There was a time when data-driven marketing was a unique and uncommon approach to business growth. Only the most innovative marketers used data to guide marketing strategy and connect with buyers. Now, data-driven marketing strategies are the norm, not the exception . . . and for good reason. What marketer would choose to devise a strategy based on subjective theory when they have objective facts right at their fingertips? And as technology becomes more accessible, you can no longer afford to be the one company in your industry to neglect data.

What Is Data Driven Marketing?

Thanks to data, businesses now have clearer-than-ever insights into customer behavior. By reviewing analytics including social media activity, buying trends, sales, and website visits, you can learn almost everything about your customers’ journey from awareness to conversion. Data reveals the best methods and platforms for reaching customers. Data communicates your buyers’ values, priorities, and interests. Perhaps most importantly, data is your immediate window into what works and what doesn’t. You can measure the effectiveness of a marketing strategy in real time and switch course immediately.

Advancements in data and marketing technology have also made it easier to put all this information to work for your business. The greatest payoff in marketing technology growth is probably the rise of automation. Not only do we as human beings have the ability to adapt according to customer data, but with the right systems in place, AI can step in and take even more work off your plate. Automated systems observe and respond to customer behaviors, retargeting potential buyers who have interacted with your brand.

For business owners who are new to data, the world of analytics and automation can be overwhelming at first. If this is you, know you’re not alone. 81% of marketers admit that implementing a data-driven strategy is extremely challenging. Regardless, you can’t afford to sit on the sidelines. At present, 64% of marketers say data-driven marketing is critical to succeeding in a competitive marketplace, and that number is only going to increase as time goes on and technology becomes more accessible. By 2020, data production is projected to be 44 times greater than what it was in 2009.

Data isn’t going anywhere, which means adopting a data-driven marketing strategy is quickly becoming a non-negotiable for all businesses, including yours. Here’s a quick of overview of what to expect—benefits, pitfalls, and solutions—as you delve into the world of data marketing.

Benefits of Data-Driven Marketing

Better Digital Audience Insights

Data takes all the guesswork out of refining your marketing strategies to better connect with buyers. Analytics are your window into prospective customers’ spending habits, demographics, passions, and values. You can find out where your prospects live in the real world and where they spend their time in the digital world. You can keep track of the influencers they follow, the brands and products they already love, and the type of content they engage with most.

No focus groups. No customer surveys. Just immediate information to help you tailor the most effective marketing strategy your business has ever implemented.

Personalized Marketing

Data and automation allow you to not only target the right audience, but also target the right individuals in the right way at each moment in the customer journey. Once you (or an automated system) know a buyer has engaged with awareness and, you can guide that individual through the marketing journey with increasingly customized consideration and conversion ads. The value of data extends beyond simply advertising to the right people. It’s a tool for building a gradual, organic relationship between a buyer and your brand.

Excellent Customer Experience

Your customers’ expectations are changing. As more and more brands tailor marketing for customer enjoyment, buyers place increasing value on the overall customer experience. In fact, Walker projects that by 2020, customer experience will become the key brand differentiator, overtaking both price and product. Moreover, a study done by Deloitte finds that purchase decisions are driven by a buyer’s overall enjoyment of the brand experience.  

What does this have to do with data? Well, data gives you a clearer picture of how your prospective buyers engage with digital content. It also shows you what matters most to them and where their interests lie. Armed with these insights, you can ensure a stellar customer experience tailored to your buyers.

Clear Cut Customer Segments

With the help of data, you can define customer segments and target audiences with more accuracy and specificity than ever before. You no longer have to make educated guesses about your audience—the information is right in front of you, from income levels to favorite movies. This data is especially meaningful in developing customer personas to inspire and drive your marketing efforts.

Cross-Selling & Up-Selling

The same way that data can help you connect with the right customers, it can also help you recognize more opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell buyers who already engage with your brand. Data reveals opportunities to sell products to specific customers with greater frequency. It identifies demographics that would be receptive to specific campaigns and promotions. It also illuminates opportunities to connect with buyers’ needs more quickly so you can move them through the sales funnel more efficiently.

Finding the Right Data-Driven Marketing Company

As beneficial as data is, there is no denying that data management is extremely difficult. Even if you as a business owner are great with technology, you still do not have the time to truly make the most of the data available to you. This means you need a team, and as with any team, there are some challenges to assembling the right kind of data marketing talent. Because this field is so specialized, you need to find true experts in unique areas, including predictive analysis and data science. And as someone who already manages a team, you know finding experts isn’t enough. Your team needs to be a cooperative, cohesive unit who shares company values.

Departmental Silos

The more you make data part of your marketing strategy, the more you find that data is a meaningful tool for every department within your business. This is primarily a benefit. However, every new asset comes with the potential for new conflict between departments if the various professionals in your organization have conflicting goals for using that asset. In other words, introducing data to the overall processes of your business requires additional clarity and organization among all professionals within your company.

The Risk of Poor Data Quality

Not all data is good data. In fact, according to ZoomInfo and Ascend2, 64% of “very successful” data-driven marketers indicated that data quality was a significant challenge when it came to achieving personalization. Inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated data can actually drive your business further away from your target audience and sales goals. This is why an expert data team is so essential to every business hoping to grow in the digital age.

Bottom Line: Is Data-Driven Marketing Right for Your Business?

Short answer: Yes. You cannot compete in the digital world without a data-driven marketing strategy. In fact, as more and more brand discovery and buying happens online, your odds of competing in any world without a data-driven strategy look bleak.

That said, it’s perfectly normal to feel lost in the world of data. Most business owners do. This is why it’s so essential to find the right digital marketing team to collect and implement data. Done correctly, data-driven strategies help you allocate your marketing funds more wisely, optimizing your ROI and helping your business grow faster than it ever has before. Even if you feel overwhelmed pursuing a data-driven strategy today, trust that it will pay off in the long run. As technology continues to evolve and more of your competitors get onboard with data, you’ll be glad you took the time to fight for you place at the head of the pack.

If there’s anything we can do to help you make sense of the complicated world of data, contact us here. We’re always here to support you in your journey.