Use data in marketing? Of course you do

Author: Stephen james Founder, SilverJet Insight

As a former frustrated marketeer working as an analyst, using data in marketing isn’t what you’d call second nature for me. Cut me and I bleed data and insight (please don’t put that to the test), to me it’s the nucleus of any aspect of marketing.

I often to speak to people who seem to think that using data as part of marketing begins and ends with lists of people to contact. The more enlightened also carry out post campaign analysis. It is much more than that and people regularly seem to do themselves a disservice, they use data much more than they think.

What do you really use?

Digital content audience profiles? Data. Customer persona’s developed from market research? Data. Business KPIs that define your marketing objectives? Data. The industry reports that form part of your social sharing activity? You guessed it, data.

All those decisions, the knowledge developed from years of experience, the new findings that make you change up your marketing plans, it all comes from you using data, whether you realised or not. Data is not just 1s and 0s.

So data isn’t really a scary subject?

Lots of people use data without realising, so the next time you think to yourself “I’m not really any good with data” just remember that you are probably more adept than you realise.

From there, using data even more to drive your marketing becomes that bit easier.

The next time that you need to write a campaign brief think a little bit more about what else you can add to the customer personas or background information that you provide.

How much do your customers spend? You probably know roughly what your average customer spends, so dive a little deeper, how many spend more than the average and how many spend less?

That tiny little step deeper into the numbers could drastically change your plan, or it could just give a really solid baseline to measure against.

Doesn’t this make things more complicated?

This depends on your view of complexity. If a couple of pieces of data, or insight, suddenly tear up your plans because what you thought was a customer is actually an occasional buyer that buys out of necessity, not because of preference, then yes.

But, it creates absolute clarity.

There is a famous saying, you don’t know what you don’t know. So, when you do learn something new, you can act and use that new insight to power a different approach.

Let’s say that you produce a bi-monthly product promotion sheet and you send it to all contacts on your email database (where you have a legal basis for doing so) and mail a version to customers without an email address.

Before submitting your mailing list criteria you consider pricing agreements, a customer could already be paying less than offer price. If your framework agreements or pricing profiles mean that a customer would pay less for a tube of Gripfill than your offer price, you look a bit daft and it means their engagement with you will be lower in the future. You remove them from the mailing list, saving yourself a few pounds. What you may not realise, you save the unsubscribes too, keeping those contacts for relevant content, that is future incremental revenue protected right there!

Not only have you reduced the £s spent on that campaign, you have protected valuable contacts. You’ve also shown that marketing isn’t just the colouring in squad, it knows how to make commercially effective decisions.

Adding a little bit of data into the mix can make big differences. Just imagine what can be achieved through taking increasingly bigger steps into the world of data and what it can do for your marketing. You don’t have to dive into a data lake, dip your toe in first.