For years now, we’ve been hearing marketers beating the drum of “Big Data.” Big Data is the future. Big Data will irreversibly change the marketing landscape. Big Data will save our brands and our economy. But has all the fuss over Big Data been a big whoop?
Not exactly. See, the future is now, and Big Data is here. Marketers have access to vast amounts of first-, second-, and third-party research—an unprecedented treasure trove of data. But like anything, familiarity breeds contempt. Or in this case, indifference. Now that the shroud of mystery has been pulled away, data and analytics just feels like another ho-hum task on your to-do list.
Data-driven marketing seemed to peak before it even really arrived. It’s out-of-fashion, stodgy and dull compared to the rest of the AI-enhanced, VR-enabled marketing world. But in the realm of growth marketing—a strategic and calculated method designed to achieve long-term, sustainable brand growth—data and analytics are pivotal to success.
How to Use Data-Driven Marketing for Brand Growth
Companies that put their focus on data-driven marketing found they were six times as likely to be profitable when compared to their competitors. Many marketers prioritize using data for predictive marketing purposes, analyzing the numbers to forecast customer behaviors and anticipate the most effective campaigns.
But truly data-driven marketing happens at every stage of the buyer’s journey. End-to-end funnel optimization is needed to understand when and how to apply the numbers for the biggest impact. Factor in growth marketing, which is a whole other animal, and you’ve got a lot to think about. So here are our top tips for leveraging data to reach new heights in growth marketing.
Lay the Groundwork
You have to know where you are right now before you can create a map to where you’re going. Data will help you get a clear, big-picture understanding of your current performance, any gaps you need to fill, and whether or not you’re adequately reaching your target audience. Take a look at your buyer persona—does it really represent your brand? Do your products or services fill a need and solve their biggest pain points? What about the buyer’s journey? How are you reaching customers at each stage? Where does the data indicate they drop off? Understand this so you can set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based) goals and track your success.
Set Your Metrics
There’s so much to measure, so where do you start? That will depend on your goals. Say you want to grow your organic traffic. You need to be measuring the data relevant to your SEO strategy, like keywords, backlinks, domain authority, and more. Your content strategy will have a different set of key metrics. So will your lead gen strategy, and so on. Here’s a list of some of the top metrics will provide insights across the board:
- Customer data: This first-party data is incredibly valuable. Dig into your CRM to find insights into your existing customers and leverage it against your campaigns.
- Conversion rate: Calculate conversion rate by dividing the number of visitors by the number of conversions.
- Customer acquisition cost: How much does each customer cost you? Add up your total expenses (both sales and marketing), and divide it by the number of new customers acquired.
- Leads generated: Keep a close eye on MQLs and SQLs, but also look at drop-off, to find out where the leaks are in your funnel.
- Customer lifetime value: This indicates the total profitability of every customer while they use your product or service. Multiply the average purchase amount by the number of purchases in a year, then multiply by the average length of the customer relationship (in years).
Conduct A/B Testing
If you created a Venn diagram of growth marketing and data-driven marketing, A/B testing would be right in the center. Testing and experimentation is at the core of all growth marketing, but it’s also one of the top ways to collect first-party data. You should be creating A/B tests for all of your marketing campaigns—landing pages, emails, lead gen assets and more. Go through the growth marketing cycle—hypothesis, testing, analysis and back to testing—to find and then implement what works.
Stay Up-to-Date on the Latest Tools
The way you harvest and analyze data is just as important as the data itself. Be sure your tech and cloud stack is up-to-date, and that your team knows how to find the most critical insights. Also be aware of any coming changes so you can prepare in advance. For instance, Google’s latest updates on third-party cookies and the switch to GA4 (and ultimate sunsetting of Universal Analytics) will have a major impact on your data analysis. Test out tools like Klipfolio, Ahrefs, Semrush, and others to see what gives you the most visibility, and the most important KPIs. Understand that you might need to utilize several tools in conjunction with one another to see all the results you need.
Big Data has been around for a while now, but it’s already become something of a lost art. However, like most things, what’s old is new again, and data will eventually come back in fashion. However, if you want to be on the cutting edge of both data-driven and growth marketing (and see the impact reflected in your results), the time to rekindle your love affair with Big Data (or spark a new one) is now.