Marketing has always been focused on the buyer. With digital now impacting consumer behavior and purchase decisions through multiple touch points, businesses will need to adjust or be left behind. Studies now indicate that modern day consumers are using multiple devices before they purchase. According to the Sensis 2016 Social Media Report, Australians own an average of three Internet-enabled devices. Research is showing an increasing trend towards multi-device usage, with 79% of people purchasing on mobiles also using other devices in their purchase journey.
Businesses have taken notice and as a result have been utilising online channels to promote their products and services. Through these mediums, businesses can increase their visibility online, encourage engagement from their target audience and increase sales. As marketing becomes increasingly more digital there is a greater ability to monitor its performance and make informed decisions based on data. Perhaps one of the most valuable outcomes of the digital movement is the ability to use data to inform marketing activities. There are also many independent online tools that can be used to gather and analyse data from these marketing efforts. In the past traditional marketing expense was more difficult to justify, now digital channels enable businesses to monitor exact figures on things such as impressions and ROI. This level of data can be utilised to inform such things as marketing strategy, channel recommendations, budget allocations, and even provide information on the characteristics and motivations of the target market (and many more).
Not all businesses have taken advantage of this opportunity. In fact, based on new research, 87% of the businesses surveyed consider that data is their organisation’s most underutilised asset. It also revealed that 49% of respondents feel “significant pressure” to increase data’s role in their current strategy. Data analysis however is becoming increasingly less daunting with free and easily accessible tools available. It’s the act of selecting the relevant information from the mountains of data and what to do with this information that could be quite intimidating.
The trick is to always go back to why these marketing activities were implemented in the first place (i.e. goals and objectives). Then, narrow down the information to focus on based on the purpose and goals for the marketing efforts. Outlined below is a step-by-step guide on how to leverage the tools and data available to grow your business.
1) Set your goals and objectives– Before even embarking on any marketing activity, it is important to identify the goals that you want to achieve from your marketing endeavours. Such goals include increasing awareness, boosting sales, encouraging customer engagement, generating leads, increasing website traffic, etc. It would also be ideal to set (realistic) measures for each objective. These goals and objectives will later be used to gauge the success of your marketing activities.
2) Determine and set up the tools to use- There are many free and paid tools available for collecting and analysing data from campaigns, especially those executed online. In fact, some channels are equipped with their own data analytics tool. For example, Google Analytics is a great tool that can collect and measure data on your website activity as well as ads implemented through AdWords, Google’s advertising arm. The information that can be gleaned from the tool includes demographics of a site’s visitor, sources of traffic/clicks/views, tools used to view the site, the most viewed content and so on. Similarly, social media platforms like Facebook have their own analytics tools that can uncover data such as demographics and user behaviour.
There are also online data collection tools such as SurveyMonkey, Zoho Survey, Dub InterViewer and Google Forms that allow users to collect information about their target audience via surveys. Some of these platforms may be accessed for free and are equipped to aggregate answers and present the information gathered in a report.
3) Select the data to focus on and interpret- As mentioned earlier, there are mountains of data that can be uncovered using analytics tools. Among the information made available, how would you know which ones to focus on? Well, the answer lies within the goals and objectives previously set. The data that should be closely monitored are those that will offer information that may help determine if these goals and objectives are being missed, have been met or being exceeded. Some of the metrics that are commonly used are in this article.
4) Use the data to make informed business and marketing decisions- When data collection and analysis are done habitually, you will be able to uncover trends on your customer’s demographics and psychographics. The information will then enable you to make calculated decisions when it comes to future marketing efforts and business decisions.
There is an old proverb that goes, “knowledge is power.” This saying is especially true in marketing. Knowing insights and using data to drive marketing and business decisions will enable a business to operate more efficiently and reap rewards from their marketing efforts faster and in a more cost-effective manner.