Using Data to Drive Better Marketing Decisions

September Newsletter 2023

Data, data, data. We all know it’s important, and we all collect it for everything from customer behavior to productivity clues, market insights, and beyond. However, a lot of times there’s a big disconnect between having data and using it to drive better marketing decisions. To use data effectively, marketers should focus on specific goals, embrace the power of data visualization, use tools to automate and streamline, constantly refine the process, and be willing to innovate and try new things! Don’t worry, it seems like a lot, but all of these actions fit together quite seamlessly in a comprehensive marketing strategy. Here’s how to harness the power of data to make better marketing decisions. 

Less is More: Stop Measuring Everything

Your marketing team now has the ability to measure (almost) everything. Want to know how someone navigates through your page? Easy, install Hotjar. Wondering if your backlinks are driving traffic? Done, SEMrush has you covered. And so on, until there is virtually no stone left unturned in terms of marketing data. The wonderful part about this is that you’ll be able to drive better marketing decisions in no time. However, it’s easy to get bogged down with the sheer quantity of information available. 

Keep in mind that not all metrics will be relevant to your specific goals. So, instead of getting lost in a sea of numbers, pinpoint the metrics that directly influence your objectives and monitor them closely. In the most broad sense, marketers are focused on understanding their audience so they can personalize the marketing experience and get new customers. Beyond that, they want to know that their strategies are working. Stick to those basic metrics and expand from there. One of the keys to making the data work for you is being selective about what you’re measuring and taking a deep dive when necessary, not every day. 

Embrace the Power of Data Visualization

Data visualization is a powerful tool that transforms complex data sets into understandable and actionable insights. It helps in quickly identifying patterns, trends, and anomalies. Visual data representation, in the form of infographics, heat maps, dashboards, graphs, and more, makes it easier for marketers to understand consumer behavior, track campaign performance, and make real-time decisions. 

“I really can’t stress enough how much data visualization has allowed our clients to drive better marketing decisions,” noted, Toby Doebrich, Director of Digital Marketing at MDG. “Time and time again, we’ve witnessed marketing teams have that ah-ha moment so much faster when their exploring dashboards or viewing heat maps. They’ve then been able to apply though insights almost immediately.” 

Data visualization is a great way to drive stakeholder engagement and get everyone on the same page quickly. With visualization, you’re allowing the data to tell the story, rather than speaking to the changes or making assumptions about customer behavior. One of the great parts about data visualization is that it can demonstrate more complex relationships than just numbers alone. 

Harness Tools to Automate and Streamline

There are tools for everything these days, and you’re probably already using a lot of them to collect, analyze, and visualize data. Using these tools can save time and ensure accuracy. Tools serve the purpose of streamlining operations and automating repetitive tasks. When you use tools correctly, your team can focus on crafting strategies instead of getting entangled in manual data collection and analysis.

Data visualization tools are vital to driving better marketing decisions. There are off-the-shelf data visualization tools that can be helpful, such as Data Studio and Tableau, but as your organization grows and requires more customization, data studio might not cut it. In that case, working with a partner, like MDG, to develop a custom tool tailored to your requirements can be transformative. This not only offers flexibility and customization but also ensures that you’re getting data most relevant to your goals, not every other agency in the US.

“As companies expand and their needs change, it makes sense for them to have a data visualization tool that can evolve with them,” noted Doebrich. “We’ve seen far too many occasions when an off-the-shelf tool limited the potential of the marketing team because of its generic offerings.” 

Reevaluate Regularly

What works today might not be effective tomorrow. It’s crucial to constantly reevaluate your data collection, processing, and visualization processes. Ensure you’re adapting to changes and evolving your strategies accordingly. With your team, work to build this into your marketing strategy. Best practices should always be identified and applied because they can go a long way in saving time and money. But, as with any process, don’t assume they will work forever. Evaluating your data processes is a great way to keep your team thinking relevantly and embracing change. There’s nothing more disruptive or beneficial than tweaking processes to make them more effective. 

Stay Experimental

The beauty of data-driven marketing is that it allows for constant optimization. Be open to trying different approaches, tools, and techniques because you’ve put in the work to create a solid marketing foundation that won’t topple if you experience a few failures. Running A/B tests, for instance, can provide insights into what resonates best with your audience, and trying new tools can breathe life into a once stale social media platform. Experimentation can keep you top of your industry, and when you do it with minimal risk, it makes everyone more willing to engage with off-the-wall ideas. Be disruptive!

Using data for marketing decisions doesn’t mean getting lost in endless numbers. It’s about focusing on the right data, visualizing it for better comprehension, automating where possible, and being adaptive and experimental. When executed correctly, data-driven marketing can lead to more personalized customer experiences, effective targeting, and increased customer acquisition.