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The Data-Driven Advantage 7 Ways to Leverage Your Marketing Data in 2017

The Data-Driven Advantage: 7 Ways to Leverage Your Marketing Data in 2017

For some time now, marketers have been in the midst of a data revolution that impacts all aspects of how businesses relate and can get to know today’s consumers. With access to rich sources of data, marketers have visibility into a consumer’s behavior, their likes and dislikes, what they are doing in real-time, and how to message them through the channels they most prefer.  Just as important, advancements in technology are providing the power to fuel this data into actionable insights to enhance competitive advantage, increase ROI, and maximize revenue.

Here are 7 ways to gain the most impact from your marketing data and achieve data-driven success:

One: Too Much Data?

Although we live in a data-rich world of marketing insights, too much data has become one of the biggest set-backs to success. Every day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created and 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last year alone. This makes it more than a little overwhelming for marketers when trying to decide what data to collect and just as importantly, what data NOT to collect.

In a 2015 report by Econsultancy, only 7% of respondents said they could turn their data into useful information. In another report by Forrester, marketers cited having too much data as one of the biggest challenges to achieving a successful data-driven strategy.  This was followed by having data stored in different systems, and not being able to integrate these sources into a single customer view.

marketing analytics challenges

In a report by Hubspot, results found that marketers were actually spending too much time on data collection, hurting overall productivity. HubSpot discovered that they spend one-third of their 45-hour week conducting repetitive tasks. The biggest time killer was collecting, organizing and analyzing marketing data from various sources (3.55 hours per week).

markting analytics challenges

Despite the promise of the big return from data-driven marketing, marketers must be diligent in the types of data they collect.  Not all data is created equal. Data must be able to provide marketers with meaningful insights in order to deepen their customer understanding.  Be aware of what you are trying to achieve, do not collect data just because you can, and don’t be afraid to get rid of data that provides no value.

Two: Begin with Your 1st Party Data

First party data is the data you already have about your customers and prospects. This can include data from your websites, billing systems, customer service records, CRM systems, campaign data, or social data.

In an Econsultancy report, The Promise of First-Party Data, almost three-quarters of survey respondents said 1st party data provided the greatest insight into their customers. 81% say they use 1st party data regularly, 77% use 2nd party data regularly and 61% use 3rd party data.

Q: Which categories of data does your organization use regularly?

marketing data

In another report by Econsultancy and Signal, marketers also agreed with the importance of 1st party data. The types of data being using most frequently according to the study included:

  • Transaction history (87%)
  • Customer information (80%)
  • Behavioral data from sites and campaigns (74%)

Marketing Data Types

Three: The Power of 3rd Party Data

As marketers turn to their internal 1st party data sets to uncover new insights into their customers, they often find that this data is not enough to deliver the complete picture.  By augmenting this data with outside 3rd party sources, new insights can be attained to develop a more complete view of the customer.  In a research survey conducted by Royal Mail Data Services and DataIQ, almost half (49.6%) of marketers reported using data provided by third parties.

third party data

Third-party is external data available for purchase by data providers who source and aggregate the data into applicable sets that can be applied to your first party data bases. This data is integral to deploying personalized experiences and targeted marketing campaigns, because they provide hundreds of data elements that no consumer would fill out in a single form. With only a few first-party data elements, third-party data sets can be appended to correct and fill in missing elements such as email addresses, phone numbers, lifestyles, demographics, purchase indicators and more to strengthen your customer insights.

Marketers can also purchase third-party data when there is no first-party data available. These highly specialized data sets are generally segmented by a defining factor such as lifestyle, life change events, location, and more. For instance an auto repair company could purchase a third-party data list of consumers who recently moved into their area. This mover list would include contact information, behavioral and lifestyle data, and more so that the repair shop could form a targeted marketing message for these recipients. Similarly, a company specializing in baby proofing homes could reach out to a data set of new parents whose children are nearing toddler age.

