Let’s face it: Just about every company talks about leveraging data to derive important market insights and deliver better customer service with deeper audience knowledge. How well do they live up to those lofty goals, though, and how robust is their database marketing program?
Setting up a marketing database isn’t a one-time event; you need ongoing database services to maintain and add to your collection of vital information. Companies that have made the step up from planning for data-assisted marketing to fueling their marketing activities with data earn higher conversions and achieve stronger customer satisfaction scores, so it’s worth the continuing effort.
Here’s how to tell if your data-driven marketing program has moved from conceptualization to implementation.
- You Collect More Data
It may seem simplistic to say that successful data-driven marketing strategies gather more data to drive them, but too many new entrants into the field of database marketing suffer from data shortages. They collect volumes of demographic and firmographic data, but without the marketing automation tools to gather behavioral data too, they’re missing a critical dimension of their leads’ interactions with them. A true data-driven strategy relies on extensive behavioral data too, so ask yourself if you know not only who your leads are, but how they’re using your site and which content sparks their interest.
- You Put Data in Context
Gathering behavioral data is an essential part of marketing database management, but it’s also an intermediary step toward a more advanced strategy. Contextualized information – that is, learning the “why” of your leads’ and customers’ choices as well as the “how” – is the ultimate goal for data-driven marketers. It’s accessible, too, but only with the right technology to draw the necessary lines between data points.
For example, you might know that there’s a strong correlation between downloads of your latest white paper and buying decisions; that’s vital behavioral data. Contextual data is derived from looking at that behavioral information, drawing inferences between demographic and behavioral data, correlating that knowledge with traffic data on blog posts, and understanding why readers of that white paper send such strong buying signals.
- Your Knowledge Is Cumulative
Scientists love the Isaac Newton quote about standing on the shoulders of giants, and marketers can learn from it too. When every campaign you run draws knowledge from previous campaigns and other channels, you never start at the bottom – every marketing activity you undertake builds on what you’ve already learned. When trends and habits in one area inform your understanding of another channel or campaign, you’re turbo-charging your next campaign. The beauty of this system of database management is that it becomes more effective the more you use it.
- You Know Where Changes Start
Data analysis can teach you about nascent trends and emerging markets long before your competition spots them. By recording traffic data over time and linking it to demographic, firmographic, behavioral, and contextual information, marketers get the technological equivalent of a crystal ball.
Here’s a quick example: A vendor that supplies the healthcare industry suddenly has a spike in traffic from IP addresses associated with professional kitchens. Wondering what’s going on here, the marketing database manager looks at the clustered traffic and sees that the new visitors are heading for product pages on cleaning supplies. With her industry knowledge, she realizes how the state’s new rating system for kitchen cleanliness is encouraging restaurants to step up their game. Her next step is to research and court this new market with customized campaigns tailored to the HRT sector.
Database marketing is too important to put off until later or pursue halfheartedly. The good news is that modern marketing automation solutions make data-driven marketing far simpler than it once was. The better news is that you can find a marketing database management team who can take care of the details for you.
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