The Benefits of Data Driven Marketing
I create content, publications and adverts for Wired Plus. When I’m not writing, reading or blogging I enjoy road running.
Reading Time: 10 minutes
What’s all the hype about Data Driven Marketing?
Have you heard of ‘data driven marketing’? Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, we’re sure you have.
Data driven marketing became popular because it allows you to make the right decisions based on real world information.
This removes the need for guesswork within marketing strategy. Sometimes gut feel produces results but hard data never lies.
We often hear people talking about big data and its relation to using a data driven marketing approach.
The truth is that there is no such thing as big data. It’s just data! It only ever was. IBM define big data as:
‘Big data is a term applied to data sets whose size or type is beyond the ability of traditional relational databases to capture, manage, and process the data with low-latency. And it has one or more of the following characteristics – high volume, high velocity, or high variety.’
If your data set is too large for a traditional relational database you are likely to need a CRM to manage and process the data. More about that later.
Removing Guesswork With Data Driven Marketing
Marketers rely on their gut instinct to guide their campaigns. This is usually nothing more than some guesswork. We have all done it at some point. It’s quick and easy but it’s not always effective.
A data driven approach achieves results because real people, their opinions, and their behaviours are measured and analysed. There’s no doubt or chance involved.
Companies can spot new opportunities from marketing insights that gut feeling can’t. We’re not saying don’t trust your gut, but let your gut instinct be influenced by the data too. Your business can then take your future campaigns to the next level.
Looking into all the data you hold about your customers can be daunting. Most companies store a wealth of data about their contacts. Finding out how best to use the data is a challenge but is hugely beneficial when done correctly.
Businesses and their customers can gain a lot from data driven marketing strategies. You can benefit from using a data driven marketing strategy in a number of ways, including:
- Personalised marketing
- Clarity of messaging
- Omni-channel experience
- Improved customer experience
- Improved product development
We’ll take each one in turn:
Have you ever received a marketing email that seems to speak to you as an individual? It’s a great feeling and personalisation is responsible.
But before you can create personalised emails, you need to get to know your contacts. The easiest way to do this is to collect and review your customer data using a Marketing CRM.
A Customer Relationship Management system gives you the tools you need to identify key trends in your data.
Putting your contact’s first name in the subject line is a great start, but it doesn’t make the most of the most cutting edge techniques such as dynamic content or browse abandonment.
You can use the data in a much more intelligent way with just a little more effort. Many advanced personalisation techniques now exist which can improve customer relations and campaign performance.
Take a look at this dynamic content template:
In Email A, we are tracking where somebody clicks on the orange, green or blue areas. In Email B, different content is displayed based on the recipient’s response to email A therefore providing each recipient with a highly personalised email experience.
You are more likely to yield better results from an email campaign with a localised offer for each contact than a generic campaign sent to the whole mailing list.
Think about the different products that you sell, might they indicate that your customers would benefit from different offers in the future? These opportunities differ from business to business but by looking into your contact data you can begin to reap the rewards.
Some of our best campaigns have used personalisation techniques to make the content more relatable to the customer. We drive results by understanding the problem that our customer faces, then providing a solution to it.
When creating Wired Plus we noted that businesses struggled to align their sales and marketing teams with teams often becoming siloed using their own data rather than a centralised data source.
After looking at this problem, we created a system that allows sales and marketing teams to have a full overview of customer data activities.
Implementing Personalisation Techniques
Using a personalised marketing approach requires a full understanding of the contact data. You should identify the value of your data fields and then decide what you can do with each.
After you understand your data’s value, you can start to identify where you can use segmentation, personalisation and automation techniques.
Segmentation means that you divide your contact list into smaller groups. These groups are created based on shared needs, behaviours or characteristics.
You can segment your contact list to target smaller, coherent groups with the most relevant content for their needs. Your customers will thank you as they will receive more relevant campaigns with targeted messaging.
Segmenting your contact list doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply look at the data fields that define your contacts.
If you are struggling with this step, think about what makes your contacts or clients unique from one another!
Data fields within your contact data can indicate other differences within your dataset.
For example, a single twenty year old professional living with their parents is likely to have different needs, wants and preferences to a retired seventy-five year old who has been married for forty years.
The results are well worth the extra effort. Segmentation increases email open rates by 14% whilst they receive a 60% increase in clicks compared with non-segmented campaigns according to MarketingProfs.
Whilst you may not think that a 14% increase in open rate is significant, it represents an opportunity to get your marketing message in front of a larger audience.
Before segmenting your contact list, consider:
- Are there key fields within your data set that differentiate customers who purchase one product over another?
- Can you use this to deliver tailored content for their needs?
If the answer to either of these questions is yes then you will benefit from segmenting your marketing lists.
Once you have created the segment, you can deliver much more targeted messaging to lead your contact towards a desired action.
By presenting your contact with a tailored message, you can maximise the value of each individual customer.
There are four different types of data that you can use to segment your list, these are:
Personalisation techniques allow you to deliver your marketing message in such a way that it appears to be written specifically for the individual recipient.
Effective personalisation techniques include subject line personalisation, dynamic content fields and use of a friendly from name. This helps you build a relationship between your company and your contacts.
Strike a balance between building a relationship with the customer and not being overly familiar.
Although you may have a wealth of personal data about your contacts, using all their data at once may make your contact feel uncomfortable. Rather than endearing your customer to the brand, it may have the opposite effect.
Subject Line: Hi John Smith, do you need help looking for the perfect birthday treat for your 40th?
Dear John Smith,
We noticed that you were looking at our gifts selection page and have spent some time on our website. After your previous purchase of the Good Aroma Deodorant and as it is your birthday next week, we are keen to help you choose the right birthday treat. Based on your previous purchases we would recommend the Yellow Dragon Fragrance Set. Would you like any help?
