In an online world, it's become imperative for marketers to deliver relevant digital experiences to their customers, at every step of their journey.
Marketers need to become familiar with online behaviors across multiple channels. Each click a user makes contributes to an extremely valuable stream of data that helps marketers identify interest, intent and affinity for brands, products and services.
In practice, this stream of data is fragmented across channels and platforms — making the modern path to purchase seem like a complex code to decipher.
This is where data-driven marketing comes into play, using these customer interactions to optimize your brand communications. Done correctly, you will be able to predict the needs, wants and future behaviors of your customers.
Let’s start by refreshing your knowledge on data driven marketing by exploring five marketing strategies that you can use today!
Does data really matter in marketing?
Let’s have a real talk here - if you are asking this question, then you have not experienced the impact of using this ‘insider knowledge’ from your customers correctly. Author, organizational theorist and management consultant, Geoffery Moore tweeted about the significance of data back in 2012.
“Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the Web like deer on a freeway.”
Even though he is specifically talking about big data analytics, the sentiment is the same when used in the realm of marketing and sales. If you want to improve your customers' digital experience, optimize your brand’s online performance or make content marketing decisions, being data driven will help you every step of the way.
Data-driven marketing strategies
There is a wealth of data available to marketers and collecting the right customer information can be difficult. It’s important to capture data at each point of the customer journey, but unless you are transforming numbers into actionable insights, all that information is useless.
Brands who don’t leverage customer data miss out on critical marketing opportunities. A consumer’s buying consideration is set in moments, so when a marketer fails to target their audience at the right time, a missed opportunity could result in the loss of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
To make sense of your customer data and turbocharge your marketing, follow these tactics. They have been used by some of the biggest companies around the world, and show what’s possible when using data correctly.
1. Market the customer experience
With a creative approach to data analysis and marketing, you can design content that reflects what you already know about your customer and the journey they take with your product.
In 2021, Spotify amassed a valuable data trove of 180 million paying customers, globally. A growth of 123 million from 2017. But, what to do with so much data? Well, Spotify get creative!
In a campaign called 2018 Goals, the marketing team designed messages that reflected their customer behavior. The idea was to spread messages on posters around the world that tapped into the musical tastes of its customers.
Billboards displayed messages like: “Deliver burns as well as the person who streamed 'Bad Liar' 86 times the day Sean Spicer resigned,” and “Be as loving as the person who put 48 Ed Sheeran songs on their 'I Love Gingers' playlist.”
The marketing campaign was hailed as one of the most delightful deployments of user data in advertising history and has been repeated by the brand in years since. It captured the quirks of its users and transformed numbers into hilarious marketing advertisements.
In recent years, we all know Spotify’s end of year wrap up. Essentially, serving up their customer’s listening data on a silver platter. Spotify Wrapped is an end of year report of your most listened to tunes over the year delivered in a very social share-worthy way.
Taking a note from Spotify's book, data can be turned into creative, engaging initiatives, where the customers also feel like they’re having a personal interaction with the brand.
2. Reach the right audience with insights
Uncovering and activating insights are two very different things. Uncovering insights helps build a picture of consumer intent, interest and needs. This picture helps you create ads that target exactly what a consumer wants.
Activating insights puts that picture to use. When marketers take action on their data, they're more likely to strike the "Aha!" moment — leading to a winning strategy that's focused on what consumers want.
CoverGirl created personalized messages for a LashBlast mascara campaign on YouTube. It used a smart bidding system that collected data from a machine learning algorithm to serve ads only to its “most interested” customers. The algorithm categorized customers into “most interested” based on their online behavior, therefore targeting an audience who had the most intent to buy.
According to Google,ads served with intent signals have 30% higher customer consideration and 40% higher purchase intent than when they’re served using demographic signals alone. This means that instead of just focusing on where your customers are, marketers need to place more focus on what they want.
Be one step ahead of your customers by using data. Whether they are sitting in the awareness phase or making their way straight into conversion, you are able to use data to create the optimal experience for them.
3. Paint a full picture of your audience
With a measured approach to analyzing data, you can cut through the confusion and discover insights to shed light on your audience.
To start, you'll need to look at each channel and data source as a piece of the puzzle. You can't just focus on your website analytics and internal CRM data. Instead, you need a holistic understanding of your customers' journey across various devices and channels. This process can be sped up by using a customer data platform like Ortto, where all your customer data from different touchpoints is collated and organized on one platform.
