Many people believe that great marketing is an art form, but lately big data has added a serious dose of science into the mix. Smart marketers are now relying on data more than ever before to inform, test, and iterate their strategies.
And even though data and analytics will never replace the creative minds that are at work behind the best marketing campaigns, they certainly can provide those minds with incredible tools and insights that can help them perform even better.
Big data and analytics can improve your marketing efforts in many ways, including the following:
More clearly define your ideal customer. In the past, marketers frequently had to make best guesses as to the demographics of their ideal market segment, but that is no longer the case. With big data, companies can easily see exactly who is buying and tease out even more details about their customers, including things like which websites they frequent, which social media channels they use, and even which buttons they click while on a website.
Optimize customer engagement. Data can provide insights into who your customers are, where they are, what they want, how often they make a purchase, when and how they prefer to be contacted, and many other important factors. Companies also can analyze how users interact with their website – or even their physical store – to improve the user experience.
Improve customer retention and loyalty. Many retailers have implemented “loyalty card” systems that track a customer’s purchases, but these systems also can track which incentives and promotions are most effective in encouraging a customer – individual customers as well as the overall group of customers – to make another purchase.
Marketing optimization and performance. With traditional advertising, it’s difficult to track impact and return on investment directly. But big data can help companies to make optimal marketing buys across many different channels and to continuously optimize their marketing efforts through testing, measurement, and analysis.
Budget management. Because big data enables companies to monitor and optimize their marketing campaigns for performance, that means they can better allocate their marketing budgets for the highest ROI.
Real-time personalization. Big data combined with machine learning algorithms gives marketers the opportunity to personalize their offers to individual customers in real time. Think about the “customers also bought” section of Amazon or the list of recommended movies and TV shows from Netflix. Companies can personalize what products and promotions a particular customer sees, even down to sending personalized coupons and offers to a customer’s phone when he walks into a physical location.
Improved content marketing. The ROI of a blog post used to be extremely difficult to measure, but now, thanks to big data analytics, marketers can easily analyze which pieces of content are most effective at moving leads through a marketing and sales funnel. Even very small businesses can afford tools to implement content scoring, which can highlight the pieces of content that are most responsible for closing sales.
Predictive lead scoring. Sales teams have long used lead scoring to rate their hottest leads, but predictive analytics can now be applied to generate a model that can successfully predict buyer behavior and sales.
Market research. Companies can conduct qualitative and quantitative market research much more quickly and inexpensively than ever before. Online survey tools mean that focus groups and customer feedback are easy and inexpensive to implement, and data analytics make the results easier to parse and take action on.
Reputation management. With big data, companies can easily monitor mentions of their brand across many different websites and social channels to find unfiltered opinions, reviews, and testimonials about their organization and products. The savviest can also use social media to provide customer service and create a trustworthy brand presence.
Competitor analysis. New social monitoring tools make it easy to collect and analyze data about competitors and their marketing efforts as well. The companies that can use this information will have a distinct competitive advantage.
Truly, this list only scratches the surface of what is currently possible and what will be possible in the very near future as data analytics tools trickle down and become available and accessible to even the smallest businesses and most novice users. This can only be a boon as companies improve their marketing and reach their customers in new and innovative ways.
Do you use data in your marketing initiatives? What do you use data or analytics to accomplish? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments below.
Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, strategic performance consultant, and analytics, KPI, and big data guru. In addition, he is a member of the Data Informed Board of Advisers. He helps companies to better manage, measure, report, and analyze performance. His leading-edge work with major companies, organizations, and governments across the globe makes him an acclaimed and award-winning keynote speaker, researcher, consultant, and teacher.
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