Most marketing goals are tied to a company’s overall business objectives and include annual expectations such as increase sales, expand to new markets, and reduce churn. All of these goals are easy to measure, but that doesn’t mean they are easy to achieve. We live in a time in which our customers wield unprecedented power. They expect us to instantly recognize them, know their personal preferences, and speak to their needs and wants with insight and understanding. Gone are the days when you could simply buy a list, send a mass email, and haul in a bounty of leads. No, today’s campaigns have to be smarter and work harder. They must be intuitive, responsive and scalable. They must outperform our competitors’ campaigns on every level. They must be driven by data.
#1 — Prepping for Data-Driven Campaigns
Odds are your marketing department currently has an arsenal of various martech solutions, and each one is producing and storing data. However, just because a tool is producing volumes of data, that doesn’t mean you are able to leverage it. In fact, according to a recent survey:
- 62% of marketers report feeling overwhelmed by the amount of data they have
- 85% of marketers state they are unable to fully leverage their data
The first step in readying your marketing department to create the kind of campaigns that deliver results is to put a harness on all that data. Thankfully, there are apps for that. Here’s what you’ll need:
Data Integration Tool – These universal tools enable you to connect all of your martech and data sources. They eliminate most of the manual steps marketers must perform when executing campaigns and they enable tools to share data and work together. Once data is well-connected, mining it is not only easier, the insights provided are more accurate because key data sources aren’t missing.
Data Dashboard – These tools centralize access to data, help you maintain a clean database, and equip you with the ability to query data, visualize results and share reports.
Once data is connected and minable, you are ready to use it to the advantage of your marketing campaigns.
#2 — Double Up on Data for High-Performance Campaigns
Recent research found that marketing leaders with the highest performing campaigns use a combination of first-party or proprietary data gleaned from their own databases and third-party data, which is data that is typically purchased in bulk from a data aggregator. Buying third-party data to supplement your own is a smart move when you want to gain a more complete picture of customers, expand to new markets, or acquire leads whose demographics closely match your ideal customer profiles (ICP). It also enables you to become even more targeted in your marketing efforts because adding insights form third party data can reveal unexpected finds that enable you to make your display ad campaigns more effective. For example, let’s say your ICP is sales VPs on the West Coast and you have purchased third party data and launched a display ad campaign targeting this group. However, initial results from your campaign show that the highest clicks, views and conversions from your campaign are coming from sales EVPs in the Midwest. You have inadvertently stumbled across a new audience segment and now you know the type of campaign that appeals to them. You also know that you need a different campaign approach to attract your traditional ICP. This example, while broad, is actually a pattern that happens quite often when using first and third-party data. In fact, studies have proven that marketers who take a dual-data approach attract more new customers and enjoy higher customer retention rates than their competitors.
#3 — Use Contextual Data to Understand Customer Behavior
Celebrated American artist, Kenneth Noland may as well have been talking about marketing when he said, “For me context is the key – from that comes the understanding of everything.” When you look at data in its context, you are able to identify patterns and see connections that enable your campaigns to be more relevant to your customer’s needs. A few examples of contextual data that you can use to inform your marketing campaigns include:
Location: Where are your customers located? Where are most sales taking place? Are certain products experiencing higher demand in one region as compared to others?
Time: How long is the buyer’s journey? Are there seasonal patterns of sales spikes and dips? How long are customers engaging with your website, emails, landing pages, SMS campaigns, etc.?
Channels: How are customers searching and connecting with your company? Which channels are growing or waning in activity? Is there a pattern in channel usage during the customer journey?
Example: Let’s say your company is looking to eliminate churn in a particular region. You note that although email campaigns are performing well, voice campaigns are underperforming. Your contextual data tells you that most customers in this region are contacting you via mobile devices. You add SMS and RSS campaigns to the touchpoints in the customer journey and experience an immediate upswing in customer satisfaction and a measurable decline in churn.
#4 — Use Customer Demographics to Create Highly Targeted Campaigns
Creating highly personalized marketing campaigns that resonate with customers is one of the most effective ways to use your customer data. To do this at scale, you will want to create customer personas for your ideal customers and then develop campaigns that speak to this type of customer directly. For example, if your ideal customer is a forty-something male, vice president of IT, with a keen interest in a specific product in your offering, you will want to create campaigns that enable your target to see himself in your emails, landing pages, SMS, etc. Moreover, you will want to give priority to his particular product of interest in the campaign pieces you send to him.
Marketing campaigns that segment customers based on their interests, preferences and demographics are well-rewarded for their efforts. A recent study of segmented email campaigns vs. non-segmented campaigns found that those who segmented had:
- 14% increase in open rates
- 10% increase in unique opens
- 100% increase in clicks
- 4% decrease in bounces
- 9% decrease in unsubscribes
- 3% decrease in abuse reports
#5 — Enable Sales to Pursue Genuine Connections with Customers
Although marketing automation platforms (MAPs) have made sending personalized campaigns so easy it can be tempting to let things ride on autopilot, adding a sales enablement tool to your MAP is another way to enhance campaign performance through data-driven personalization. These tools empower sales to build lasting customer relationships by allowing them to use their own target lists to connect with customers one-on-one. Sales leaders can set permissions for personalizing campaigns and allow sales members to include personal notes. Larry Kendall, the author of Ninja Selling maintains that when sales teams regularly incorporate personal notes into their sales strategy, it results in more referrals, less churn and customer relationships with increasing lifetime values.