A data-driven marketing strategy is the only way to reach customers, stay competitive, and tell brand stories that others will care about.
Why this matters:
Today, brands and marketing teams need to strive to build a memorable customer experience, and the first step is creating relevant content. This post will explore how data-driven marketing can help you better understand your customer and inform your content programs.
Forrester’s 2022 B2B Marketing Survey revealed that 51% of brands that grew annual revenue by over 20% in 2021 invested a higher percentage in their marketing organization. These companies get it. Understanding your target audience is essential to any successful content marketing campaign or digital marketing strategy.
However, guessing who your customers are won’t cut it, and hoping will never be a viable marketing solution. Instead, customer data will always be the fuel that powers the performance of your programs and campaigns, helping you make smarter marketing decisions. With data-driven marketing, you can take a more scientific approach to everything you put into the marketplace.
Customer data is a potent tool for informing content strategy. It gives you an idea of what your customers care about, what they are searching for on Google, what they say on social channels, and which channels they spend most of their time on. If you know the trends that matter most to your target audience, you can create content around those areas, making it more likely to have a business impact.
The primary purpose of data-driven marketing is to save time by validating your work and finding white space in the market.
What is Data-Driven Marketing?
Data-driven marketing is extracting actionable insights from data sources and then using these insights to inform a digital marketing program. So let’s break that down to understand the term:
You are extracting insights from data: Understanding actionable information and how it can improve your marketing and advertising strategy. This can include basic demographics, the customer journey on our website, or the conversations happening on social. The key is to ensure that your marketing efforts are based on data and customer insights.
Digital marketing: These are all the programs in marketing and can include marketing tactics like demand generation marketing, email marketing, sales enablement, public relations, customer engagement, ABM, paid search, display advertising, content, creative approach, and B2B social media programs.
The Altimeter Report asked a question about data-driven marketing, “What sources of marketing data do you use to create content?” The answers were all over the place. But the good news is that marketers use data to inform campaigns, messaging, advertising, and other digital marketing efforts.
- 63% of the respondents use website analytics to inform content
- 59% of the respondents are using social media metrics to inform content
- 58% of the respondents use customer surveys and primary research to inform content
- 49% of the respondents use social customer service or call center records to inform content
- 48% of the respondents use CRM systems to inform content
- 23% of respondents use data from third-party providers to inform content
The information in this report is fascinating on so many levels regarding data-driven marketing. Marketers using data is a good sign of what’s to come, especially when marketers can align marketing messages with customers’ unmet needs. I am curious, however, how many marketers are learning to measure content marketing performance using this same type of customer data. Time will tell.
Using Web Analytics to Inform Data-Driven Marketing
Using Google Analytics or other website analytics platforms like Adobe Experience Cloud is an excellent data source for content marketing and building a content strategy for your brand. Google Analytics provides valuable consumer insights on user behavior, engagement on specific web properties, page views, abandon rates, and monthly website visitors.
The website data also gives marketers critical insights into the top-performing content that web visitors prefer based on time spent on the site. Advanced marketing teams create personalized customer experiences based on the landing pages consumers are landing on after clicking on advertising and paid search ads. Additionally, they provide interest-based insights based on users’ search behavior and the websites they have spent time on before being on yours.
The number of data marketers can use to engage with existing users and acquire new customers is mind-blowing. These types of data insights allow marketers to create data-driven content programs.
Making Big Data Small Using Social Media Analytics
Pulling customer data from existing social media platforms is table stakes for companies across all sectors. Marketers must learn how to leverage these tools for social media data collection, data management, and, more importantly, to inform their data-driven marketing strategies.
The challenge with pulling this type of data is too much of it. Big data as a concept is overwhelming. Marketers are so busy that they don’t have time to manage large analytics programs and extract customer data.
The good news is that most publishing platforms like Sprinklr, Sprout Social, or Khoros can cluster and isolate data in a very consumable way. Using social analytics to understand your customers and audiences is not as complicated as you think.
Data-driven marketing has never been this easy. By publishing content and tracking the post copy, creative, and audiences if you’re using paid, you can start to piece together what type of content, narrative, and story angles genuinely resonate with your target audience.
