Why Your Digital Marketing Strategy Depends on Data

hub of info

Data is everywhere, and marketers are expected to turn it into results like never before. But that doesn’t mean that harnessing it and deducing groundbreaking insights is easy. Data from social pages and third-party sites like Amazon and Google tell an important story, but discerning the nature of that story from the disparate sources can be a pain.

The process of collecting and organizing data varies from business to business, and the steps behind data processing and management depend largely on a company’s budget. At the most basic level, businesses will log in to individual platforms, pull reports, and then aggregate relevant data into a spreadsheet or presentation deck. As resources increase, an organization might rely on an entire team with an array of software solutions to compile data and create illustrative reports.

The Data Lake

No matter what the process looks like or how big a company gets, collecting data in one place will eventually become a requirement. At a certain point, it becomes inefficient for marketing teams to log in to platforms on a one-off basis, and they’ll need data visualization tools such as Google Data Studio or Tableau to combine multiple data sources and reveal valuable insights.

When data points are easily accessible, they can change the way companies conduct business. According to research from the McKinsey Global Institute, organizations fueled by data are 23 times more likely to acquire new customers and six times more likely to retain the customers they have. Not surprisingly, these benefits make them almost 19 times more likely to achieve profitability.

Clearly, data information can produce results, but how to use it is less clear. The “Closing the Customer Experience Gap” report from Harvard Business Review illustrates that a mere 3% of survey respondents feel like they’re able to act on all of their data. Meanwhile, 21% say they are able to use very little of it for actionable initiatives.

By analyzing data from social media, third-party sources, and your company website, you can form an accurate picture of your customers' digital journeys. By turning individual pieces into a complete view, you’ll be able to pinpoint purchasing signals, buyer behavior, content consumption habits, and more. To interpret the data you’ve collected, follow these three steps:

1. Map out the path to purchase.

Create an ideal purchase path for your customers, and build your marketing strategy around that plan. Start with broad awareness, and narrow the funnel all the way through to a conversion. If retention is a priority for your product or service, create a separate strategy that details marketing initiatives aimed at existing customers. Attracting new customers and keeping the ones you have require different approaches. For help mapping out the customer journey, take a look at these resources from Kerry Bodine & Co.

2. Create clear KPIs.

Distinct key performance indicators (KPIs) will allow you to measure the success of individual initiatives. For example, at Pantheon, we know that web developers who engage in a free trial of our platform are more likely to buy from us. If they attend training sessions, that likelihood increases even more because they have a deeper understanding of how to drive value from our website operations (WebOps) solutions. With these KPIs in mind, driving our developer persona to these touchpoints is key to our success within their customer journey. Organizational goals often center around conversions, so connect KPIs to the same result. If an initiative has an impact on conversions, that relationship is almost always worth measuring.

3. Test and optimize.

Your marketing strategy is never finished. At Pantheon, we constantly update and review our testing backlog. Ideas for testing hypotheses can come from anywhere: another landing page or campaign, instincts about our own layout, or iterations on high-performing elements. Then, we test them to see how they perform. Grooming this list can include variables such as business value, complexity, and conflicting tests. Testing also varies by channel — for example, email vs. landing pages vs. banner ads. There is no universal approach for measuring impact, but you need to be as specific as possible in your approach. Too often, organizations confuse an effective marketing strategy with a perfect one. In marketing, there’s always room for improvement.

Decisions about marketing are only as strong as the data they’re built upon. By establishing the right metrics and relying on the right tracking tools, you can use data analysis to inform important decisions and take your organization to the next level.

Using Pantheon as the foundation for your testing program will help you ensure future success, reliability and accuracy when releasing new features/tests and interpreting the results. Our website experts are here to support your testing program. Contact us today to learn how your testing tools can be more effective on Pantheon, the WebOps platform built for agility.

Topics Education, Growth & Scale, Testing & Optimization