How much time do you think you spend on your cell phone every day? What about writing emails, on Facebook, or in apps? With every digital interaction, people generate data about their habits and preferences—and a lot of it. In fact, one recent study found that by 2020, we’ll generate data equal to 1.7 megabytes of data per person per second. That’s nearly 150 GB per day, per person, for every human on the planet. It’s a marketer’s dream!
Unfortunately, that dream can seem like a nightmare without the right approach. How can marketers actually process this vast amount of ever-increasing data (from their customers, competitors, and prospects) and then use it to improve their strategy?
As with any overwhelming task, breaking things down into steps is a good way to start.
For marketers that want to stay competitive in today’s market, the first step toward actionable insights is data consolidation and analysis.
WHAT ARE DATA CONSOLIDATION AND ANALYSIS?
Data consolidation means sifting through all the material you have to decide what’s important and what isn’t. It can be broken down even further into a few steps:
• Know where to source your data from. This is a strategic process of understanding where to go to source data, whether it’s first-party data, third-party data, etc.
• Normalize data so that it’s comparable. Data sources get more robust every year (Google Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
• Combine that data into one location. Combine your CRM, email metrics, web performance, etc. into a singular place like a business dashboard.
After your data is consolidated, you’ll need to analyze what you have. Data analysis is what enables you to:
• Hyper-target personas and understand your customers
• Identify channels that work
• Discover content that works or doesn’t
• Illuminate white space opportunities that you can leverage
This analysis tells you where to start your marketing strategy and how to begin optimizing your conversions.
WHAT IS CONVERSION OPTIMIZATION?
Conversion optimization, or conversion rate optimization, is the process of strategically improving website elements to increase conversion rates. According to Econsultancy, only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. Businesses that want to improve conversions use data to pinpoint where to focus their efforts and follow an iterative process.
WHAT IS THE CONVERSION OPTIMIZATION PROCESS?
The conversion optimization process involves four steps.
1. Consolidate and analyze data. This includes identifying what data is relevant to your goals. You’re skimming the large amount of data for the cream of the crop, filtering out noise to get to the digital breadcrumbs that matter.
2. Identify which conversion(s) matter most to your company. In other words, know what matters most before you begin solving for it. This could be registrations, downloads, newsletter sign-ups, etc. This step is frequently overlooked, but it’s vital for ROI—so make sure you are thorough and precise.
3. Utilize the data to initiate A/B testing. This is where the rubber meets the road. The data you’ve gathered can be categorized into the conversions you want to support, and you can test from there. This should be iterative and can involve machine learning and advanced analytics.
4. Optimize and iterate. The conversion optimization process should be ongoing, continually responding to changes in your data and target user’s behavior.
To maximize ROI, marketers should process data carefully, starting with data consolidation and analysis. This is where the foundation is created for a successful marketing strategy. With an understanding of customer behavior, teams can begin A/B testing that is precise and effective, leading to concrete changes that increase conversions.
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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.