate tab, and flicking between them, doing some sporadic siloed channel analysis and trying to get any useful insights out of it. Sounds pretty time-consuming to me.
What to do next?
Now you have your data in one centralized place, but what are you going to do with it? Next, it’s about hypothesizing what you want to ask of your data. And why sort of imagine your data was a bit like a search engine and you could just search it for answers?
By hypothesizing in this way, you push yourself to imagine how your data can answer questions. Those questions that everyone always expects you to know the answer to CPA, ROI to lots of fun, but also the questions you think about when you think about trying to improve performance.
Let’s do an example. I want to know if conversions increased when we started display advertising with the channel light display, it isn’t necessarily a direct conversion channel. You typically use it more for upper-funnel campaigns, but if you are spending a lot of money on display and trying to increase conversions, you probably want to try and understand the impact you’ve collected centralize and hypothesize. Now it’s time to analyze the data and get some answers.
Don’t be intimidated by this step. This is you trying to answer your questions. Data analysis is looked at as a technical task. But modern marketers are becoming more technical and data analysis is part of their daily work. What it really means is looking for patterns, trends, correlations, and inconsistencies that explain what causes things to happen.
Once you have your data centralized, and it’s ready to be analyzed, visualize the data points you want to use to answer your questions. This might require you to slice and dice it in different ways. Maybe even create some new custom dimensions and make metrics that are available in the platforms. If you don’t know what metrics and dimensions are, check out this video.
You’re trying to get to the point where you get the right set of data in front of you that highlights correlations or causations. Start simple start with what you know. Go for easy bar charts, tables, and line charts.
Once you started getting stuck into analysis and getting some answers, it’s time to start making decisions on your new insights. Granted, marketing isn’t all about data, the data can actually make decisions for you. But now in a post-hookless world, the marketer needs to make decisions based on all the information that you have in front of you.
The more good data you have, the more informed you are. But the best marketers can be informed by data and still use creativity to build a best-in-class data-driven marketing strategy that works for your business.
Going back to our display example from earlier you plotted a simple chart with display spend and volume of brands searches by week and you saw that brand search dramatically increased when you when you started that display advertising. This is a good thing because given a brand clicks are much cheaper than non brand. All of a sudden you have a bunch of cheaper traffic to your website.
I just want to know that I’ve talked a lot about data-driven marketing through the lens of paid advertising. But the same principles apply to all types of marketing. All marketers can become more data-driven than they are right now. Content Marketers, brand marketers, community marketers, email marketers, social media marketers, and so on. Ultimately, harnessing the data platforms create is what makes marketers become more data-driven. So if you want better results, you need to learn to make the most of your marketing data.