“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” – H. James Harrington
Among marketers, whether traditional or digital, data is king. Every marketing decision must be based on cold, hard data, and every initiative should be monitored to produce more data so that it can be leveraged in the future. In short, data-driven marketing is not a buzzword; it’s a necessity.
When analytics is applied to data, it can help companies make fact-based decisions, which can then dictate business strategy and influence growth. Being data-driven allows your organization to clearly define the purpose behind any business strategy and provide evidence for various tactics with factual evidence.
Data can come from just about anywhere – sales transactions, customer interactions, social listening, surveys, and consumer feedback are just some of the channels where you’ll find masses of useful data to collect and manage.
Leveraging data for any business decision involves planning, measuring, collating, analyzing, and interpreting business data to effectively understand what it means. It’s an ongoing process, and the foundation for continuous improvement so don’t think about it as being a one-off thing.
Here are the steps you can take to leverage data-driven marketing and generate quality leads:
Make a Plan
First of all, you have to identify what needs to be measured and how you will go about it. The key is to be thorough.
“Give the data and numbers a meaning outside of their numerical value. This is done by first knowing what your goals are and the KPIs that will have an impact on those goals,” said Erik Bitmanis from Iversoft Solutions.
It’s not enough that you measure how many responses a particular campaign receives in a day. You have to know where and who these responses are coming from, as well as from which channel. Ensuring that the right information is collected will make your data more valuable.
Do a Test Campaign
The key is to test the waters before going in for a dive. A shorter pilot campaign will help marketing teams decide if the existing data-gathering plan will work well in the field once the campaign is launched. This will also give your team time to make necessary tweaks.
Review the Results
Data provides insights to help determine if a campaign is hitting the right metrics and reaching set goals. It’s important to analyze not just the results of the test pilots, but also the results of “actual” data-driven tasks for every campaign released.
Analyze the results and share the data with marketing teams, as well as relevant stakeholders to give them a clearer picture of what is working and what’s lacking. The data gathered will also provide a business case for any investments that need to be made.
Set Up Best Practices
As you move forward, you can set up best practices by looking at what works best for which channel and campaign. Regular activity evaluation will also determine which ones need to be upgraded to accommodate more volume or address a new requirement.
The goal is to repeat the tactics that work and tweak/remove the ones that don’t. Soon enough, you’ll have yourself a collection of effective data management processes that keep your business in the “know.”
Identify Metrics for Success
Thanks to technology, marketers can now gather all sorts of data, and analytics can make sense of the numbers. However, among these figures, you need to identify which metrics you will use to measure the success of your campaigns.
Is it the number of website visits? The numbers of inquiries made? Or is it the number of downloads? The metrics should be aligned with campaign goals and strategies.
Data can help management teams make investments not only in data-gathering activities but also in marketing initiatives. Marketers should adopt a strategy that will allow them to repeatedly test and learn. This will raise their standards in terms of determining true ROI over time.
Keep on Testing
Becoming a data-driven organization can’t be achieved in a day. It takes time as well as constant testing and improvement.
Utilizing a scientific approach to data-driven marketing is a good place to start, but eventually, you need to fuse analytical thinking with a bit of ingenuity to come up with more ways to make this type of marketing work for your campaigns and initiatives.
Make Data Work for You
Some experts say that marketing teams often need structure, not creativity. However, creativity is something you can use to develop or maintain such structure.
There are also those who say that data-driven marketing is a bad idea, as it impedes creativity. Many still wonder if structure and creativity co-exist in the marketing world.
The goal is to find the right balance between the two. Marketing teams should provide room for creativity in their data-driven campaigns. Outside-the-box thinking can often lead to breakthroughs that may result in achieving new heights. The key is to keep testing to find the right strategies that work and to keep moving forward.
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