Data-driven marketing is quickly being recognised as the future of how marketers perceive data.

With the growth of big data, and the ever-increasing access marketers have to customer information, it’s no wonder that C-suite and marketing teams are falling in love with the way we see data. In fact, according to a survey by Insights Report, 64% of survey respondents ‘strongly agree’ that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in today’s hyper-competitive global economy.

However, with 87% of marketers still considering data their organisation’s most underutilised resource, it’s clear that realisation is only part of the battle; there are still a number of hurdles to overcome when creating a data-driven marketing strategy.

The concept of data-driven marketing itself isn’t too complicated; it refers to strategies built on insights pulled from the analysis of big data, collected through consumer interactions and engagements, to form predictions about future behaviours. This involves understanding the data to which brands already have access, and how to organise, analyse, and apply that data to better their marketing efforts. The goal of data-driven marketing is to provide better and increasingly more personalised experiences for customers.

However, the concept differs greatly from the actual practice. This consumer data comes from a variety of sources, from surveying consumers directly, to secondary sources such as social media, web browsing, search behaviours, or even measured device preference. With all of those information sources available, the sheer volume of data generated each day alone is overwhelming for many marketing teams. But data-driven marketing strategies are the most effective and efficient way to create content that will resonate with customers and ensure that the message is highly personalised. In essence, while it takes a lot of time and effort to come up with a data-driven marketing strategy, it is well worth it.

Six Ways to Build the Best Data-Driven Marketing Strategy

Whether just starting the process of moving to a data-driven strategy, or looking for ways to augment an existing plan, there are some basic elements to consider that can help ease the way. To provide a little more clarity, below are six helpful ways to begin, or continue building, the best data-driven marketing strategy for your brand.

1. Commit to the Plan

Change can be difficult, no matter how large or small an organisation may be; incorporating a data-driven marketing plan is no exception. From top to bottom, there must be a commitment to seeing this strategy succeed. Companies must commit the time and resources necessary to see it through. It’s incredibly difficult to develop a well-defined path forward, without putting in the time.

2. Integration & Automation

As mentioned above, the sheer volume of data that customers produce every day can be overwhelming for even the most robust marketing teams to collect, much less effectively analyse. Without successful data integration, marketers won’t have the appropriate data required for a unified customer view. Many times, retailers have the added challenge of integrating data from their brick-and-mortar locations with their customers’ social media and mobile shopping behavior. However, by implementing new marketing automation tools and technology into their strategy, marketers can spend less time searching and combing through data, and more time using the results to refine and create high level, personalised marketing campaigns.

3. Build the Best Team

When it comes to data, the specific technical skills required can make it difficult to find the best talent. Teams should also be cross-departmental and cross-disciplinary in nature. This doesn’t mean finding an IT team member who has some availability, and pairing them with someone from sales or marketing to develop a data-driven plan to move forward. It means finding people who are willing to think from an enterprise level and go beyond their area of expertise. Teams will require data scientists who specialise in predictive analytics or audience amplification. They will also need sales and marketing people who are willing to learn more about IT. This level of collaboration is a necessity for success across the board.

4. Work Across Departments

Creating cross-departmental teams is one area of opportunity; another is ensuring data is shared and works across the organisation. Having high quality and integrated data is critical to the successful implementation of data-driven marketing, and that’s no easy task. Different organisational departments will collect data effectively, but will use that data for business goals that contradict one another. Marketers must ensure that information is shared across departments and teams, but it is equally important that the top-level business goals are also aligned.

5. Mind Other Brands’ Business

While minding one’s own business may be a solid adage for day-to-day life, when it comes to data-driven marketing, it’s a huge mistake. Brands should watch how competitors implement their strategies, and then find ways to make aspects work for them, or learn from others’ mistakes. Marketers should also take on the role of staying up-to-date with the latest trends and changes in data-driven marketing to help their own brand’s strategy.

6. Measure, Optimise, Measure Again

One of the major benefits to data-driven marketing is the ability to continuously and accurately measure marketing campaign results. By following the path laid out above, brands will already have the tools and framework in place to analyse new data as it comes, and quickly measure campaign impact. Marketers can learn what is most, or least, effective, and pivot, optimise, and experiment accordingly. This will allow teams to target the right audience, by providing personalised content that will resonate with them again and again.

Not only will consistently measuring impact help the brand stay focused on the business and campaign goals, but it will also help with ROI and further influence buy-in from organisational leaders. 

Final Thoughts

There is still much to learn about customers and the data they provide every day, but by implementing strong, data-driven marketing plans, marketers can work to better understand the needs and changing desires of their customers. Predictive and artificial intelligence marketing solutions will give marketers the foundation required to make data-driven decisions, and will become an essential part of successful marketing campaigns.