Data driven marketing is quickly becoming the go-to strategy for small businesses and marketers.
It’s a hot new thing, sure, but is it just another trend and buzzword being sold as the “fix all”?
Or does it actually have legs in being a viable way to help you make more sense of your marketing and inform your decision making?
In this blog post, we’ll explore all the common questions we get asked, unpack what data-driven marketing is (and isn’t), introduce how to implement it without needing spreadsheets of data or complex funnels, and we’ll uncover how to leverage it to its fullest potential in your marketing strategies!
Buckle up and grab your safety goggles – we’re going in…
What is Data Driven Marketing?
Data-Driven Marketing, the latest panacea for all your marketing problems. Or so they say.
We’ve got some news for you, our approach to data-driven marketing is a little different. We like to keep things simple, accessible, and most importantly, devoid of over-hyped buzzwords. #LevelUp #GetUnstuck
At its core, we use data-driven marketing to help entrepreneurs gain autonomy over their business and marketing campaigns. It’s a way to get answers to all the burning questions you have about your marketing efforts, without having to rely on a so-called ‘guru’ or feeling like you’re constantly shooting in the dark.
Think of it as a no-nonsense way of observing what’s happening in your business, asking really good questions about your observations, and using data to experiment and find answers.
Data is the answer to “I wonder what would happen if…”
Used correctly, data-driven marketing can help you improve connections and conversions, and grow your business without being swayed by opinions, fads, or shiny objects.
It’s a way to gain autonomy, be in control, and make informed decisions without having to rely on anyone else.
Which is how you grow the business you want, in the way you want to.
Definition of Data Driven Marketing
Most people will give you a definition like this:
Data driven marketing is a strategy that incorporates many data points, buyer personas, and customer interactions to make sense of raw data that informs how to improve marketing campaigns, media buying strategies, marketing messages, and overall customer experiences in order to increase bottom-line revenue and profit.
But, we’re not like everyone else (have you picked up on that yet?) and that’s a mouthful…
So we’re not going to give you that same old definition, because that’s not actually how we use it.
Here’s our definition:
Data driven marketing is how you grow and scale your business by taking into account your experience, expertise, intuition and observations of your business and marketing ecosystem and running those through a scientific process to test your hypotheses in order to learn, grow, scale and innovate.
The goal is to use data not only to increase sales through your marketing strategies, but to also have the tools to confidently make your own decisions and build your business your way.
Benefits of Data Driven Marketing
What we’re NOT going to tell you is that data-driven marketing is a silver bullet that is going to solve all your problems and magically tell you what to do with your marketing approach… ‘Cuz it’s not.
However, it IS going to immensely change the way you approach your own marketing, and most of our clients find that it answers one really important question:
And, possibly most importantly, it tells you what you can STOP doing because, let’s face it, we all get caught up in doing things that don’t matter, just so we can tell people we’re busy and look important. 🙋
When you focus on only the marketing that is worth your time, energy, and effort, it results in a more sustainable business, increased bottom line revenue, and a marketing approach that takes into account your humanity, making sure you give your customers and clients the best while staying true to who you are.
Types of Data Used in Data Driven Marketing
The problem with data for most people is that it’s overwhelming, terrifying, or confusing and you fall into one of two camps:
- Too overwhelmed by Google Analytics and spreadsheets full of numbers to even look at it.
- You have the data, but you have no clue what to do with it (or maybe you’re avoiding what it might say).
Well, we have good news for you!
Data can actually be quite simple and accessible, if you know where to focus.
Yes, there’s a ton of data out there, but there’s actually only a small amount of data that you should actually even look at. And the key to knowing what data to look at is to know what question you’re trying to answer.
But the big misnomer about data is that it requires a wall of numbers and marketing data – usually related to ads, funnels, KPIs, content strategy, email marketing metrics, etc. – used by large marketing teams to track customer data and consumer interactions in order to unlock some mysterious secret about raking in the dough…
(yeah, that’s kind of a load of BS…)
In reality, marketing data can be utilized in your business in two forms, as explained here:
This is data in the form of numbers. Your typical things like conversion rates, CPC, open rates, and profit margins are all quantitative. Most people think all data is quantitative data.
