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Data‑Driven Marketing: How To Get Started

Many business owners know the value of data, even if they can’t put a number on it. Data—whether it’s about what customers are purchasing, how they are shopping, or what they’re talking about on social media—is valuable. It can help to shape what a company produces or markets.

Data should play a big role in every marketing decision a company makes, especially when every advertising dollar counts. Data-driven marketing creates an opportunity for each marketing campaign to deliver a higher return on investment (ROI).

Why does data marketing matter so much? Marketing, in general, has changed over the last decade. It’s no longer good enough to have a great idea, as old advertising agencies counted on. A hunch or a gut feeling just isn’t enough to help make big waves in sales. However, by applying all of the data that’s out there to create a strategy, it’s possible to produce much more relevant, effective, and valuable marketing campaigns.

It’s hard to believe that data can make this big of a difference. Yet, it’s been proven time and time again over the years. See for yourself by learning more about how you can leverage data-driven marketing in this guide.

What is Data-Driven Marketing?

The big question many have is, “what is data-driven marketing?”. The short answer is it’s a form of marketing that relies on customer information or data to establish a marketing campaign. By using customer data, it is possible to predict the needs of customers as well as their desires and the types of behaviors they’re likely to engage in, including what they may purchase. By tapping into data, it’s possible to create more personalized marketing strategies that achieve the highest level of ROI.

A good way to understand how data-driven marketing works is by considering how it differs from traditional methods. Traditionally, marketing has two goals. The first is to determine what a customer’s needs are. Then, marketing uses that information to deliver what the customer needs in the best manner possible.

Illustration of a desktop computer, keyboard, and mouse accompanied by a bulleted list of text that reads, “How Can Marketers Collect Data? Focus groups, Market studies, Website analytics, Questionnaires, Social media analytics”.

That means marketers spend time understanding who their most likely buyers or target audience is. They then try to determine what those customers’ needs are before creating marketing strategies that help to fulfill those needs or solve the customers’ problems. To do this, traditional marketing typically uses available case studies and, often, assumptions or guesses.

By contrast, data-driven marketing cuts out a lot of the guesswork and uses data to better understand customers. This often leads to numerous benefits.

Benefits of Data-Driven Marketing

Data marketing empowers marketing teams to make better decisions about how to advertise and reach customers as well as how to allocate marketing spend. In doing so, companies see better results and oftentimes faster results as well. Having a data-driven marketing strategy created professionally can yield results that help your company make the most of your marketing campaigns.

Here are some of the key benefits of data-driven marketing:

Find Your Target Audience

Do you know who your most likely buyer is? Most companies believe they know their buyer. Yet, with real data on customer behavior, you’ll be sure of it. Data allows for the creation of a detailed buyer persona. That means, as a business, you can put more of your money towards the people most likely to buy from you. Creating a clear picture of your prospective buyers allows for the creation of very targeted marketing.

By having this type of information, marketing teams can create ads and complete audience segmentation. That means they can deliver highly personalized ads to customers. Data then enables the creation of ads specifically able to reach the right people at the right time and with a message they are much more likely to respond to.

Businesses can then create separate ads for each group of people based on that data. For example, while one of your customers may be looking for a low cost, the other may be after the best product on the market. Audience segmentation of ads can help you achieve consistently better results.

Get Higher Conversions

What happens when you have a data-driven marketing strategy like this? People who receive those ads are better able to make a buying decision. That means these ads can often help you get higher conversions.

Imagine sending an email about your product to your customer base. How many will open that email if it is a generic message sent to thousands of leads? A small fraction of them will open it. However, if that email contains information that is specifically relevant to the segment that customer belongs to, they’re more likely to open it.

Putting the right product in front of the buyer with a well-crafted message is key to conversions, especially when it is done at the right point in the customer journey.

Illustration of an upward-trending bar graph with text that reads, “Data-driven marketing strategies can ^ conversions.”

