Today, all marketing is done on the back of data. Marketers know their decisions and actions must have a rationale supported by raw numbers. Every day, around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced across the web. It comes from all kinds of sources such as smartphones, social media, pictures, videos, transaction records, web browsing metadata, etc. What’s more, about 90% of this gigantic information pool was created within the last couple of years.
Since there is SO much material out there (all of which is relatively new), knowing exactly how to read it, verify it, categorize it, and analyze it for the purpose of business gain can be incredibly difficult. In retrospect, experts have only scratched the surface of the potential big data can provide.
From a marketing prospective, incorporating this type of hard knowledge into your mix can do wonders for overall ROI. Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done. Every business has different goals and limitations, each of which requires a customized approach. However, there are a number of foundational strategies to help your brand messaging gain the traction it needs. Let’s talk about three of the major areas to focus on.
Targeting the right audience
Perhaps the biggest advantage of running a marketing campaign these days is you no longer need to spend copious amounts of money to reach your intended audience. In the old days, it would cost thousands of dollars to do things like place a billboard in a high-traffic area and hope a few interested people would see it and inquire. Essentially, it was like throwing out a giant net for a few bites.
Advertising will always play in important role in business. However, it’s important to note that audiences are much different now than they were even as recently as 10-15 years ago. As the internet has infiltrated day-to-day (moment-to-moment, rather) lives, people have become exposed to more marketing tactics than they know what to do with. As a result, today’s consumers have become relatively numb to the entire concept of traditional advertising and sales messaging.
Knowing how to properly gear your branded content to your most valuable customers is a whole new ballgame. Consumers today want personalized content. Now, marketers can use data to read between the lines and put their brand messaging in front of the right eyes, as opposed to the most. Quality over quantity, per se.
And marketers are certainly taking note:
As a result of the availability of online customer behavior data, even display advertising (including the much-maligned banner ads), which is frequently written off as dead, is undergoing radical changes, especially when it comes to geographical and contextual targeting.
Geographical targeting allows local businesses to create and publish display ads that target audiences in very specific neighborhoods. Contextual targeting helps you narrow down the quest for the perfect customer even more. Contextual display ads only show up on sites that carry content that is relevant to your business using keywords that matter to you.
Babson College turned to display advertising as a means of spreading awareness and generating more leads among its core audience in the catchment areas of Boston. Vanessa Elmer, their campaign manager, used programmatic buys on Google’s Display Network and targeted them geographically to these areas.
The result? Cost per acquisition (CPA) fell by 67%, with display advertising accounting for over 75% of Babson College’s new leads in a two-month period.
Speak to individual users by acknowledging their preferences and the actions they take on your website by crafting ads that are unique to each of them. With real time re-marketing platforms like AdRoll, it’s easier than pie to set up and roll out these personalized campaigns.
That was about paid placements. When you’re at the point where it’s time to start ideating branded content for owned and earned media, hopefully, you’ve pinned down profiles of your ideal customers and crafted unique personas for each of them.
With some in-depth research, you can glean accurate data-based insights as to which topics would most likely appeal to your target. A great place to start is with monitoring tools. Mention is one of the more user-friendly platforms using which you can listen in on what people are saying across social media in real-time:
From here, you can learn about the hot button issues in your field and what topics are gaining attention. Then, you can create your content in accordance to what the target audience is interesting in hearing.
Using the necessary data to speak to the right people is perhaps the best way to increase your content’s ROI.
Identifying internal bottlenecks
Finding the snags within your operation is crucial for effective marketing. Data gives businesses the ability to take a detailed look at their own workflow and pinpoint weaknesses.
To give you an idea, let’s take the most important part of your entire marketing strategy: your website.
Your website is the central hub of the entire marketing mix. Above all else, the UX needs to be seamless. Unfortunately, the goal of having a perfect platform in every way is next to impossible. However, reading accurate data is a necessity for identifying visitors’ pain points and make appropriate changes.
For instance, let’s say are examining your site analytics and notice the conversion rates on certain pages are lower than you would like. With this information, you can dissect the elements of your website and find solutions to help break the barrier. A common plan of action would be to optimize your landing pages. Once you have made the changes, you will need to look at the data for how the conversion rates have fluctuated to gauge success.
Another great example is in relation to bounce rate. Let’s say you notice it’s particularly high on one of your landing pages. This could mean a number of things. If the time spent on the page is low, there’s a good chance you are optimizing for the wrong keywords. In other words, people are being led to your website through a search and realizing it doesn’t offer what they’re looking for. Now, the marketing department needs to conduct more accurate keyword research and coordinate with the development team to execute changes.
In every marketing venture, interpreting and acting on the relevant data requires a great deal of collaboration across departments. This is where project collaboration and task management tools come in. Workzone, for example, is an intuitive platform where campaign details and statuses can be clearly laid out for all relevant parties to see:
Data can mean different things to different people involved in an operation. It’s imperative that everyone is on the same page when tackling internal issues. After all, success starts on the inside and works its way out.
Influencer marketing is everywhere these days. In fact, a survey of US marketers, conducted by eMarketer, found nearly half of respondents plan on increasing their influencer budgets throughout 2017.
Influencers are well-known people within a certain community with a sizable, loyal following. They can be especially helpful to small businesses looking to gain a bigger audience. The goal is to get one (or several) of these prominent figures to use their own platform to promote your company and talk about your brand.
As effective as this can be in reaching new people, the trick is matching the right influencer with your brand messaging. This is where data comes in extremely handy. Using tools like Buzzsumo, you can easily pinpoint the big names within a certain niche. If you search your industry, you will see data-based results in terms of followership, page authority, engagement, and more.
With these insights, you can create a list of the most optimal influencers to reach out to in hopes of forming a partnership. Regardless of what field you are in, there will almost always be people with large followings to tie up with.
Apps like Collabor8 speed up this process with a platform where brands and influencers can match with each other and start collaborating instantly. After creating a profile, the app suggests potential partners to help expose your messaging to a more extensive number of consumers.
When done correctly, influencer marketing can do wonders to expand your reach to new audiences. Mobile gaming app Bejeweled conducted a fantastic influencer campaign in which they partnered with fitness/yoga personality Koya Webb. A simple post with a relevant hashtag on Koya Webb’s Instagram account exposed Bejeweled to over 250 thousand people!
Perhaps the biggest benefit of using well-known individuals to spread your messaging is they have already built a community of followers where their word is incredibly valuable. Tools that show you the reach and influence they have make the process of finding the perfect fit as well as determining the right spend much easier.
Data by itself doesn’t exactly change the essence of marketing as a whole. It makes day-to-day operations run much smoother and campaigns more targeted. Experts are now able to conduct more in-depth research and learn about their customers on a granular scale. Essentially, it enables companies to work smarter and eliminate waste. Looking towards the future, as marketers become more adept in navigating the ever-expanding pool of data, both brands and consumers will benefit from the results.