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Data, data everywhere! Why (nearly) all your marketing decisions should be data driven

Data is everywhere.

Seriously, it’s everywhere!

You can’t escape it no matter how hard you try, everywhere you look there’s data.

Analytics are everywhere, especially when it comes to marketing.

So why oh why do so very few people use that data effectively?

Data-driven marketing can help you build successful marketing strategies and better connect with target audiences 

That’s why data is at the core of our growth marketing methodology.

Marketing is creative – sort of

People don’t usually think of marketing as number crunching.

They think of it as a creative exercise.

And they’re right.

Marketing is creative.

All that content, all those ideas, all those videos and graphics and writing are all very creative.

And so they should be.

But marketing should also be a number crunching exercise.

Or more accurately you should crunch the numbers to see what’s working and what’s not.

Why data matters

How do you know what works and what doesn’t? The results.

So, first,  you need to know what results you have to work with.

Then you have an idea of what to do.

When it comes to marketing analysing your data should be the first thing you do.

It should become your compass, your GPS, and the best way to find out where you want to go.

Otherwise, you would just be stumbling around lost with no idea where you are, who you are and where you are going next. 

ROI is King AND Queen!

When it comes to data driven marketing the main piece of data that you will need to focus on is ROI.

Using the return on investment as the main metric which you base your campaigns on is a great starting place.

At the end of the day, you should optimise for this metric wherever possible.

I know, I know, that is a very broad sweeping generalisation which won’t fit everyone, but if you’re stuck then looking at how much you’re investing and how much you’re getting back from it is a good start.

However, the main point I would like to propose is that you adjust the acronym to better fit the growth marketing method.

ROI = Results of Investment

It’s a subtle difference but this metric (IMHO) combines;

  • Number of results
  • How much you made from those results
  • How much you made compared to what you invested

Yes, that would typically describe Return on Investment but that only really comprises the last two points.

That first point however is equally as important. What are your results? How did you get to them? 

Measuring the data along this path, and seeing the numbers climb gives you a much better barometer of success.

Beware the traps

Before you completely dive into the deep end however I want you to take a step back for a moment and think carefully about what data-driven means.

It means that you carefully analyse the data and make decisions based off of that.

It does mean you can get caught up in two traps – analysis paralysis and data reliance.

First up – Analysis Paralysis.

This is a common one, particularly for the perfectionists out there amongst you.

You look at the sea, the oceans of data, and you become overwhelmed with analysing it, never taking the risks to step forward and achieve progress. You effectively stay exactly where you are.

It happens a lot.

Secondly – Data Reliance

Or more accurately misplaced data reliance.

I see a lot of people focus on the wrong metrics or worse the wrong metrics that aren’t set up and measured properly.

This can cause a complete and utter failure in marketing campaigns. 

Poor-quality data will form an inaccurate or outdated picture of the customer. Make sure that the data is accurate, timely, complete, and properly represents your target audience.

What’s the difference between data-driven and traditional?

Traditional marketing is often based on guesswork and creativity. Oh and a healthy dose of throwing money at a problem more often than not. 

Traditional usually includes billboards, flyers/posters, magazine/TV advertisements, and direct mail. 

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these approaches. They work, and they work really well. Otherwise, it would have died out years ago. 

They are really good at reaching a fantastically huge audience in the hopes of finding interest among the masses.

The problem is that they are usually based on instincts and feelings, relying more on Mad Men like creativity and experience but little data. What’s more, is that you don’t really get any data back from these campaigns. 

Educated guesswork as well as trial and error are still very important in achieving success but, without the corresponding data, you are usually throwing more money at the problem to make sure you solve it. 

Data-driven marketing is a modern solution. We live in an age now of 1001 different analytics, trackers, platforms and more that offer valuable insights that weren’t available in the past. 

We can now better understand customer behaviours, their purchasing history, and more.

With all of this data and careful effective analysis, you can understand the customer, their needs, their journey, their pain points, and so much more. From that, you can then create timely, personalised, targeted, and effective strategies.

A data-driven approach with an understanding of the full lifecycle/funnel of the customer journey creates more leads, more opportunities to get leads, more conversions, greater customer acquisition, and even better customer service.

And where does all of that eventually lead to? A wonderful ROI. In fact, you can increase your ROI exponentially if you understand your data better and make strategic adjustments based on it.

Adobe has even stated that the average ROI of a data-driven marketing campaign is about five to one. Personally, I think that’s a little modest compared to some exceptional case studies I am aware of.

Wrapping Up

We are swimming in oceans of data. There are more platforms than you can possibly imagine and with that, you have the ability to build effective strategies that work!

If you are just collecting data and then not analysing or using it then you are not only leaving money on the table but are actively throwing it away!