Many B2B marketers don’t have the necessary data to make informed business-decision, or they don’t have the confidence in the data they have. In this article, we are explaining how to effectively overcome data paralysis.
In this day and age, there’s no valid excuse for not knowing about what your customers want. And now, there’s a wide variety of tools that enable marketers to collect a broad range of data at particular stages in their marketing campaigns. The days of mass, untargeted broadcasting is long gone. Meanwhile, the digital age has brought about widened reach, pinpoint targeting accuracy.
Back in the 1960s, marketing was mainly used at a mass targeting level using direct mail and advertising. And 20 years later, direct marketing along with computer processing was being used to target specific segments of the people through direct mail and telemarketing. Then in 1995, email marketing started and flourished, and when Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007, people became even more connected to their mobile devices.
Now, let’s fast forward to 2019, people are highly mobile and yet utterly dependent on their handheld gadgets to stay connected. Today, marketing is driven by customer data and data-backed research that can be collected at every stage in the entire buying process. And you don’t need to work with wild guess to know about what people want, you just need to know where to look.
In the current, highly competitive digital economy, the result that counts the most is revenue, and the best way to ensure that your marketing department delivers that result is through data-driven marketing.
While this may seem simple, but many B2B marketers face a data dilemma: either they don’t have the data that they need to make informed business decisions or they don’t have the confidence in the data that they do have. Either way, B2B marketers must overcome this data paralysis if they want to be successful.
Marketing needs to be data-driven, in order to be effective. And if you know your targets user’s goals, behavior, challenges, and pain points, you can easily create marketing campaigns that cater to their specific needs. The data like a user’s social media activity, browsing patterns, online purchase behavior, and other metrics can help you focus more on your marketing efforts on what works and what doesn’t. So, gather as much data about your target market as you possibly can. This data will be at the center of any successful marketing strategy.
Marketing must be data-driven
Today, data permeates every aspect of a business, and marketing departments are evolving to reflect the data-driven culture. While there is still creative science and an art to marketing, but even the creative aspects of the job are now driven by analysis and insights.
What this means is that marketers can’t succeed without their foot firmly rooted in data. And the challenge for marketers is ensuring that data doesn’t become a roadblock.
Marketers must be able to work with data and leverage the insights from data in a measurable and effective way if they want to succeed in the current marketing landscape.
The benefits of data-driven marketing are very well documented. From real-time actionable insights to precise targeting that enables informed decision-making, data has huge transformative capabilities.
Data fosters strategic decision-making
The alignment between marketing and sales teams around data provides a platform for strategic decision-making within companies. And by giving both teams the same view of prospects and customers data, marketing and sales teams are able to align around key accounts and company goals, providing a more strategic direction for the entire organization.
This is the core basis of account-based marketing (ABM), rapidly growing, and most effective B2B marketing tactic today. With ABM model, success isn’t based on acquiring leads; it’s about acquiring new accounts and expanding existing accounts.
To be successful with ABM requires data-informed sales and marketing alignment on the same objectives and working towards the same goal. ABM can’t produce effective results without the right data and insights into new and existing accounts, real-time events, changing market conditions, and more.
Meanwhile, to make an effect that actually matters to the C-suite, marketers must adopt data-driven strategies. Luckily, the way to success is paved with the tools and technology to make every marketer data-driven.
Technology drives marketing’s evolution
Leveraging simple technology solutions, now marketers can view their markets and customers holistically. It empowers the marketing teams to own strategic activities like opportunity identification, market sizing, territory planning.
The innovative technologies ushered in the digital marketing evolution more than a decade ago, and now, the marketers need the right set of tools to effectively implement, manage, and measure data-driven strategies. And the adoption of these tools has made data-driven marketing much more accessible and measurable. Now, marketers have the ability to visualize, clean, and leverage their data in infinitely valuable ways to provide high-impact results.
The data dichotomy
The same data that is helping marketers to be more effective is also holding them accountable like never before. The results marketers were held to earlier are not the same that the company leaders are looking now.
Just a decade ago, it would have been unimaginable to tie marketing department to a specific revenue goal without the means to effectively track and target marketing campaigns and measure results. And with data at our hand, we can, with a high level of accuracy, craft the right message, identify the right targets, and deliver it at the right time.
Now marketers can track precisely what triggers cause a prospect to convert into a lead and how that lead goes through the sales funnel, and marketers know without a doubt which leads converts into paying customers and exactly how much revenue they produce.
To conclude, savvy B2B marketers can be held accountable to the company’s bottom-line goals because data makes it both measurable and feasible.
How to make your marketing data-driven
Let’s face it, most marketing company’s leaders, and many other types of company for that matter- talk a good game about the value of being data-driven. It’s an obviously good sound bite, in large part, as it’s both rooted in common sense and it also embodies the modern in “modern marketing”.
But, being actually data-driven is a very different thing. And only a fraction of companies truly nails it when it comes to having data at the forefront of their most business decisions. So, what are the key tactics to make the data-driven sound bite ring true? Following are a few…
1. Optimize multiple marketing channels
The leads generated through Facebook responds very differently to the leads generated through the Google AdWords or to the leads generated through LinkedIn. This is the reason marketers B2B marketers need to build and implement their own strategies according to which channels the leads are coming from to optimize their conversion rates.
