Eimear Walsh Content, Data, Digital Marketing...
In today’s data-driven world, it’s hard to discern between what’s useful and what’s just noise. As marketers, we are absolutely inundated with data from every source. So how do we define useful data? And how do we turn all those numbers into something that we can action effectively?
Marketing professionals are, by our very nature, creative individuals. For the most part, we’re not mathematically inclined so don’t always look at patterns generated by data for reasons why a campaign isn’t working. We tend to instantly look at changing up the creatives if we’re not getting the results we want. But the creative piece is not always the problem, and we should be able to use data far more effectively to generate actionable insights that can have real impact on the bottom line.
What To Consider
What decision are you trying to make? – go from the very beginning. What’s the purpose of collating and analysing this data? Are you trying to understand the audience which will help with the creative? Or are you looking at where you’re going to focus your budgets?
What data do you actually need to make that decision? – Each type of data may not be in one central location. You’ll need to involve your sales teams, your finance, IT and marketing teams in this decision. It’s about 3 key areas:
Do you need information about customer behaviour and their needs? Interactive data such as the channels where your audience will be, is also key. Are you devoting the right amount of budget to the most relevant channels? You should have the ability (or put it in place) to track and analyse real-time engagement and behavioural data, so that you can optimise every point of the customer journey with a targeted promotional strategy and carefully chosen content distribution channel.
You’ll need to understand resources required from an operational point of view as well sales growth and churn rate. You’ll also need to take cognisance of the costs involved. Competitor analysis too is also a good metric to have so consider where you can get that from. Anecdotal evidence is great but you’ll need solid evidence as well that can all be plugged into the same dashboard.
Where is the data? You’ll also need to know where the data is located – is it in another country under different GDPR regulations? If you’re sourcing the data via a third-party, you still have a legal liability for that data so make sure you’re covered in that respect.
Invest in analytics: You need the right tools to be able to analyse and interpret all the data. There are so many platforms out there but if you don’t know them, it’s worth taking the time to go through them and see what suits you. The Digital Marketing Institute will be able to recommend some of the more popular and effective platforms and tools.
Invest in your team: Getting someone on your team who can specialise in this area will be key. Whether this is a marketing professional with an interest in data or a data analyst with an interest in marketing is up to you! They will need to have some degree of fluency in a data science language – R & Python are the most common languages used. They’ll be able to report on website and campaign performances in real time using the most relevant data. If you’re looking to upskill yourself or your team, there are plenty of courses available. Most of the universities do short courses that are available online or in person. Again, the Digital Marketing Institute is a great source of information so keep an eye on their website. There are also diploma and degree courses in Digital Marketing & Data Analytics.
It’s no exaggeration that Big Data has transformed marketing as a profession. Regardless of the industry, data analytics has now become the cornerstone in every successful marketing strategy. With the advent of social media and the way in which people live their lives increasingly online, being able to keep up with so much information derived from online means the skills and services of a data analyst are key to any marketing function.They bring genuine insights to a function that has often relied on anecdotal evidence and a few isolated key touchpoints to build a marketing strategy. But gaining true insights from seeing real time patterns means that you can prove value with verifiable results. For marketing professionals, using the right data leads to the numbers speaking for themselves. Data analytics drives true meaningful data-driven insights. The use of automation tools to pull data from various previously unrelated datasets and sources results in correlations that may not otherwise be obvious. That’s when true marketing creativity can kick in!
Eimear Walsh is Managing Partner of Alternatives