Strengthen Your Brand

Giving people what they need when they need it makes your company the hero. Customers use your product, get results, and think highly of it. They recommend it to their friends. They may even buy again. With data-driven marketing, you’re catering to your customers’ needs, increasing customer satisfaction and solidifying a positive association.

With data-driven marketing strategies, you can build a loyal customer base that comes back time and time again. That makes your ROI even better.

Create a Data-Driven Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps

To get this process started, marketers need to develop a plan that allows them to gather data and apply it to their business. Developing a data-driven marketing strategy requires several key steps:

1. Collect Data

The first step is the hardest part. It is also, by far, the most important step. The core of this form of marketing is collecting information that’s applicable to your target audience. Where does this data come from? It needs to come from multiple sources.

Focus groups are a common option. They allow people from various walks of life to share information and opinions on valuable topics. Market studies conducted by specialized firms can also provide information, including very targeted data for your customer base.

You can also use web analytics to gather insight into what customers are looking for online and how they are navigating getting to their solution to fill their needs. It’s possible to poll customers through questionnaires to gather data, too. Social media research can also yield a large, valuable set of data if your target customers are using these platforms. Each and every one of these and any other credible source of data can be useful.

2. Find the Right Marketing Channels

The next step in the process is to determine where you should market. Where are your customers most likely to be? You want to identify the channels your customers use most frequently and then increase your presence there.

It is necessary to use multichannel marketing, which means spreading your marketing across all the main channels your customers are on. With some market research and analysis, you can learn which social media platforms your target demographic or customer base are on, so you can focus your ad spend where they’ll actually see them.

3. Create Personalized Ads

As noted, a key benefit to data marketing is the ability to create highly targeted ads that your specific customers will respond to when they see them. It’s not about creating one ad that everyone will see. Rather, you’ll create unique, carefully crafted ads for each segment of your customer base.

You should have buyer personas that outline who your customer is in detail. Using that information, you can segment your customers into various groups by what their pain points are, their interests, and other defining factors that will help you tailor the perfect messaging.

Each customer segment then gets a specialized ad to target their specific needs. The result should be higher conversion rates and happier customers.

Illustration of a stack of paper with an exclamation mark in a speech bubble accompanied by a bulleted list of text that reads, “A content strategy can include: Social media, PPC ads, Email marketing, Blog posts, and more.”

4. Develop a Content Strategy

Next, it’s necessary to create content and advertising for the various channels you’ll use. That includes the use of informative blog posts that provide more long-form content with more insight and a more thorough explanation.

You can also use social media ads and PPC ads that are placed in front of your customers while they are online. These are shorter, straight-to-the-point types of ads that get people to react quickly, often while they are looking for what you can offer to them. You should also use email marketing as a way to get customers to keep customers engaged and to drive future purchases.

How will you manage it all? Using a content calendar, including a social media calendar, allows you to create a steady flow of content that’s presented in a meaningful way in front of your customers. You also use tools like Mailchimp to manage your social media channels, email marketing efforts, and content in one place.

When creating a content plan, there are various strategies in terms of what to focus on. For example, the Rule of Thirds states that a third of your content pieces should be for promotion, a third should be personal, and a third should be for curation. The core goal is just to get out in front of your customers frequently and build familiarity.

5. Refine Your Brand

The final step is to refine your brand. With more data and insights into who your customers are, that’s easier to do. You have a better understanding of your target audience’s interests. You know what they need and want from a product or service. Use this information, then, to refine your brand. That way, your offering is appealing to your customers. This, in the long term, also builds loyalty and brand recognition.

It Starts with the Right Tools

Data marketing is powerful. However, marketing teams need the right tools to help you collect customer data, analyze your findings, and efficiently put them into action. Mailchimp can do just that through highly effective tools built for successful data-driven marketing strategies. Learn more about how Mailchimp is helping companies of all sizes to capture leads with more personalized ads.

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