Four: Consolidate Your Data

The second problem that marketers must content with is lack of data integration. Various data is often stored in multiple systems, such as email, purchase history, service department inquiries, and website engagement. Further compounding this problem is data is often of poor quality – missing key data elements, incorrect and outdated, or contain duplicate records on the same consumer. Data must be integrated into a singular customer view in order to act on these insights in meaningful ways.

With the huge influx of real-time data, processes must also be implemented to integrate these data sources in real time. A consumer’s behavioral data is often fragmented across website visits, email opens, social interactions, forms completed and purchases, plus much, much more. This data must be unified in real-time around each customer so you can see, understand and act on their behavior.  Through a range of system connectors, a marketing cloud technology platform can continuously collect data from around a data ecosystem and consolidate it into a 360 single customer view by merging identities from multiple devices into one and dedupe customer records into a consolidated view.

consumer data list

According to a report by LinkedIn and Salesforce, senior-level marketers who have successfully integrated their customer data ranked their effectiveness considerably higher than those who had no integration at all. Sixty-two percent of senior-level marketers said their data was partially integrated, 19% had no integration, and 2% were unsure.

Five: Maintain High Quality Data

Bringing data siloes together into a consolidated view is important, but it doesn’t do much good of the quality is poor. Companies are clearly motivated by the opportunities that data represents – especially as it relates to improving interactions with customers and prospects. We have all heard that today’s consumers are more informed and have more choices than ever. Data has become the crucial driver when it comes to acquisition, retention, identifying cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and improving customer experiences. However, the correct insights to accomplish these goals can only be derived if the underlying data is accurate.

data quality solution

Although companies understand the need for high quality data, 92% of organizations believe their customer and prospect data is inaccurate in some way, according to the 2015 Data Quality Benchmark report by Experian. The level of inaccurate data is also climbing. The study revealed that 35% of US organizations believe that 32% of their data is inaccurate. This is up from 25% in one year’s time.

Ninety-seven percent of companies suffer from common errors associated with contact data alone. The three most common errors are incomplete or missing data, outdated information and inaccurate data.

data quality errors

So what exactly is poor data quality costing organizations? The research shows that 83% of companies believe revenue is affected by inaccurate and incomplete customer or prospect data in terms of wasted resources, lost productivity and communications spend.

Six: Implement the Right Technologies to Optimize Your Data Opportunities

As data-driven marketers, we want to ensure we are getting the right message across to the right consumers, at the right time, and through the right channels. In order to efficiently do this, the right technologies can make all the difference. Of course, choosing what to implement can be a bit overwhelming when considering the numerous technologies available to marketers today.

As an example, have you seen Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic? According to Scott, “I’ve fit 3,874 marketing technology solutions on to a single 16×9 slide — almost twice as many as last year.”

marketing technology landscape

View Larger Version

To break it down, Black Ink conducted a survey to determine what marketing technologies marketers are placing the highest emphasis on.  According to the study, “60% of marketers  predict Business Intelligence will be the most purchased technology in 2016. Marketing automation & campaign management, and customer interaction (both 57%) followed by advanced analytics (45%) and attribution software (32%) are the top five technologies marketers predict will be the most purchased this year. The following graphic compares the top seven technologies ranked in order of likelihood to be purchased.”

Seven: The Competitive Advantage of a Data-Driven Strategy

The pay-off of investing in a strong data strategy is well worth the effort. According to the report Big data: Forging corporate capabilities for the long-term, “more than 35% of respondents with a well-defined data strategy reported stronger financial performance than their competitors.”

data-driven marketing strategy

Although implementing a data-driven strategy can seem like a challenge, the opportunities and advantages of using a data-driven approach cannot be underestimated.  Marketing has moved beyond the “Mad Men” era into a discipline involving strategic thinking backed by data, analytics to develop these data-back insights, and the technology to activate those insights into sustainable revenue streams.

Download our new eBook, The Ultimate Data-Driven Marketer’s Guide to Success, and discover best practices, tips, and resources on how to boost your revenue with data.

data-driven marketing eBook