If you’re interested in data-driven marketing and would like to find out how smart data could help you deliver a higher marketing ROI, you’ve stumbled upon the right article.

Throughout the past couple of years, the foundations of the marketing industry have been rocked, to say the least. Previously, marketers relied heavily on their ability to direct a marketing campaign in the right direction based on their gut feelings.

How To Use Smart Data To Deliver A Higher Marketing ROI

However, today, marketers are finding their way back to what is considered the most reliable source of information – Customer Data.

Not everyone is finding the shift seamless and many people within the industry still carry a number of unanswered questions or clouds of vagueness regarding certain processes. Some people find obstacles when it comes to locating the relevant data. Some others, find it hard to comprehend how they are supposed to use the information that they already have in order to make sense of it.

The basics of this approach will be tackled throughout this article. Explanations will be kept as simple as possible in an effort towards making understanding as stress-free as it can be.

Marketers who have adopted the data-driven approach use details regarding the interaction of their customers with a particular brand in order to predict their future needs, desires and even behaviours. The selection of customers is referred to as their target audience.

This information, in turn, helps them towards developing personalised marketing strategies that will give them the highest possible return on investment.

In order to understand the difference between data-driven marketing and traditional marketing one must go back to the very basics. Naturally, marketing has always followed this pattern:

  1. Discover your customers’ needs and desires – Gaining a thorough understanding of your target audience;
  2. Use the information that you’ve gathered to identify and then even anticipate your customers’ needs;
  3. Tailor your marketing strategies in order to deliver the right goods to your target audience.

Traditional marketers attempted to do what we’ve described above by using the market studies that were available at the time and by making assumptions about their respective target audiences. The problem with this approach was that it brought along with it, a substantial amount of trial and error. Previously, companies launched a good number of strategies before finding the one that would actually be best suited for them to achieve their goals.

Contrastingly, the data-driven marketing approach allows marketers to get to their customers at the right time while also offering the right product or service. Apart from the substantial improvement in communication, data-driven marketing also manage to personalise a users’ experience, target well-defined marketing segments and also bring new customers to their tables. When this data is acquired, companies are allowed to measure and also improve their strategies on the spot.

Every 2 out of 3 leading marketers admit that data-based decisions completely trump gut instincts.

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Here is a list of ways in which marketers can benefit from using the data-driven approach:

  1. Data will allow you to gain better insights into your target audience’s mind;
  2. Data will allow you to build stronger connections with potential customers;
  3. The best channels for promoting your brand or service will be uncovered;
  4. You will be able to personalise and tailor your strategies so that your target audience doesn’t feel overwhelmed with ads about things they don’t care about.

Like any other strategy in the world, this one does come with its own set of challenges. When it comes to the data-driven marketing approach the most commonly faced challenges are:

  1. Gathering the necessary data;
  2. Collating the data and making sense of it;
  3. Overcoming your large amounts of data in order to analyse the data;
  4. Build your own in-house data team.

Now that the challenges have been listed, were going to offer you possible solutions to them!

  1. The data is already in your hands and can be found in a multitude of places; your CRM, your social media channels, your eCommerce and advertising tools, your ERP system and your website analytics.
  2. If you want to make sense of this data, you will need some sort of marketing. This will allow you to connect all your sources into one platform. The dashboard syncs information from your channels and displays it in your preferred way in order to help you understand it better.
  3. If your data is gathered in more than one place this step will not be the easiest, however, it can also be solved with some hard work;
    • Common data standards should be set up;
    • The data exchange culture should be changed;
    • Embrace a marketing dashboard.
  4. Building your own team will allow you to set up a single centre of data management while also having the ability to give individual support to critical teams.

In order to make sure that what we’ve highlighted above is understood in the best way possible we’ll be closing with a direct example of how other companies have used data-driven marketing.

Example – Making use of candidate data in order to predict industry job patterns.

This example was given by Rocksteady Digital Agency Ltd.

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One of Rocksteady’s customers, an award-winning job placement agency wanted to identify when clients start re-opening job opportunities after the impact of Covid-19 and post-Covid business recovery. They wanted to make sure they have a sufficient and active talent pool that would meet the change in recruitment demands and they also wanted to run their ads during the right periods of time.

Candidate and client data from a variety of jurisdictions world-over were integrated into one dashboard and it was then correlated with the industry staffing trends.

An immediate observation arose that changed what the company previously believed to be true.

  • Workers want to reskill, especially in digital: 77% are ready to learn new skills or completely retrain;
  • Remote work is in demand: 72% of people who can work remotely prefer a flexible mix of in-person and remote working;
  • There’s a strong desire for greater inclusivity: 50% of workers say they’ve faced discrimination at work;
  • People are concerned about job security: 60% are worried that automation is putting many jobs at risk;
  • The best time to advertise job opportunities was in fact not after the post-Covid business recovery.

Now that we’ve gone through the basics of data-driven marketing you should have a much better idea of what it is and it works in simple terms. Let’s go through it one last time:

  1. Make sure that your data has objectives tied to it – know what you want to find out;
  2. Gather that data – find places that allow you to access that particular set of data;
  3. Collect that data and organise it – pick your preferred data platform to store and organise your data;
  4. Build your in-house team – this will depend on your goals, but a team will definitely help you to analyse and act on the data, in turn.
  5. Get organisational buy-in – make sure your stakeholders agree with your decision to attempt data-driven marketing.
  6. Measure and track your company’s process – find a way to monitor how your campaigns are performing in order to be able to analyse your actions as well as provide your findings with a report to present to management or stakeholders.

Although this feat might not be the simplest one, it definitely offers a lot of upsides. If data-driven marketing is not something you’ve considered before, this information should have been the gentle push that might have been needed. Data is gold. With the right data, ultimately you maximise ROI in both time and money.

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