The data ship has long since sailed. Today data is everywhere. In fact, data has grown at such an exponential rate that it has forced marketers to forge new paths in how they leverage data as part of their marketing campaigns. However, there is so much data and so many options regarding what to collect and how to leverage it that many marketers simply don’t know where to begin to move towards true people-based marketing. Here are six critical steps for marketers to effectively leverage data in order to drive successful marketing campaigns that help brands reach their business objectives.
Set Measurable Goals
Surprisingly, the first step is the one that often gets the least amount of attention. Setting measurable campaign goals that are specific and well defined can be the lynchpin in your overall data strategy. Be as specific as possible in defining your success criteria (e.g., xx percent response rate and/or xx percent increase in revenue). If a longer-range goal like more brand awareness is an integral campaign goal, define what you want to accomplish within your campaign’s timeframe. It’s important to have a big vision, but figure out ways to deliver value that can be measured within this bigger goal.
Leverage Your Customer Data Wisely
Your own data is always your best data. At your fingertips, you have the names, contact information, and purchase histories of your customers to help you determine who to target in your marketing campaigns. Once you determine the best targets, remember that most customers today expect campaign messages to be customized to their own preferences, so a thorough understanding of your customers is critical to your success. For this reason, it’s important to know what data you are missing that might help you reach the most ideal prospects. After you analyze your transaction histories and determine your targets, you can build look-alike portraits of other prospects to target.
Accurately Recognize Customers Across Marketing Channels
The emergence of digital channels has made campaign planning more complex because it increased the types of data available to marketers. But it also underscored the necessity of recognizing consumers when they use various marketing channels. Getting an accurate, single cross-channel view of consumers is the foundation for leveraging effective data-driven marketing campaigns. Select a partner with an identity resolution solution that is integrated with a large number of channel partners to ensure it can help you recognize your customers, resolve duplicate records, correct customer portrait errors, and add missing information to incomplete portraits. After all, if you are planning to search for look-alike portraits for “Brandon Smith,” you’ll want to ensure you’ve got the right “Brandon Smith.” Last, but certainly not least, is the issue of data privacy. By not selecting a partner that builds in data protection and privacy, you’re putting your company at risk. Seek out a partner that makes the ethical use of data a top priority.
Leverage External Data To Help Find Ideal Campaign Targets
Marketers usually need additional data to find and target prospects that will respond to their marketing campaigns. Leveraging outside demographic and attitudinal marketing data is crucial for most effective marketing campaigns because it cuts costly outreach to consumers who won’t likely respond to your efforts while allowing you to focus on audiences that will be the most receptive. It also allows you to append different types of data to your records, perform analytics to build audience segments, and target those segments that contain your next cream-of-the-crop customers. The three most important attributes to look for when purchasing outside marketing data are accuracy, coverage and freshness.
Test Your Data
Marketing ROI is wholly dependent on the quality of the data and analytics used to define audiences. Upon setting specific campaign needs, it is important to find a trusted and established partner to help define your test audiences, test against various customer portraits and segments, and evaluate how they perform against your goals. Marketers can gain a competitive advantage in match rate, coverage and accuracy when they have access to data that goes beyond household-specific coverage and drives consumer-specific marketing. For example, honing in on consumer-specific age, education, occupation and political party will result in a much more targeted campaign than simply looking at household data. If the test campaign doesn’t garner the expected results, then work with your data partner to discover a new segment or channel that over-performs and will make your campaign a success.
Measure Your Campaign Across Channels
The way you measure your campaign is critical to improving the way you leverage data for future campaigns. For accurate measurement, it’s important that you have the right collection system in place to bring the data together on the back-end, but it’s often equally important to engage an identity resolution partner’s data systems for measurement purposes. You’ll want to ensure that you are able to measure not only who responds to your campaign but also the channel in which they responded. This will ensure that you are able to match results not only to specific overall goals but also to individual channels.
It’s likely that new digital channels will continue to emerge quickly in the coming years. This means another tidal wave of data will become available to marketers. To avoid running marketing campaigns that could be adrift in this sea of new data, it’s crucial for marketers to follow the necessary steps to effectively leverage data and navigate a successful future in the digital world.