Now you may not have a complete data set for every customer, but that’s ok, you can always enrich the customer data that you do have. Simply create a data enrichment journey within Ortto as part of your welcome or nurture series. Include the questions you want answered within the email. When your customer clicks on an answer, this information is collected using UTM parameters, and now can be used to send them on a personalized pathway based on their response.
Let’s use Glassworks' welcome email as an example, once the customer has been welcomed to the family, they are then prompted to fill out a short survey to find out ‘what matters most’ when picking out glasses. This can then be used for product recommendations, promotions and general personalization going forward.
Once you have a reservoir of relevant data at your disposal, patterns in your customers' behavior will become more apparent. Plus, this additional context becomes very useful when segmenting audiences and delivering more personalized brand experiences.
4. Be inclusive with data and insights
Organizational silos are bad. There, we said it. Withholding information creates slow, ineffectual business processes. This is doubly true in the data and technology space.
While specialists like analysts and data scientists play a critical role in data-driven strategies, it's advantageous to have as many employees and teams as possible exposed to available data — especially across marketing and sales.
Employees are trained to use data effectively; and
Teams are freely collaborating with each other
Get the most bang for your buck by allowing data to flow freely through the company. Each team will have a unique perspective — meaning the same set of insights can have multiple uses.
5. Integrate technologies
Uncovering an important insight about your audience can feel like a eureka moment. But if you don't do anything about it, all your hard work is for nothing. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. In clunky marketing stacks, operational hurdles can get in the way, causing you to miss out on activating insights when the time is right.
Ortto functions as a customer data, analytics, and marketing technology platform, effectively acting as a Martech stack by itself. The major difference is that Ortto natively integrates with a wide range of popular data-driven platforms — each specializing in a different element of the full marketing stack.
Full-stack marketing allows you to turn insights directly into valuable actions. Use it to take advantage of:
Digital analytics that optimize the user experience;
Customer-level data to segment and reach individuals; and
Audience-level data to customize experiences
Using data to improve your content marketing strategy
When it comes to content marketing, there is often a constant battle between art and science. On the one hand, being able to back up your strategy with data and statistics demonstrates the effectiveness of content from your brand to customers.
On the other hand, marketing involves more than just dealing with numbers. By nature, your customers are driven by emotion and building a solid marketing strategy involves factoring in feelings and experiences to drive engagement.
When people think content, they often think creative. But in actual fact, successful content marketing is a mix of both creativity and data. In particular, the value of data in the context of content marketing cannot be overstated. Let’s explore three practical ways to use data to drive your content marketing strategy.
1. Categorize pain points according to customer segments
The most effective content strategy begins by targeting the right audience. To avoid sending the wrong message to the wrong person, marketers often group their customer database into smaller clusters of customers with similar characteristics, also known as segments. Marketers then develop marketing activities, including their content strategy, accordingly.
A segment can be based on demographic factors such as age, gender, and location, or actions such as purchasing behavior and engagement with specific content.
Segmentation can help your business identify specific pain points that your customers face — and you can use these pain points to support data driven content marketing.
Identifying these pain points may involve:
Looking at customer reviews (more on that later)
Social listening on your brands social channels, or using platforms such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Keyhole
Getting real-time feedback on live chat
Researching trends and updates specific to your industry
By observing the conversations your customers are having about your brand, product, or industry, you can extract their main concerns, problems, and objections. You can then use all this valuable data to shape your content marketing strategy for the next quarter.
2. Get a little help from A/B testing
Content creation can get expensive real quick! Whether it’s signing up a niche instagram influencer or creating a series of videos for a campaign, all these add up.
Before diving into a content marketing initiative, there are a few ways to make sure you’re going down the right path. Firstly, check your metrics. Do you know what type of content works with your audience? If your video content brings in more customers rather than simple shutterstock imagery, then you know the route to take.
Secondly, A/B testing is an excellent way to test what resonates with your audience then using the data to go forwards with what works.
A/B testing ads on Facebook is a good way to experiment with different campaign elements. Their split tests allow you to create the same Facebook ad changing one variable, in this example we are choosing the ad creative. Say you choose a highly curated product image for test A then a user-generated image as test B. These ads are then posted live for a period of time and the winner is determined by the goal you’ve set - traffic, conversion or engagement.