Data-driven marketing enables marketers to identify which channel(s) yields the most, and which message evokes the desired user behavior. Meanwhile, you can also identify what kind of content works the best at any given time among any marketing channel, be it social media, email marketing, or blog posts.
2. Personalize your campaigns
According to The Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising, a paper by MediaMath, the Global DMA, and the Winterberry group, 53% of marketers claim that there is a high demand for customer-centric communications. Innovative analytics tools and big data enable marketers to develop highly targeted campaigns with personalized communication.
With good data to back their marketing strategies, B2B marketers have a better idea of what and when to send marketing messages. This accuracy and timeliness increase the chance of hitting an emotional chord with the audience and positive engagement encouragement.
3. Focus on your most loyal customers
Don’t spread yourself thin. If you really want to be quick about improving your data-driven marketing strategy, the best ones to start with are your most loyal customers. These are the ones that set the benchmark for a plan to be successful.
Going after too many leads not just slows you down, but you can also end-up losing old as well as new customers. Since even the loyal customers are prepared to stay around for the long run, ignoring them for too long is going to drive them.
Consider thanking them for their continued business with your company, meanwhile; gently remind them of your amazing work relationship with an email or even a gift. It doesn’t take much to make them feel special appreciated and special.
Developing and implementing the right customer retention tactic will go a long way towards improving customer relationships and boosting their lifetime value. On the other hand, loyalty programs have also made it easier for the companies to offer an efficient way to track purchases and leverage this data to monitor which incentives and promotions schemes customers respond favorably to.
It has proven to be a highly effective way of tracking purchases and analyzing your target group’s purchasing patterns or behaviors.
4. Regularly enhance customer experience
The customers want information that’s useful to them. And data-driven marketing campaigns are targeted towards a specific need. According to The Global Review study, 49% of companies use data-driven marketing to improve the customer experience by rolling out satisfaction surveys and identifying areas for improvement.
Customer value analytics enable the B2B marketers to speed-up the sales cycle without compromising on personalized service. So, instead of undermining customer relationships, data helps to deliver an Omni-channel service that helps improve the customer experience by making it consistent. And whether you reached them over the phone, via social media, or through face to face interaction, the customer get same information, and also goes through the same experiences.
5. Embrace marketing automation
A B2B marketer can easily find himself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of the data coming through several sources. And, unluckily, not all of this data is going to be useful. But, for data-driven marketing to work, you need to take in a lot of data from as many different sources as possible to get meaningful insights regarding your customers.
This is where automation comes into play. Investing in marketing automation solution is not just a fad, but it’s soon going to be the norm. As if you want to be capable to leverage all the data you’ve collected from several sources, you can’t waste your time going through all of it, when you can even let an algorithm do that for you.
6.Take action on the data you collect
A good data-insight-action pipeline has a huge snowball effect on business value. It’s increasingly becoming quite common to have testing and analytics practices. But what usually gets lost through and competing priorities and organizational deviancies is the notion of actually doing something with the newly found data that testing is uncovering.
Pivoting from insight and data to drive widely scaled implementations usually requires coordination with other teams- that publish and manage the websites. Example; particularly, if the aforementioned “Optimization Layer” is not established, competing priorities come in the way of data-driven action.
The most distinguishing factor of a data-driven marketing company is the existence of a healthy data-insight-action pipeline that is not clogged, the one where the process of optimization and testing doesn’t stop when the tests are done.
7. Have an executive sponsor who believes in data
While individual contributors must buy into a data-driven process, there’s no denying the fact that the success in developing a practice of anything usually stems from leadership’s belief in that particular thing. And from an entirely practical standpoint, an executive sponsor is much needed to foot the bill to create the core practice.
But with same importance they need to drum the beat- repeatedly evangelizing the value of producing data and letting the data be a key contributor in the business decision-making processes. And having leaders on-board that are wired with this mindset can make the creation of a data-driven, data-led culture, much easier.
8. Don’t be afraid to take risks
Testing in digital usually validates great ideas. Although, what is equally great about testing is that it acts as a safety net for when our ideas don’t pan out as expected.
And when added with stashing the ego in the dumpster, “failing fast” means you can think bigger. Such thinking yields better success. The sheer existence of a solid testing platform should be an enabler to big thinking.
It’s more like driving a bike. Whenever you fall off; you’re right back on. And this applies to testing in the digital world. Take a hit in the form of a negative lift. So, keep testing and you’ll eventually find your way to success.
Advanced metrics and data analytics now are at your fingertips. In the current landscape, there is a plethora of tools, both free and paid, that the companies and the entrepreneurs can employ to study the marketing habit or behavior of buyers.
And to improve your marketing campaign, you really have to know everything about your target buyers. This is what target marketing is all about in this digital era.
Meanwhile, implementing these solutions can totally change the way you do business. With the right minds on board, now freed of the burden of doing busy-work, you can see your marketing strategy take off quickly.
Irrespective of how good a marketer is, the fact is that they just can’t perform miracles. So, if you really want to see improvements in your strategy overnight, you’ll have to plan for them very carefully beforehand. But, if you have solid outline steps and goals, implementing them is going to be easy. Once you’ve finished your homework, you’ll see quick results.