We made up this example to demonstrate how off-putting it can be to receive an over personalised email.
The problem with this email is that it attempts to use all the personal and previous purchase data that the company holds about John Smith in one go. The result is that the email seems somewhat unnatural and creepy.
The following approach is likely to be more effective:
Subject Line: Need help searching for the perfect gift, John?
We noticed that you were looking at the selection of gifts on our website. Is there anything we can advise you on? Following on from your previous purchase, we think you may like the Yellow Dragon Fragrance Set. Why not take a look?
The email suggests a product based on previous purchases but appears more natural than the first example as it doesn’t rely on as much personal data.
If you are going to include a lot of personalisation in your email sends, be careful to ensure that you build a relationship with the contact first.
According to Econsultancy:
81% of people reported that personalisation impacts whether they take action after receiving a marketing campaign
The more personalised a campaign is, the more likely a contact is to act. This shows how important it is for marketing teams to find ways to personalise customer interactions.
Automation tools allow marketers to automatically react and respond to user behaviours. Marketing automation workflows have become more popular in the last few years.
Automation flows give marketers tools to communicate with each customer with the right content at the right time for them.
Automation series can be set up for many different purposes including: shopping cart abandonment, browse abandonment and product recommendations.
Why not take a look at a great browse abandonment email by Kat Von D.
Increased efficiency results in getting more done with the working day. This has obvious benefits for marketers who can then use the time and resources they save to focus on the quality of production.
Getting more involved with personalisation techniques means that you can produce more nuanced and tailored content for your customers.
Ultimately, the result of delivering content that is right for the recipient every time is an increase in return on investment and higher engagement.
Clarity of Messaging
Deciding which contacts receive which content doesn’t have to be difficult.
Use your data to identify points in the buying cycle where you can use different content to trigger the action that you need your contact to take.
With better clarity of messaging, you are bound to gain an edge over ‘spray-and-pray’ techniques which rely on hitting your contacts with the same content no matter where they are in your conversion funnel.
With spray-and-pray techniques, one message is sent to your whole list in the hope that something works.
But that’s all it is.
You can only hope it works as you don’t know who your content will be relevant for. Results are poor as contacts don’t receive the content that is relevant to their needs.
Clear messaging tailored to the individual (but done on scale) is the most effective way to market any product or service.
By speaking to the customer according to their individual needs, you increase the relevancy of your marketing message thus improving the likelihood that contacts will perform a desired action.
How do you achieve clarity of messaging?
- Be clear about what you want to achieve before you send an email campaign
- Design the email, focusing on the key message that you want to deliver
- Create a clear and prominent call to action. Compel your contact to perform one clearly defined action after reading your content.
Omni-Channel Customer Experience
Using a data-driven approach gives you a number of ways to make the most of omni-channel marketing strategies.
Whilst it is possible to run several, disparate marketing channels within one business, using a data-driven approach where marketing channels are integrated, is much more effective.
Delivering a consistent message across each of your marketing channels improves the chances that your contacts will take action.
On average, a contact needs to see a marketing message seven times before they act.
Think about your favourite brands, how many channels did you see their message on before you made a purchase?
When you add each occasion up we predict it will be around the magical number seven.
To convince your contact that they should take action, you must have a coherent strategy which works across all of your marketing channels.
Train your teams to respond consistently across all channels and ensure that they have access to all relevant customer data within the CRM.
Without access to relevant data, your teams won’t be able to perform.
Align your sales and marketing teams to improve their understanding of your customer or prospect within the conversion funnel.
Improved Customer Experience
Marketing is about people, not products or services.
If you can find the right people (audience), send the right message (relevancy), at the right time and in the right format, you will deliver a customer experience which has your customers coming back for more.
You can achieve this in a number of ways:
Use Split Testing
We always split test different subject lines. Split testing your campaign gives you the opportunity to analyse how each segment of your list respond to your email. You can use this data to send a fully optimised email to your full marketing list.
Send emails on different days and times
Although there have been lots of tests to decide on the best day and time to send emails, the perfect sending time does not exist.
Results vary from audience to audience based on individual data and customer bases so you must perform your own experiments in house before settling upon your preferred schedule.
Optimise For Mobile Devices
According to a 2017 study by Return Path, 55% of emails in the study were opened on mobile. As mobile devices increase in popularity, businesses need to cater to demand.
Your customers are using mobile devices to view your communications, however check your data to establish which device each recipient uses.
Review Campaign Performance Reports
Ultimately, you need to produce content that your contacts love. Reviewing previous campaign performance is a great way to get insights about the tactics and strategies that work for your business.
Each business is different and it is important to design your strategy around your unique customer base.
Insights from contact data analysis give you the upper-hand in offering personalised, tailored, and effective experiences based on the individual.
Improved Product Development
You can use the data you have collected from your customers to determine how you should develop your products.
Customer feedback may give you an insight into problems or successes with your products. This data may also give you insights about products that you can develop in the future.
Consider how you can improve the customer experience based on the feedback you receive and innovations within your industry.
Summarising the Benefits of Data Driven Marketing
There are many benefits of taking a data driven approach to marketing. All marketing strategies and goals have one underlying goal – to generate higher ROI.
By using data to inform and influence the creation of marketing campaigns, you can ensure that you cater to your customer’s needs and preferences.
The key to success is to consistently review campaign data and to react to any changes in your performance. Through careful implementation, you should be able to reap the benefits of data driven marketing for years to come.
I create content, publications and adverts for Wired Plus. When I’m not writing, reading or blogging I enjoy road running.