How to Leverage Marketing Data to Build a Framework for Growth

In the fast-paced environment of modern marketing, it is hard to imagine a time when marketing data did not exist.

Salesforce’s 2016 State of Marketing Report shows that 83 percent of high-performing marketing teams now leverage customer data for segmentation and targeting purposes. They are also 7.2 times more likely to personalize the customer experience online, a critical marketing development considering 74 percent of customers feel frustrated when site content is not personalized. The Salesforce report states: “By collecting customer data in real time, these marketers apply what they know about individuals to tailor the online customer experience.”

The era of intuitive marketing — when things felt more like an art than a science — are behind us. Today, marketing data plays a key role in nearly every aspect of your strategy. 

Or, at least, it should.

Most marketers are savvy to the idea that collecting customer data is an absolute “must” for success. However, a recent study from Jaywing shows 40 percent of marketers believe a lack of analytical skills is holding them back from delivering a best-in-class customer experience.

At ReachForce, we believe marketing success stems from collecting and analyzing customer data to identify trends, highlight opportunities, and optimize your campaigns. Learning how to leverage marketing data to understand your audience, enhance your marketing strategy, and grow your business takes more than just collecting customer information. You need to know how to uncover actionable insights for growth. Here is how to make it happen.

Make Data Quality Your First Priority

It may seem like having clean, quality data would be a “no-brainer” for teams that understand the potential value of big data marketing. However, data quality remains one of the biggest constraints holding companies back from maximizing the impact of marketing data insights. In fact, a recent study showed that 54 percent of marketers cite data quality and completeness as their biggest challenge to marketing success.

Incomplete, inaccurate, and duplicate data has a lasting effect on your marketing strategy and business. Poor data quality immediately devalues the insights drawn by you and your martech stack. That creates a lose-lose situation where you are either aware of your data quality issues and therefore not leveraging marketing data to influence your campaigns, or, potentially worse, you are using the insights and likely creating a poor customer experience.

So how do you fix the problem of data quality and ensure the accuracy of your insights?

It all starts with the foundation of any good martech stack, an effective data management platform. Given the variety of data sources streaming in from your inbound marketing efforts, a data management platform is a critical first step in building a framework for growth. A good system — like ReachForce — will gather all of your inbound streams into a single-source platform that scrubs the data clean of misinformation and duplicates while also enriching the data with valuable third-party insights in real-time. Doing so ensures that you are working with clean data from the start and that the insights you glean from other martech tools have a solid foundation based on accurate, complete data.

Focus on Metrics that Matter

It is common for marketers to mistakenly focus on a positive uptick in the wrong metrics when measuring campaign success. These metrics — often referred to as “vanity metrics” — may boost your confidence, but do not actually help your business. Why?

It is because they do not actually lead to any actionable insights. You may notice a sudden increase in site traffic, but what does that increase tell you about how you should be approaching future campaigns? Answer: next to nothing. You do not know specifically what caused the uptick or how to replicate it in the future.

Alternatively, a metric like conversion rates or revenue-focused marketing data like customer lifetime value tells you a lot more about your audience and the right actions that draw them toward your business.

Admittedly, the right metrics to measure vary from business to business. Unifying your marketing data through a single-source data management platform ensures you have a complete view of your customers to draw conclusions based on the metrics that matter to you.

“When your data is de-siloed,” Tamar Weinberg writes on the Marketingland blog, “you’re able to look at the entire picture of marketing’s role in the business. The key is to find the KPI that correlates with success, however you define that, given the specifics of your situation.”

Identify Your Customer

One of the most significant benefits of collecting marketing data is that it enhances your understanding of your target audience. Clean, quality customer data helps you establish specific buyer personas and segment your audience for better campaign success. Splicing up your audience with firmographic data like location, industry, company size (by employee headcount and revenue), other vendors used, and leadership structure helps you tell the right story through your marketing campaigns in the right place, at the right time.

Marketing data extends beyond just firmographic information. Smart marketers leverage behavioral data to understand how their customers engage with content and make buying decisions. Some of that data may come from engagement with your campaigns, but using a data enrichment conversion form like SmartForms allows you to gather insights on your audience from other sources to which you may not otherwise have access.

Those insights may be the missing piece in unlocking the incredible potential for your marketing data with predictive analytics.

Make Better Predictions

Marketing data

You know the expression “more isn’t always better”? Well, whoever came up with that was working with some bad data. The truth is, more is always better, provided that “more” is clean, enriched information about your audience. More data helps you establish a crystal clear vision of your customer. That vision extends beyond the initial buying signals you might look for when establishing personas or customer segments and opens up a world of information you can use to predict future customer behavior.

This is precisely how smart marketers leverage marketing data to build a successful demand generation strategy. Where many marketers focus exclusively on lead generation with their campaigns, big data enables you to actually increase company revenue through other channels outside customer acquisition, specifically,  by improving customer retention rates and increasing upsell opportunities for sales partners.

Predictive analytics open the door to establishing campaigns based on how your customers engage with your brand and product. Measuring key data points like product usage or touch points with a sales or customer service representative and comparing those points against renewal and upsell data can tell you when and how your customers tend to buy more (or less). With that information in hand, marketers can have a significant impact on revenue in less traditional ways (which is always a good thing when annual reviews come around).

Predictive analytics is not the only major trend where marketing data makes an impact.

Personalize Everything

Virtually any marketing expert will tell you that personalization is one of the most important elements of your marketing strategy today. As previously mentioned, your customers demand it. Thus, personalization is not just an obligation; it is an opportunity.

Account-based marketing is one such example of how a personalized campaign, fueled by quality marketing data, can have a tremendous impact on the success of your marketing efforts. Data helps you first identify the right clients to target. Then, figure out your primary contacts within your target accounts and how to best engage with them through personalized content. As mentioned before, marketing data also shows you how to retain them and increase their customer lifetime value.

Even outside of an account-based marketing approach, the opportunity to personalize interactions and engagements with your audience can have a significant impact. Artificial intelligence is playing a big role in personalizing touch points with leads and customers alike. The benefits are tangible; personalized web experiences have been tied to a 19 percent uplift in sales, according to HubSpot.

Of course, making predictions and personalizing campaigns needs to be automated in order to be sustainable. Luckily, marketing data helps make that happen, too.

Boost Productivity with Better Automation

There is no question about it; a good automation platform is a foundational component of your martech stack. Without the marketing data to trigger specific campaign actions, an automation platform offers little value.

Funneling your marketing data from your data management platform through an automation tool allows your team to step away from the manual processes that eat up time in the average day-to-day of a modern marketer and instead, focus on extracting new, creative insights that can be used to optimize future campaigns for higher conversions and more revenue.

Gain a Leg on the Competition

Finally, do not forget about the power of marketing data to outperform the competition. While it may feel natural to focus on your own growth, the reality is that your competitors can tell you a lot about your own business. Analyzing a competitor’s social media engagement versus your own, for example, is a great way to explore new channels to interact with your audience. Keeping up with industry influencer content may help you explore avenues for new potential products.

It All Starts with Clean, Quality Data

ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization, and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean, and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.

To learn more about how ReachForce can help you optimize demand generation and your impact on revenue, get a free data assessment and get a demo today.

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