How To Leverage Your Data To Deliver Your Marketing Objectives
All marketing programmes need to have a business case and yours should act as a compass for all your marketing decisions.
However, this can be easier said than done.
With more data than ever, more channels, tighter budgets and less people, it can be difficult to really understand how you are performing and how to focus on the activities that add the most commercial value.
"Data" in its widest sense (marketing databases, dashboards, reporting, insight analytics etc) should be a massive enabler and below we outline 10 tips that should help you to:
- 'close the loop' on your marketing activities,
- improve your decision-making
- deliver a strong marketing ROI.
#1 Closing the loop
You need to have full visibility of your sales funnel and of the customer journey.
Closed-loop marketing is the discipline of connecting all your marketing and transactional data so that you have a true 360 view of your customers and can understand their value, the value that each channel and combination of channels delivers and
It sounds painful but doesn't need to be and, as understanding all touchpoints from prospect to fan is a necessity for modern marketing, is unavoidable.
You can find out more about closed loop marketing here.
#2 Focus your metrics
It's all to easy to get information overload.
Be clear on your marketing objectives and define the KPIs that will help you know if you are achieving them. These should really be in your business case so it's worth reviewing what you included and if you are truly focussing your activity on them.
If you have to deliver a target, work back from the target and define, for example, the number of new customers you will need each week to hit the target. This should be a marketing KPI.
#3 Stop spin
In many organisations, 'data', 'insight' and 'reporting' are produced by different departments or by relatively junior people and then filters its way through the organisation before ultimately getting to decision-makers.
As the information filters through the organisation, it's human nature that it will be interpreted and reproduced.
At best, this delays information getting to the people who need it. At worst, it means that it gets spun and your aren't making decisions based purely on fact.
Aim to reduce the lead time from data producer to data user as much as possible and ensure that marketing decision-makers have an unadulterated view of performance.
#4 Get your performance reporting right
Your time should be focussed on what action you are going to take rather than on trying to work out what the information is telling you.
Give sufficient thought to how to visualise your information. It doesn't have to be perfect but pare your reporting down to the key facts and what you need to understand - you don't need a chart and a data table if the chart tells you all that you need to know.
#5 Test, learn and optimise
Don't just see you information as something static.
It should enable you to place you bets, understand what works and then bet again with greater confidence.
You should measure your tests by using you rmarketing KPIs but may want a different type of report.
#6 Measure your people
You need to understand how well your marketing process is operating and success in meeting key deliverables.
It may not sound pleasant to measure your people but inevitably your people (their engagement, their capability, their understanding) will make or break your marketing plan.
So you do need to understand how well your marketing workflow is adhered to and who is delivering the best results.
#7 Enable your people
Your people need to make decisions too. They will be more specific but they also need to focussed on the actions that they can take.
The same thought and focus should therefore apply to each individual and these 10 tips should be applied to all levels of your marketing department.
#8 Link your marketing metrics to sales
Likes, re-tweets and brand awareness count for nothing if you can't link them to business performance, and that means sales.
Again, build out from your business case to your marketing objectives to your specific activities and think about how you both measure them with consistency and relate them back to sales.
#9 Standardise your definitions
It may sounds obvious but every business will have multiple definitions of some metrics. If you have two different definitions of ROI or your trading week starts on a different day depending on whether you work in sales or marketing then you are going to waste a lot of time trying to understand performance and trying to explain performance.
Time that you should be spending deciding what you are going to do more or less of.
#10 Check and adjust your business case
It's very easy for a business case to be developed to get project funding and then never see the light of day.
You should continuously be comparing your performance against you business case.
By definition, your business case will contain a number of hypotheses and you need to understand whether they are proving right or wrong. The business case is your first step to commiting to a process of tesing and learning (tip #5), focussing your metrics (tip #2) and linking your marketing performance to sales (tip #8).
How have you used your data to make better marketing decisions? And what challenges have you encountered? We would love to hear from you.
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