Using Primary Research to Inform a Marketing Campaign
One of the benefits of using primary research is that you can ask very focused questions to consumers about their interests, behaviors, values, where they shop, their favorite brand, and so on.
You can do the same for a business audience as well. For example, you can survey a panel of software developers to understand their software languages better when developing apps or code or which platforms they prefer to build code on. You can also ask more personal questions, like which streaming apps they use to listen to music.
Based on the data, you can create a B2B content strategy with targeted marketing messages tailored to this audience’s interests, preferences, and characteristics. You can also combine primary research with social and website analytics to validate those answers and provide additional insights for your data-driven marketing efforts.
Another example is surveying the same developer audience to see which content they prefer to consume when researching information. For example, do they like social media? Or do they want to spend time on Reddit or Github forums, or are they open to downloading white papers or e-books to access the information they seek? Again, this type of customer data is golden for marketing campaigns.
Can Customer Service Inform Data-Driven Marketing Strategies?
Years ago, I had to figure out how to reset my iPhone 4 hard. So I went to Google and typed “how to reset iPhone 4”. I found verbatim search results that linked me directly to Apple’s social community. I had the answer I was looking for within less than 30 seconds.
Imagine pulling up the transcripts from every customer who calls into customer support, asks a question in a community, or interacts with a chatbot on the website—and then using those transcripts to create long-form content with that exact language on the blog or a new thread in the customer support community.
This is an example that is much bigger than just data-driven marketing. This starts to hit on cost savings by decreasing calls to the call center and building visibility for your website in the search results. This is also a way to build brand advocacy with consumers. However, to make this happen, brands need to think about their content operations and build workflows to ensure that response times are handled efficiently.
Using Audience Data from 3rd Party Databases
It’s unclear in the Altimeter study what they mean by third-party databases.
I hope they refer to audience analytics platforms like Audiense, Affinio, Helix, or other Brandwatch alternatives. Sadly according to the Altimeter Study, only 23% use social data of this type to inform content. As much as I am disappointed in the report, I see it as an opportunity. If you work in marketing, PR, or other communications function, I would suggest understanding audience analysis to know how to use this data to fuel your new marketing campaigns.
Using Data to Improve the Customer Experience
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand, your end goal is to provide a positive customer experience. You can ensure your content aligns with consumer insights and delivers business value.
Below are three reasons why data-driven marketing is so vital in the modern world, where technology makes it easy for marketers and advertisers to collect data:
- Data-driven marketing can help you create relevant content for your audience. For example, knowing the customer’s interests, you can tailor landing pages and ad copy that speaks directly to those needs. Ad formats like video or native ads can also better engage customers on social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Instagram.
- Data helps you find the white space in the market by helping you understand what your customers want or need. You can also use analytics to create content that will become a leader in your industry for years because it effectively solves customer problems.
- Content is only one aspect of your overall digital marketing strategy. Data-driven marketing will also help you improve your paid search, public relations, and customer engagement efforts because it enables you to measure the most effective from a return on investment perspective.
Speed to Insight Should Drive Data-Driven Marketing Campaigns
One of the advantages of data-driven marketing is that you can get insights quickly and act on them. That’s why it’s essential to have a process in place so you can make decisions quickly and improve your campaigns in real-time.
For example, suppose you are using audience analytics data to determine which content creates the most engagement, clicks, conversions, or impressions. In that case, you can use that information to make more of the same types of content across other channels. Likewise, if you are using customer data to understand how customers interact with your website, you can use that information to improve the customer experience.
As you can see, data-driven marketing is vital to any successful digital marketing strategy. By understanding your audience and using data to make decisions quickly, you can improve your marketing campaigns and create a better customer experience.
Q: How do I use data to improve my website?
A: You can use data to understand how customers interact with your website. This information can help you improve the customer experience. For example, you can use data to determine which pages are most popular, how long customers stay on each page, and what actions they take on the website.
Q: What is the best way to use data to improve my marketing programs?
A: You should use data to understand your audience, find the white space in the market, and measure what is most effective from a return on investment perspective. This information will help you create relevant content and improve your paid search, public relations, and customer engagement efforts.
Q: What is data management?
A: Data management is organizing and managing data so you can use it to make decisions quickly. This includes collecting data, analyzing it, and taking action on the insights you gain. Data management is essential for data-driven marketing.