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How to Best Work with Data

Businesses love having access to so much more data about their audience, customers, competition and overall environment. However, the amount of data is growing exponentially to the point where many companies are struggling to manage this unwieldy amount of information.

That leaves many unsure of how to best work with their data in a way that yields the most insights. Here are some ways I have leveraged available data in a way that has provided significant business benefits:

Frame Everything Around Marketing Objectives

Don’t go for the “needle in the haystack” approach to working with data, hoping you’ll eventually get to the information that drives results. Instead, to get the most out of your data, you need to know what you are using it for and what you need to find within the information to achieve those objectives.

If your objective is to draw more traffic to your site, then you need to work with data that will explain why people go to sites and what type of information draws them there. Or, if your primary marketing objective is to improve your brand’s reputation, focus on the data that reveals online opinions, including praise and complaints found on review and social media channels or hashtags that call out your brand on social media.

Look at Data as an Answer to Key Business Questions

Like the marketing objectives, you can work more effectively with your data by seeking out answers to critical business questions. For example, look for data that tells you where you can get the most value and ROI for your ad spend. Therefore, you would want to focus on data that delivered insights into the highest-converting traffic channel.

Don’t Assume Anything

Often, marketers think they have a good idea about their audience and what they want. Then, they look at the data in a way that reflects what they think they already know whether it is for an online ad or a mobile marketing campaign. Therefore, the one “don’t” on this list of working with data is to not assume you think you already know — because you don’t know the audience the way the data does.  

Instead, it’s important to be open minded when working with the data to be prepared for different findings. That way, you are more likely to recognize that these insights may signal a new direction for marketing messaging or targeting that you would have otherwise missed.

Data-Driven Marketing Tactics

One of the best ways to work with data is to apply it to specific marketing tactics where the information can directly address specific objectives, such as greater audience and customer engagement, deeper understanding of specific audience needs, and the ability to reach audience members across channels and locations.

Data-driven marketing tactics include personalized marketing, which continues to be a challenge and opportunity in terms of delivering the right message to each audience member when they want it. Using that data to create specific customer profiles that direct how to develop customized content is an ideal way to work with data.

Look for specific insights in the data related to how to improve the overall customer experience, that provides a blueprint for how to deliver multi-channel experiences, and what type of products should be developed in the long term.  

Automate and Integrate the Data Collection and Categorization Process

Because data is multiplying faster than can be managed appropriately with traditional analytics solutions, it’s better to automate and integrate as many data sources as possible to minimize duplicating any work. Some of these automation and integration tools will even pull information into one location to facilitate the development of the customer personas and personalization insights you need to deliver on those specific marketing objectives.

Get AI Assistance

Working at a faster rate than any human, artificial intelligence can essentially do the job of organizing the data for you. Look for platforms or tools that incorporate machine learning so that you can further the automation benefits for handling data. In taking over much of the time-consuming work and producing new ways of looking at the data, you may be able to apply the insights to your marketing campaigns and content for improved results.

Share the Data

One of the best ways to work with data is to share it across departments and functions because that can lead to a greater understanding of the bigger picture for many within the company beyond marketing.

Or, data could be available from customer service that might inform how marketing should address customers or audience members. And, since the customer journey can involve many aspects of your company and travel across locations, it helps to put all those data destinations together into one map. Hence, this collaboration over data can yield ways to address objectives related to enhancing the customer experience.

Keep Measuring

At no point should you stop measuring and monitoring the data as well as researching what’s available to help you collect and categorize the ongoing external and internal information.

See how you can use data to create more personalized messaging for better results with the “Go Further with Marketing Automation.”

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