For the last decade or so, marketers have been introducing more and more data into the work that they do. Since the advent of social media, widespread broadband internet, and cheap access to cellular data, the amount of data available on any of us has grown exponentially.  Social media services can even track you if you aren’t a member of the network – Facebook has been found tracking non-users before.

The abundance of data available has enabled marketers to turn the power of machine learning algorithms onto their most challenging marketing problems. With the right approach, data can transform and enhance marketing.

Gather the Right Data

At the heart of any data-driven marketing campaign, you need to have the right data. This sounds obvious, but you would be amazed at how many people end up sabotaging their own efforts and setting themselves up for failure by ignoring the importance of proper data gathering. 

Common data that businesses target, include:

  • Demographic data: Demographic data is data about exactly who your customers are. the better you understand your target audience and who comprises it, the more finally you can target your marketing. The reason that social media platforms are such powerful marketing tools is because they enable marketers to very finely target their marketing to specific audiences. However, you need to be able to define your ideal audience in order to target it. Demographic data is the granular data that defines exactly who your target audience is.

  • Technographic data: If you haven’t heard of technographic data, do not worry. It is still a relatively new term and one that many marketers are still getting to grips with. Technographic data is the information about all of the various tools and technologies that you use in your business. When you are devising a marketing strategy, you are interested in the tools and software that underpin your campaigns. The more familiar you are with the tools that you will be using, the more efficiently you can wield them. This, in turn, leads to much more efficient marketing and means that you can achieve more with less. 

  • Behavioral data: You might know behavioral data by its other name, engagement data. Some people find the latter term to be a better descriptor as it is the data points at which a customer interacts with your business. Some common types of behavioral data that marketers might want to track include metrics concerning the journey a user takes through your website, their interactions with any advertisements you have, any content that they don’t just view but also download, and even the way that they click when they are on your site. All of this data can potentially be harnessed by a marketer who understands how to use it.

Get the Right People On Board

If you want your marketing campaign to be data-driven, you need to have people around you who understand how to properly deploy data with respect to marketing campaigns. While there are plenty of tools on the market that makes handling data much easier than it used to be, data analytics is a specific skill that requires a trained hand in order to do properly. Your most talented marketers aren’t necessarily going to be able to put together a data-driven campaign without someone on hand to provide them with specific guidance.

If you do not currently have anyone on your staff who is trained in data analytics, that’s something that you should seek to rectify. It is difficult to overstate just how much difference a data analyst can make to your marketing, not to mention the benefits that they can bring to the rest of your business. 

Use Predictive Analysis

Predictive analytics is a perfect example of the kind of new data-driven approach to marketing that is enabling businesses to achieve what previously seemed unachievable. Predictive Analytics is something that marketers have long been striving for, it involves taking a deep dive into customer behaviors and then adjusting services and content in order to elicit a desired response. 

  • What is it? Predictive analytics requires the use of customer data coupled with machine learning-based algorithms in order to spot patterns in behavior that are far too complex for people to understand. By harnessing the power of this understanding, and taking full advantage of everything that machine learning has to offer, marketers are able to target their marketing towards their customers in a way that has never been possible before. 

Needless to say, this is a very valuable skill for any marketing department to have. If you think that this is something that you would like to introduce into your own business, either by sending one of your key marketers to study it or by learning it yourself, click here to find out about the predictive analytics in marketing course on offer from Emerson College.

  • Understanding Your Customers: There are seven key metrics that are required for predictive analytics: occupation,  education, income, age, hobbies, media habits, and preferences/tastes. By bringing all of this information together, and running it through sophisticated machine learning algorithms, marketers can predict customer behavior to a spooky degree.

Understand the Limits

Data is a very powerful tool, and if you use it correctly then it will definitely enhance your marketing campaigns. However, data is not magic. If you are not using it with a clear purpose, it is going to severely limit its effectiveness. You need to have clear and realistic expectations for what you can achieve with a data-driven approach to your marketing. You can certainly enhance your marketing campaigns, but you still need to build solid campaigns – the data will help you to deploy them more efficiently.

Every professional marketer working today understands the power of data. Data is all around us and businesses have found plenty of ways they can deploy it in order to improve the efficiency of their operations. Using data will not automatically make your marketing campaigns a hit, but if you use it with purpose then you stand a much better chance of success.