For years—decades even—organizations have been pursuing, acquiring, and analyzing every bit of data they can about their customers, their industry, their sector, their competition, their content, and more. Technology improvements have exponentially accelerated the ubiquity, diversity, and access of data, and leaders of companies are racing to keep pace.
The rate at which technology improves is a double-edged sword. With more access to diverse data, the complexities involved in leveraging actionable insights increase, not to mention the fact that it’s difficult to navigate the myriad of data sources. Here at Logic20/20, given the alignment of our Digital Transformation, Advanced Analytics, and Digital Marketing practice areas, we thrive on that complexity. We are thought leaders, practitioners, and subject matter experts when it comes to data.
For marketing clients, we talk a lot about data stories, asking: How can we sift through high-volume data and extract the right information to drive high-performing marketing strategy? Greater volumes of diverse data—in an environment that a company controls—make it possible to develop a deeper understanding of customers and individual preferences and behaviors.
Getting started with your data
One recently suggested framework for analyzing business (and marketing) is to apply Netflix star Marie Kondo’s KonMari method, the process of decluttering through deciding what “sparks joy”—in this case, what data or KPIs actually yield results or show quantifiable promise. Another framework of using data to drive your strategy is to leverage customer journey maps specific to target personas, iterating on each unique touchpoint to propel customers along an “optimized path” by customizing and personalizing their experience using data.
No matter how you frame the process, assessments are a critical first step. It is important to determine what matters most to your business at a given moment in time. What conversion do you most want to optimize? What action do you want your customers to take? In other words, what does success look like?
Once you define success and map it to customer behavior and a conversion metric, the next step is to unify your data. Pull customer data, CRM, social channel performance, website analytics, paid media performance, email data, search data, mobile app data, in-store data, and any other data sources relevant. Notice patterns and make high-level decisions about what types or sources of data are relevant to your goals. Before taking your analysis to the next level and defining KPIs, ensure your data is clean and reflects identical time stamps.
What metrics are most important to your business? What insights are revealed in your current data? Where are your data gaps, and how will you resolve them? The responses to these questions will be unique to your organization, your job function, your business goals, the industry you operate in, even the seasonality of your business.
Companies all strive to be data-driven organizations. By entrenching data, analysis, and strategic insight, companies have the ability to turn data analytics into a core capability. For marketers, this translates into the ability to determine who customers are, what they want, when and where they want it, and the ability to deliver the product, service, or experience that best suits their needs seamlessly and in real time, across physical or digital channels.
Listen to your data’s story
Data tells a story, and if you listen, it reveals the strategies to acquire new customers, engage existing customers, increase loyalty, and drive revenue. Given increasing data complexity, it is critical to analyze the correct KPIs. Finding what’s right for your marketing goals follows the same process as before: asking questions.
What’s the data tell you about your target audiences? What about their demographics? How they behave? What they like or dislike? Which channels they use?
To identify answers to these strategic questions, focus on key KPIs, such as these:
• Which content is working the hardest? KPI: CTR
• How “sticky” is your site/content? KPI: Bounce rate or pages per session
• Which channels are working hardest for you? KPI: Referral traffic
• Which target audiences perform best? KPI: Customer acquisition rate
A KPI example
Let’s say, like many companies, you desire new customers. To identify prospects, you decide to host a webinar on machine learning. The webinar date is in two months, zero people have registered, and your company has low brand awareness and a limited promotional budget.
People will learn about your webinar through a variety of marketing tactics and channels. KPIs include click-through rate percentage (CTR%) and conversions that come from email campaigns, as well as conversions from LinkedIn content, and paid Facebook ads. Being intentional about measuring conversion performance from email, organic search, social, and paid targeting will yield vastly different conversion rates, allowing you to move forward on the right channel, targeting the right audience, with content and keywords that work.
Using data to refine your audience
In the end, your goal should be to move people through the sales funnel. One of the quickest ways to do that is to create an audience or “segment of one,” a process known as hyper-personalization.
If you’re one of the over 60 million people that subscribe to Netflix, you may be on the receiving end of hyper-personalization and not even realize it. Netflix monitors all your behavior within their ecosystem—what you watch, for how long, which email content warrants a click, etc.—and then fine-tunes the available media to increase your chances of viewing.
The Netflix recommendation engine is powerful not only for the content it supplies you, but how it presents that content. The same film may have four different “covers,” each of which is tailored to a certain audience. Those that love adventure films may see the protagonist while others who love romance may see that same protagonist embracing another character. Through your interactions, you’ve supplied Netflix with enough data to tailor your experience in fine detail.
Now, imagine if you could do that with your customers.
If you look closely enough, your data will show you which KPI’s are most valuable for you to track—as well as how to appeal to your ideal user. You’ll understand how customer segments behave and learn what actually works.
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Steve Sack is the Digital Marketing Practice Area Lead (PAL) at Logic20/20. He is a marketing expert and university instructor with more than 15 years of agency and in-house experience.