Data, data, data. It’s all around us! It’s all we hear about these days and it seems to permeate every part of our lives.
Why is data so prevalent now and what does it really mean for us as marketers and business owners? More importantly, how can we use data to drive better decision-making about how to spend our advertising and marketing dollars to achieve greater ROI and, ultimately, more profits?
The massive proliferation of social media channels has resulted in a frenzy of tweeting, posting, and pushing out content in ways that border on narcissistic. Companies of every size and stripe dish out seemingly endless amounts of content in the hope of attracting new customers, engaging and retaining current customers, and making their brands relevant and distinctive. And this has never been easier or cheaper to do.
Identifying Customer Patterns
The savviest marketers use data to identify patterns in consumption at almost every level of the buyer’s journey. Big brother’s not only watching you, he’s in your living room. How many times have you browsed a company website only to find an ad from that same company following you around like a bad habit every time you’re online? But creepy becomes cool real fast when marketers skilled at using retargeting ads with proper market audience segmentation can, depending on the vertical, increase conversion rates by almost 150 percent. (1) How about when you give your email to a company to obtain more information, and then emails with offers specifically geared to your interests start miraculously appearing in your inbox, as if someone knew exactly what you were thinking? Inbound content marketing also becomes a no-brainer for smart businesses looking to generate three-times-as-many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but at a cost that is 62 percent less. (2)
Yet with all this data available and the millions of ways we can slice it and dice it, why do so many companies fail to scratch the surface when it comes to leveraging the power of data?
The Social Media Slump
An example I encounter with my clients on a fairly regular basis sounds like this:
A company decides they need to have a Facebook page and blog. They write a few blog posts; they build a LinkedIn company profile; they create a YouTube channel and a Pinterest wall; maybe throw in a Twitter feed and then, voila! They’re off to the races. But then, despite all the effort… crickets. The silence is deafening, and people at the company no longer have time to feed the content-beast.
“Aha,” they say. “We’ll run some Facebook ads to drive likes and boost engagement.” They may even create an Google Ad campaign, which causes the number of likes on Facebook to jump! People at the company start feeling a whole lot better.
But now what? The folks in sales (and maybe the boss) want to know what all this means and how it translates into ROI. They slaved over every word of each blog post like Hemingway and all of their moms and sisters now subscribe—but other than that, it’s a bust. They sigh, get discouraged, and stop updating their blog, so that it starts to resemble a dusty old vintage car with content that’s months—or years—old.
Even if they were successful at driving additional traffic on Facebook and other social media sites—what does that mean? They have data, but don’t know what the data is telling them or how to take action on it. Do any of their newfound Facebook friends really like their products or service, or are they simply like-gerbils who have no real interest in what the company is selling? “Why isn’t anybody clicking over to our company blog,” they ask, “to read our pearls of wisdom?”
If this resonates with your experience, don’t fret. You’re not alone.
So What’s A Marketer To Do?
Believe it or not, you have reams of meaningful data within your grasp before ever starting down the social media path and measuring your activities there. Begin by mining commonalities in your existing customer data—the basic factors fueling the success of your organization. Then become more intuitive in your approach; go beyond who your customers are and learn why they want to do business with you, and what they like about your products or services.
Then, and only then, will you be able to reach a broader audience of people who’ll do more than just like you—they’ll actually buy something from you. Here’s how to use data you already have and avoid a social media slump.
Start with a formal or informal survey of your current customers or clients:
- Who are they?
- Where do they live?
- What are their demographics—income, age, education, etc.?
- Why do they do business with you?
- What is it they like about you or your products?
- What do they dislike about you?
With answers to these questions, you can develop detailed customer personas. You’ll develop multiple personas among your customer base, and using this detailed information will enable you to craft targeted content for them across all of your marketing channels.
Your content will become clearer and your marketing efforts more engaging when you know exactly whom you’re trying to reach.
A comprehensive inbound or content strategy where you take stock of what makes you, your product and your expertise unique is the first step to reaching your current and future customers, which, in turn, results in data that actually means something.
(1) Conners, Julian. Get 150% Increase in Your Conversion Rate with Retargeting. August 25, 2015. http://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/increase-conversion-rate-using-retargeting/
(2) Demand Marketing, Content Marketing Infographic. https://www.demandmetric.com/content/content-marketing-infographic