Marketing professionals should aim to establish a comprehensive understanding of data-driven opportunities.
Data, after all, tells us the story of who's engaging with a company's messaging, as well as their identified needs and motivators. Without data, a marketing team will struggle to understand the purpose behind their efforts, track the success of those efforts and pinpoint the strategy needed to retain existing customers.
Marketing professionals should aim to establish a comprehensive understanding of data-driven opportunities – let's explore why.
The Benefits of Data in Planning Marketing Strategy
As marketers begin to strategize upcoming marketing initiatives, they should evaluate available data to identify key insights – from demographics to best distribution times.
Data is collected in a number of ways. In many cases, marketers will utilize the assistance of a tool – like Google Analytics – to retrieve specific data. Looking at Google Analytics, we can see the impact of data in generating and assessing a marketing strategy. With information available like time on site, most popular demographics, pages visited and conversion rate for specific campaigns, this tool is a great representation of how data can separate a standard marketing strategy from an informed one.
Most importantly, however, the utilization of data is key to improving the brand’s reputation with current and prospective customers. When brands define needs and goals of their customers, they can drive a marketing message that provides desired solutions. Adversely, brands who neglect to utilize data will fail to identify trends that complement the wrong type of messaging, for example, a high website bounce rate, low email open rate or decreased conversions. Marketers, therefore, should evaluate data as one important piece of an overall puzzle that’s designed to improve customer relationships.
Without these insights, valuable marketing dollars will be wasted on targeting the wrong demographics, neglecting to reach prospective customers at their preferred times and potentially hurting the long-term success and reputation of the brand.
How Data Impacts Analyses and Reporting
Marketers know their jobs aren't complete when a new marketing strategy launches. Following the deployment of a new marketing technique or campaign, it's time for the marketer to identify and track its performance. This is important for reporting and adjusting, as with some channels – like a paid advertising campaign – the marketer has an opportunity to continuously fine-tune bids and budget following launch.
In every marketing campaign, there needs to be a viable, accurate method of reporting – this is often reliant on data collection and interpretation. Whomever the marketing team reports to, whether it's a client or in-house boss, will expect an understanding of how marketing dollars are being allocated, as well as the ROI (Return on Investment).
Data plays an incredibly valuable role in reporting. For one, it helps to support the findings, or observations, of the marketer with concrete numbers. A marketer might, for instance, conclude that an email campaign is successful because it increased engagement on the company’s website. However, many clients and business owners are driven by numbers, and it’s more powerful to say “this campaign drove X visits to our website”, vs. “this email campaign increased website visits.” Accurate, custom reporting can easily solidify a marketer as a necessary part of a team.
Data visualization can also help both the marketer and business owners visualize the numbers and identify patterns. With the use of charts, graphs and more, data can enable decision makers and marketers to process large chunks of information in an easily-digestible format. As the marketing world becomes more technology-driven, data visualization tools become more integrative and interactive as well.
How Marketers Can Utilize Data Moving Forward
As long as marketing exists, so will the data it depends on. Marketers who are not already utilizing data for marketing decisions should prioritize the implementation of tools and techniques to track that data.
Once data is effectively collected, marketers can analyze the information, employ it for future strategies and consolidate the information for reporting purposes. The analysis and reporting aspects of data will showcase the value of long-term tracking initiatives. If the reporting is complemented by data visualization tools, patterns will begin to show, trends can be tracked, and areas for improvement will be identified.
Marketers wear many hats, but demonstrating success in all facets of the job relies on the ability show the value of completed – and ongoing – work. Data not only drives better strategies, improved brand reputation and comparative growth, but it also supports marketers in their efforts to showcase the hard work behind the results. Data has become one of the most important opportunities for marketers to acknowledge and utilize moving forward.