Use the findings here, to determine the route to take when choosing imagery for your paid Facebook advertising campaigns.
Our example above is just one aspect of A/B testing, it can also be used on the type of language, tone or personalization used in your copy. Ortto will help you optimize your email performance by testing which email subject line, time, day or content leads to higher opens, clicks and conversions.
By using A/B testing regularly you are able to get a solid grasp on what your audience wants, even as their tastes change, you can still serve them their preferred content.
3. Use customer feedback to boost your content
During the decision-making phase of a customer journey, a friend or family member referring to your services will be worth more and be weighted heavier than any marketing wizardry.
According to SEO agency BrightLocal, 84% of online shoppers rate online customer reviews as reliable as a recommendation from a trusted friend, making customer feedback an important tool for marketers and business owners.
If your business has already received a handful of feedback, either on Google or a review site such as G2 Crowd, Capterra, TripAdvisor, or Zomato, then great! And if the majority of these reviews are positive, you can start turning them into stats. Here are some examples:
9 out of 10 happy customers would highly recommend our services to a friend or family member;
92% of our customers reported a “positive experience” after using our product; or
88% of trialists have said they would purchase our software.
You can then start adding them on your website landing page, in your blog posts, and in premium content assets such as whitepapers, thought leadership pieces, and e-books.
If your business is still in its growth stage and you’ve yet to receive a single review, start by asking your customers. We don’t mean emailing every single one of them and asking for their two cents — that will take way too long. Instead, use a marketing automation solution like Ortto to create a system that will gather and analyze customer reviews for you.
As an example, a customer journey can be set up using Ortto to automatically send an NPS survey to your trialists just before their trial is about to expire. Throughout the trial period, drip emails can be sent periodically to provide helpful product usage tips and set them up for success. With this journey, you can find out what went wrong at any point during the trial and use your trialists’ feedback to improve. And if your trialists leave nothing but glowing feedback, then congratulations, you have your first positive review!
This simple journey encourages your trialists to leave genuine reviews, as well as helping your team to spot any common themes in the customer responses.
8 quick steps to becoming a data-driven marketing expert
This is your fast track option to change up your traditional, arguably outdated marketing thinking, into the creative yet analytically focussed practices needed in today’s landscape. With these 8 quick steps you will become a tech-savvy data driven marketer.
1. Be driven by analytics
You’re all about the metrics now. Freshen up your skills and know how to measure, manage and analyze the performance of your campaigns. Start noticing patterns or trends and apply those learnings to your next campaign. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop.
2. Technology is your friend
There are plenty of apps, website extensions, and martech software available nowadays designed to make your life as an analytical data driven marketer easy. Make the most of it. If you don’t know where to start, sign up to as many marketing websites and email subscriptions as you can handle, this is where the latest tech and trends are shared.
3. Save time - automate your campaigns
By building out customer journeys, and automating these campaigns through a platform like Ortto, your marketing life will be made exponentially easier. Triggers can be set up based on your customer behaviors leading them down the desired custom journey, without you holding their hand along the way.
4. Start social listening
This is one of the best ways, other than chatting to your customer success team, to find out what your customers want. Either use the platforms’ social media analytics tools or a third party, to dive deep into the data shared. It will give you great insight into your community of customers.
5. Optimize for the device
Use data to know where your customers are visiting and converting, then make the experience seamless on that device. It’s important to be present in the platforms and channels where your customers hang out.
6. Use data for personalization
Your customers expect to only see content relevant to them. Use the customer data collected to personalize their experience. A customer data platform, like Ortto, can collect, collate and automatically update all your customer data. You can see a single view of your customer plus build an infinite amount of segmented audiences to provide the tailored experience to your users.
7. Make data driven decisions
Back up all your marketing decisions and choices with data, including content. The likes of A/B testing and customer data will shed more insight into what makes your customers convert or engage than you will ever think possible.
8. Learn about AI and machine learning in marketing
The future is now. If you haven’t read about the advantages of incorporating artificial intelligence or machine learning into your data-driven marketing strategy, then you need to start catching up today.
The final word
The time of going with your gut when generating marketing campaigns and content that you think will resonate, is over. Harness the power of a data-driven approach, and your customers’ experience will improve tenfold.
When data driven marketing is done correctly, not only will you save time and resources but you will also be able to predict the needs, wants and future behaviors of your customers. Keeping you one step ahead.