Three simple steps to incorporate data into your marketing strategy

Marketing | Sectors   |   
Published September 12, 2014   |   

Data is definitely a game-changer. It opens up newer opportunities for letting you save money, save time or make more money. Effective use of data can aid in decision-making or help optimizing processes for leveraging your resources to their maximum. Big data and other forms of data-related tools such as visualization, data mining, data analytics, data integration etc. have revolutionized many sectors.

Right from operations, research, management, tech, marketing to retail, banking, advertising, and industrial automation – the list is endless. Big data efforts have indeed started showing results, coming a long way from being called ‘hype’ just some time ago. In fact, a study of global companies conducted by TCS suggests that 80% of companies have improved their decision making as a result of utilizing big data.

But does that mean you should also be ‘in’? Our answer to that might seem obvious by now, but how to get started? Using data in marketing is probably your best bet as the expected returns there can be the highest. In order to incorporate data effectively into your company’s marketing strategy, it’s important to understand that data in marketing essentially implies that the disciplines of management, marketing and IT need to be aligned with one another. This requires a strong organizational will, and top-down directives won’t be of much help.

Data-driven marketing enables companies to engage their users through multiple channels, and offer targeted and personalized messages. The end result? Better brand recall and enhanced brand perception, in turn resulting in improved sales figures.

Data-driven marketing can also aid in achieving superior customer experience and support through real-time responses, and even for occasionally wowing your customers by predicting what they might be looking for. Digital data provide useful insights into the customers’ buying journey, starting from generation of interest to evaluation of alternatives, selection, and the final purchase.

This knowledge can help marketers in ironing out any hiccups on the way to a customer’s purchase decision. It also tells them when the customer is most vulnerable to be influenced – which can be used in inciting them into making a purchase through the right offer, delivered via the right communication channel. Here’s how to make the right use of data for marketing:

1. Break data silos

To start off, dig up and aggregate every tiny bit of information that you have on your own customers – information collected through various touch points in the form of POS records, purchase history, in-store buying behavior, support requests, website logs, mail reports, feedback forms etc. It’s important to combine online with offline for a more holistic picture. Thus, the data will usually come from different departments which makes it all the more important to collaborate for breaking any ‘data silos’ that may exist. The end goal: gaining a crystal-clear perspective on who your customers really are – so that you can answer the question – what are they looking for?

2. Leverage the data

Once you have the right amount of information on who your customers are and what they want, dig in much deeper to discover the hidden, non-obvious insights – aka the ‘areas of improvement’. Visualization of data can help to do precisely that. Once you’ve got these areas of improvement figured out and taken care of, move towards making your data actionable.

3. Make data actionable

There’s no point in having a lot of data, but still being clueless as to how you can turn it into revenues. Data in real time is the answer: what if you could send a mail to a shopper who just abandoned their cart, making her an irresistible offer? Imagine doing that for every visitor who couldn’t finish the purchase process. You know who your customers are and what interests them, and you’ve now made them an offer they just can’t refuse – that too through a channel that they’re most receptive to. How much additional revenue could that bring in?

Actionable data shouldn’t be restricted only to marketing – share the insights with other key functions like sales, product, customer service etc. for overall positive customer experience.

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