We’ve considered how to choose good data in another post. Here, we look in more detail at what you need to do with your data if you want to turn it into strategy that will help grow your business. Having the data isn’t enough. You need to handle it well. Let’s look at the next phase of data-driven marketing.
1. Understand the challenge of data-driven marketing
If data-driven marketing is so great, why aren’t all businesses using it? Two reasons. Many people, especially in the creative industries, are a little afraid of data. There are a lot of numbers and graphs. It looks like math and math is boring. Some people prefer to trust in experience or instinct, which can be affected by mood and personality. Data doesn’t lie.
“Whether or not I like a piece of data has very little bearing on whether or not I am likely to accept it.” – Jordan Peterson
The second problem is that gathering, processing and interpreting data requires certain skills and tools that need to be integrated into a company’s existing systems. Data specialists are required to constantly update, monitor, understand and present the data from multiple sources that could include marketing, CRM, billing, customer service, social media, web analytics, competitor activity and shipping.
You can bring these skills and tools into your business, or you can outsource your data analysis to a partner such as Bucksense that has many years of experience doing the job for clients worldwide.
2. Acquire the tools
Around 54% of US companies rely on spreadsheets to manage their data. An Excel spreadsheet, however, isn’t sufficient to record and update large amounts of different data that could be changing hour-by-hour and showing patterns over a longer term. You need software tools that allow you to dig deeply into various types of data and deliver highly specific answers to your questions.
Good tools will allow you to connect different data sources then simply and clearly visualize the key metrics you really care about. For example, you may want to connect your marketing spend with your sales and returns, or your email marketing and SEO with your paid data to view all channels in one place.
It’s more than just having a Google Analytics dashboard. You’ll need to combine data from multiple sources and create outputs that can actually steer strategy. Your customer relationship management (CRM) will be key to informing and driving not only your social activity but also much of your marketing. With constantly refreshed data, you’ll create a feedback loop in which your CRM informs strategy, responds to new data then improves the strategy.
Again, you can invest in these tools and the people to manage them, or have a partner do the job for you. In many cases, a specialist like Bucksense has its own bespoke dashboards to combine and analyze data.
3. Establish the KPIs
The data is meaningless if you don’t know what you want it to tell you. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the measures you set to track your larger strategic goals. They tell you if you are failing or succeeding and your data holds the answers.
A business’ KPIs may vary according to its stage and size. Maybe you’re concerned with building an audience or product awareness. Other companies may measure performance by leads or conversions. In either case, an effective KPI should consider a specific period such as three or six months, after which the KPI could be abandoned, continued or modified. An actionable KPI should also be specifically something you can improve: not “More success!” but “1000 more followers by December.”
There are many possible KPIs you could choose, but they may include:
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Conversion rate
- Keyword rankings
- ·Bounce rate
- Likes, comments, and shares
- Web or social traffic
- Cost-per-click (CPC)
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Email signup rate
- Bounce rate
Learn more about KPIs here.
Once you’ve established KPIs and have access to the right tools to manage your data, you can begin to start reaping the benefits of data-driven marketing. What are they? Check out the next article in this series!