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Five data marketing tips for staying ahead in 2017

Consumer Marketing Data

Data marketing tipsAs another year begins, it’s a good opportunity to take stock, talk about what worked well in 2016 and identify areas for improvement, when it comes to effective use of data.

There’s no doubt that as a marketer you are well aware of data’s potential to drive business growth. It’s just that you’re faced with a colossal undertaking to separate valuable information from the volume of data available to you. Our survey of senior marketing professionals highlights this with seven in ten respondents (70%) admitting that data is underutilised within their organisation. A refreshingly honest admission and one that reflects many of the conversations we’re having with clients.

In 2017, focus will be crucial. Especially when you consider that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone, and the pace is showing no signs of slowing down.

So how can you tackle this in order to use data to create conversations and increase conversions? Here are five tips for 2017 based on trends we’ve observed from our work with clients this year, as well as the independent research we commissioned.

  1. Make assessing the quality and accuracy of your data a first port of call
    Over half (55%) of the marketers we surveyed believe that the quality or accuracy of available data is critical to driving marketing decisions, but only 36% said they were extremely satisfied with the quality of their data. Meanwhile, early movers are already deriving actionable insights from their data and your competitors could be among them. This is low-hanging fruit in the grand scheme of things and needs to be addressed.
  2. Invest in data insight to provide in-depth results and deliver influence 67% of businesses expect to invest more heavily in the coming years in standard software packages, such as Excel, even when more powerful data solutions are available. The urgency to improve data analytics processes can be hard to reconcile with the scarcity of resource with which to do so, that’s understood. But rather than adopt a sticking plaster approach, organisations should consider using a professional data company that can deliver more meaningful and in-depth results and drive genuine business impact.
  3. Develop a solid business case for data analytics
    Four out of five marketers (80%) say they need to make significant inroads with data analytics within the next two years or the business will suffer financially. However, over a third (35%) cite lack of budget as a barrier to achieving this. If you’re spending almost a day a week looking at customer data without it delivering, as our survey suggests, then that’s too much. Make the case for bringing in additional resource and expertise to free up some time so you can focus on other marketing duties, such as the more creative and strategic aspects of your job.
  4. Aim for better, not more
    71% of marketers feel overpowered, rather than empowered, by the data available to them. One overriding observation here is that marketers are using an extraordinarily high amount of data sources to inform their marketing decisions. From transactional and internal data to behavioural and socio-economic data, the list is endless. If you have the right infrastructure in place to cope with this volume, then this is absolutely the right approach. But those drowning in the volume should be careful not to bite off more than they can chew. Start small and aim big.
  5. Have a clear understanding of what good looks like
    What you should really be looking for from your data are the triggers that affect people’s behaviour depending on the situation they’re in. This is what will help you identify valuable upsell and cross sell opportunities. Similarly, monitoring changes in behaviour will help you establish lapsing triggers; the events that cause potential customers not to buy from you. Being aware of the opportunities within reach will keep you on track to improve the status quo.

The message that under-pins all of this is that to generate business growth in a data-driven marketing landscape, businesses must use insight to increase the value of existing customers and acquire profitable new ones. When combined with the potential to increase customer retention through a more engaging and tailored customer experience, surely there is no better reason to make 2017 the year for data action.

Author: Steve McNicholas, Managing Director, Marketing Solutions

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