Long gone are the days of marketing and advertising strictly being a game of pulling the heartstrings of potential customers. Every year, as more data technologies emerge, marketing strategies become more and more based on the quantifiable rather than the qualitative.
But with so many metrics, numbers, and stats available on many apps, websites, and tools, it can be overwhelming to determine what’s important and what is just noise.
And it’s not just the amount of data available that can bog down a skilled marketer; it’s knowing what to do once you have your marketing data.
But before you get overwhelmed by a mountain of metrics and the ensuing decisions, let’s take a few steps back and zen out. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine a clean, white spreadsheet titled 2023. It’s a new year, an opportunity to set your marketing data up to help you make more informed decisions.
In the same way, there’s a large distance between laying a foundation for a house and throwing a housewarming party; there’s a large gulf between data and making profitable data-driven marketing decisions. Without a good foundation, your guests (or customers) will fall between the cracks.
Here’s how to set up your marketing analytics so you can make data-driven decisions that improve your business in 2023.
Is My Data Clean?
The best way to begin building your foundation is to determine whether the data you have is trustworthy. In other words – is your data clean?
Like a college student inviting a special someone over to their dorm and kicking pizza boxes under the bed, you may ask what exactly defines “clean.”
According to Wikipedia, there are five characteristics of clean data:
- Validity – “the degree to which the measures conform to defined business rules or constraints.” Are your contact’s emails real email addresses?
- Accuracy – “the degree of conformity of a measure to a standard or a true value.” Even Wikipedia admits accuracy is difficult to achieve when cleaning data. Is your contact’s email address actually their email address – or did they enter something like Lebron@LALakers.com to get a quick download? To double-check, you could build an email campaign asking your contacts whether they would like to confirm their contact information.
- Completeness – “the degree to which all required measures are known.” You need email addresses to build an email campaign. This is largely dependent on which type of marketing tactics you are performing. Which information do you need to reach your target audience, then find out if you have it. Are you missing the @ portion of a contact’s email address? Then your data is considered incomplete.
- Consistency – “the degree to which a set of measures are equivalent across systems.” If you store customer information in one database, but the same contact’s email address appears differently in another, your data is inconsistent.
- Uniformity – “the degree to which a set data measures are specified using the same units of measure in all systems.” If your contact’s contract details are recorded in USD while others are in EUR, then your data is not completely uniform.
You might’ve noticed that all of these definitions use the word “degree.” Just like some dorm rooms are “pretty clean” and some are “uninhabitable,” it’s ultimately up to you to determine if your data is clean enough to be helpful. Consider how it’s being used and whether the information you have matches its intended purpose.
Performing a Data Audit
Once you grasp the five characteristics of clean data, it may be in your best interest to perform a data audit. That might sound like the most unenjoyable way to spend a Tuesday, but it’s important to take a measured and detail-oriented approach to clean data.
The Office of the Data Protection Authority, a non-profit based in Bailiwick of Guernsey of all places, has a super concise outline for carrying out a data audit. While we’re not sure if Bailiwick of Guernsey is the island capital of data or not, their audit is simple, comprehensive, and walks you through step by step.
And as data privacy laws continue to tighten, it’s important to ensure your data is clean and abiding by laws and regulations.
This guide at termsfeed.com covers how to conduct an audit that will comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Also, here’s a guide to Data Privacy and Compliance for Marketers from Improvado.
Data privacy laws and regulations are intimidating, but modern marketing platforms like HubSpot make it easy to follow regulations.
How to Incorporate Data Into Your Marketing
With good, clean data, your company can take a scientific approach to its marketing decisions rather than basing decisions on gut feeling or simply doing it “the way we’ve always done it.” You’ve laid your foundation; it’s time to start building some inviting rooms.
So, what are some of the best ways to put your marketing data to use?
Personalizing Customer Experience
Maybe the biggest upside of incorporating data into your marketing strategy is personalizing your prospect’s customer experience. The more you know about who you’re marketing to, the more effectively you’ll be able to customize their journey and help solve their problems.
This is especially relevant when building content. For example, imagine you work for a PC company and gain someone’s contact data by offering a free download of a whitepaper titled The Ultimate Guide to Building a Powerful Gaming PC. Now, you know this contact is more likely to engage with an email campaign built around a promotion for top-of-the-line PC parts but less likely to open an email for budget laptops.
One of the most simple and effective examples of a personalized customer experience is email. When a contact provides you with their name and agrees to receive marketing emails from your company, you can use marketing platforms, like HubSpot, to automatically insert the names of each contact in the subject line or message of your email, which makes for some eye-grabbing content. According to Yes Lifecycle Marketing, emails with personalized subject lines generate 50% higher open rates. How’s that for data?
There are endless ways to make your lead or customer’s experience feel exclusively built for them, all of which stem from collecting quality data and creating data-driven marketing strategies.
Proving Return on Investment
One of the biggest challenges marketers face is showing leadership that their marketing endeavors are worth the cost. While some of the most valuable aspects of marketing, such as branding, can’t necessarily be tied directly to an increase in revenue, many digital marketing tactics can be.
If you’re utilizing PPC ads, social ads, or email marketing, you can access hard data like cost per lead or conversion. Combine this with your marketing team’s time managing these operations, and you have a good idea of whether you’re getting a worthy return on investment.
Drive More Qualified Website Traffic
With Google Analytics, you can see which search engine keywords are bringing visitors to your website. Alternatively, it can show you which keywords aren’t bringing visitors to your website and use that to identify areas ripe for improvement.
Once visitors are at your website, Hotjar can show you exactly how visitors are navigating and what they’re interacting with.
This data can inform which type of content you need to improve SEO and which pages need to be addressed to improve the user experience.
Evaluate Just About Everything
While a lot of marketing work is creative by nature, incorporating data gives businesses a way to evaluate almost any digital marketing strategy objectively. And the new year, when fresh starts just feel right, is the perfect opportunity to embrace a more data-driven approach to your marketing.
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