Jassim Ali, regional director-data and technology at Reprise, part of MCN, explains how clients should use data and analytics to generate high-quality marketing.
Depending on who you ask, data is the flavor of the year or has been the flavor for years. As marketers in 2019, looking beyond the hyperbole around the new and shiny is part of the deal, right?
Nevertheless, there is something so intrinsic about DDM (yet another acronym?) that it should be beyond hype.
As its core, marketing stimulates demand for products and services. It works when better decisions and a granular understanding of the nuances are gained.
Over the past decade and a half, almost every marketing activity has been leaving behind a data trail that continues to flow through the channels. While most of it has limited value – especially with recency and relevance factored in – quite a bit of it is useful in improving ad targeting, gaining better consumer understanding, formulating responses with better accuracy and personalizing both messaging and experience.
While it is rather reductive to come up with a to-do list as the answer to most challenges and perplexing questions, simplicity is not a bad place to start.
As you step into another year, these six steps will help put the fundamentals in place.
- Who is responsible for data?
While data-driven marketing is usually driven by the digital team, its outcome can’t be attributed merely to an individual or a department. A good starting point would be to assemble the various stakeholders to plan and discuss the 360-degree customer journey.
This could involve everyone from product to billing and beyond. An all-inclusive approach ensures that change is embraced whole-heartedly.
- Where are our data sources?
Data silos are a major hurdle in creating seamless customer experiences. When data points are fragmented, isolated and disjointed, valuable information such as the customer’s status in the sales cycle, is overlooked and marketers are blindsided from real opportunities.
It’s essential to develop and maintain a bird’s eye view of the systems that collect and process your customer data; develop the integrations needed to create a unified customer experience.
- How do we collect data?
Data collection is often underestimated in terms of complexities and importance. When a clear approach is overlooked, the risk of working with outdated data is unnecessarily borne.
It starts by establishing the purpose of data collection and thereafter split into action points ranging from customer entry forms, APIs and taxonomy to integrations with your CRM.
- How do we break down customers into addressable segments?
While there are points of similarity that cut across your customers, it’s essential to identify the differentiating traits and behavior patterns of customers. This will help in building segments for improving the relevance of messaging and addressability. It also enables developing and delivering customer-centric content. Start with tapping into captive knowledge and experience to identify primary segments. Moving forward, revisit these segments with enrichment and more granular understanding gained over time.
- What are the varied needs of our customers and what digital path do they take towards fulfillment?
Sketch out the customer journey and optimize efforts, avoid customer drop-offs and churn. Some questions to ask would be: how does a prospect come into contact with our organization? When does he/she signal purchase intent? At what point do customers need our support or assistance? By answering these questions, it’ll be a lot easier to design the optimal customer journey and define the success metrics thereof.
- How do we analyze, interpret and communicate data to the stakeholders?
A lot of DDM projects start with the best of intentions but get stuck when it comes to interpretation of data into information and thereafter as action points. The ‘so what?’ question needs to be addressed at every stage, leading to clarity of purpose. Data visualization is a key component at this stage but is often relegated to a graphic representation of data minus any analysis.
As you could surmise, most of these steps are often basic but overlooked or underplayed during the course, leading to lost opportunities. With a bit of diligence and a lot of team play, you can realize the true value of your data in fueling marketing success.