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5 Ways to Leverage Data for a Competitive Advantage in Marketing

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

Traditionally, marketing relied heavily on intuition and observations. This “spray and pray” approach was okay while it lasted, but it was far from being scientific, or even systematic. With time, as the amount of data has grown, so have the consumer demands. And such evolving consumer demands have put pressure on businesses. 

After all, most online consumers tend to get rightly frustrated when they receive content – either on mail, social media, or anywhere at all – that does not even remotely match their interests. So much so that they won’t even read or engage with the content if it doesn’t catch their attention from the get-go.

It becomes important to take a more systematic approach to marketing initiatives in such a competitive landscape. The idea is to know your customers as well as you can and design strategies and campaigns that are rigorously tested and measured against previous approaches. There is not much room for “intuition” in today’s data-driven world that provides us with all sorts of metrics to measure and improve on. 

The businesses that have realized this are two steps ahead in their efforts and results.

Leveraging data as a competitive advantage

As the ways of gathering data increased, the importance of leveraging that data to improve all business processes- including marketing and sales- grew. And the more data a company had on its customers and potential, the easier it became to tweak the marketing initiatives for better results. 

Here is how leading companies have leveraged data to gain a competitive advantage in marketing.

Personalizing the customer experience

Personalization always works – especially in the marketing domain. The best way to go about personalizing content is by tailoring their feeds and interactions based on their demographics, online activities, purchase history, browsing history, and other important information. For instance, DirecTV created a personalized marketing campaign that targeted people who’ve recently moved to a new location.

Based on the data they had collected, the company knew that people who have moved to a new location are more likely to engage in their services. They combined U.S Postal Service records of change-of-address applications and created personalized homepages that only the relevant people would see. This activity resulted in an overall greater conversion rate than the standard webpage.

Coordinating marketing initiatives across channels

A common step towards an omnichannel approach to data-driven marketing is performing identity resolution. Identity resolution can be understood as the ability to recognize an entity – whether it be a person, place, or thing – and their associated relationships based on physical and digital attributes. The purpose behind identity resolution is to coordinate omnichannel marketing based on the user’s characteristics, hobbies, interests, and digital footprints.

Using predictive analytics to build user profiles

Businesses have been integrating predictive analytics and account-based marketing to target those accounts that closely resemble the Ideal Customer Profile. ICP or ideal customer profile allows a business’s sales and marketing units to coordinate their efforts to discover the best leads from the sales funnel. 

Companies have been leveraging data to devise such ICP and foster more conversions primarily using the following steps: 

  • Predictive analytics to identify behavior patterns of customers and potentials. Converting these patterns into insights is useful for forecasting and predicting conversions. 
  • Maintaining data quality to ensure that the data fed to analytics models are pristine, relevant, timely, and unskewed. The goodness of the final output of an artificially intelligent model directly depends on the quality of the data fed to it during the training and input phase. 
  • Team members’ expertise must be converted into a standard that can be fed into the ML models. Also, the interface or dashboard that connects your team with analytics engines should give real-time updates and analytics. 

Using big data to track and increase marketing RoI

Deriving insights from the ever-increasing pile of big data requires combining analytics with the art of communicating findings. Research suggests that for every dollar spent on analytics and business intelligence solutions, companies realize an average return of $14.01, representing an ROI of 1,401%.

Businesses are approaching this opportunity of tracking and increasing marketing RoI using big data in five ways: 

  • Breaking down independent silos to facilitate a better data flow throughout the organization. Keeping the data easily integratable with other systems and shareable with internal and external sources, like affiliate marketers, internal search engine optimization (SEO) teams, etc.
  • Ensuring the data streams are updated in real-time to enable quick action based on accurate information. Analysis of such data streams helps marketers compare past campaign performances with current ones and identify new business models, opportunities, etc.
  • Applying visualizations to present complex findings in an easily understandable manner. This also comes in handy while discussing the analysis results and brainstorming the implication for future marketing campaigns. 
  • Conducting smart experiments based on different marketing approaches to find relevant alternatives and gain insights. 
  • Basing all marketing decisions on previous customer data using data-based tools to forecast future obstacles, find patterns, and determine the best risk mitigation strategies. 

Data onboarding to convert offline data formats into digital

Data onboarding can be understood as converting offline data – such as telephone numbers, postal addresses, purchases, etc. – into digital formats for marketing initiatives. Onboarding such offline data into online platforms enables businesses to make better decisions and cover all the bases. 

Data-driven marketing statistically increases the chances of success

The payoff from becoming a data-driven company is huge. Research suggests some important benefits that can be obtained from becoming data-first in your marketing approaches: 

  • Improved customer loyalty
  • Greater acquisition of new customers
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Improved RoI
  • Measurable metrics for improving the efforts.

It is no wonder that 78% of organizations surveyed for a study preferred data-driven marketing and suggested that it increases customer acquisition and lead conversion. Another research revealed that 67% of marketing leaders benefitted and saw an increased customer acquisition rate after using data to make informed marketing decisions. 

Are you data-driven yet?

In today’s digital, competitive scenario, marketing is nothing short of science. And as with any other science, you constantly need to keep forming hypotheses, testing them and revising/modifying/accepting them as per the results of your tests. The good news is that with such a large amount of customer data, the testing and hypothesis accepting/rejecting part becomes easy – as long as you are not stubbornly stuck to your ideas. 

However, the first step is to accept that this ever-increasing heap of data holds a lot of value and potential. Once you accept that, you’ll be on your way to truly become data-driven in all your efforts! 

Author avatar
Shriya Garg
Shriya is the co-founder and CEO at ContentNinja. She started her first blog when she was 12 years old, and coded her first website by the time she was 14. An avid reader and writer, she published her first book when she was 16 years old and has sold over 10,000 copies since. When she's not fielding client calls, Shriya can be found cleaning cat hair from her clothes.