This is data that is descriptive, expressed in language and not numbers. This kind of data would answer questions like “why did you (or didn’t you) buy?” and “how does this marketing strategy make me feel?”. Qualitative data is just as valuable as quantitative data, but less people leverage it.
How to Implement a Data Driven Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve learned the difference between qualitative and quantitative data and you’ve got a good grip on the goal of data-driven marketing – now it’s time to get our hands dirty and put it all together.
But, before we dive in, a little caveat: data-driven marketing doesn’t work without some good old-fashioned guts. You need traffic flowin’ and conversions happenin’ in order to track any data worth a darn.
And that’s why we’re introducing you to our core principle:
(For the uninitiated, that stands for “F*ck Around and Find Out.”)
There are so many ideas that driven, visionary, and innovative entrepreneurs come up with regularly, but how many do you follow through on? We fear failure, judgment and shame of FAFO-ing.
But, if you want to achieve the goal of getting from Point A to Point B, you’re going to have to take some risks and do some shit.
Because here’s the thing – you won’t know if it’s “worth it” until you have enough data to tell you. You can’t “fail” if you learn something. And f*ck what other people think about what you’re doing. Business isn’t built in a vacuum, you’re going to have to take those big ideas and try them.
So, if you’re ready to embrace the FAFO mentality, let’s start exploring those nagging thoughts you’ve been having about your business or marketing. You know the ones – “what would happen if…” – that you’ve been too scared, busy, or dismissive to really consider.That’s where the Scientific Marketing Method (think back to those elementary days of developing experiments, folks) comes in – we’re going to lean on your intuition, expertise, and life experience to test that “what if” idea and learn from the results.
This is how the Scientific Marketing Method does that:
Observe and Identify
Make an observation about your business or marketing that’s holding you back.
Decide where you are now, where you want to be, and what you want to FAFO with in order to close that gap – leads, conversions, customer experiences, content strategy, social media platform testing, offer redevelopment, you name it.
Develop a clear “if/then” statement about what you’re going to test, what data (remember, qualitative or quantitative is fair game) will be important to understand your results, and a time frame for the experiment.
Let ‘er ride and FAFO. This may take time, especially if you have less traffic or resources to dedicate to the experiment, but that’s all the more reason to give it time.
Get all your data in one place so you can see the bigger picture and spot any outliers.
You have to make sense of your numbers through comprehensive data analysis and this can be the hardest part.
Having an outside expert (like us) can come in handy, as we’re not emotionally attached to your data like you are. A good Biz B*tchslap might be just what you need to see things clearly.
Take what you’ve learned and use it to optimize your marketing solutions.
Whether the experiment was a wild success or a miserable failure, you’ll have learned some valuable marketing insights that will allow you to repeat the process.
The key here is to get in the habit of choosing experiments that are both relevant and actionable in your business.
Remember that the point of this process is to repeat it as often as you need to or want to as your business grows, you observe new things, and develop more questions about what’s happening and what you’re seeing. This is the way.
Tools for Tracking and Measuring Performance
Tracking and measuring performance is essential for any data-driven marketing strategy, buuuuuut it can quickly get overwhelming.
It takes a special kind of person to love Google Analytics and Dashboard Studios (or any of the other complex data-tracking tools out there). Chrissie is that kind of person; Eliya is not.
Can more complex tools give you better insights into customer behavior and help you optimize your campaigns and maximize ROI faster? Yes.
IF those tools overwhelm you, will you use them or ever look at your data? NOPE.
Sometimes a good ol’ Google spreadsheet is enough to track and measure what you need to. Both are okay.
But here are some of the most popular tools available to track and measure performance:
A UTM (or Urchin Tracking Module) is an extended URL that you create that tracks where traffic is coming from when someone clicks on it – this is the key to knowing if new leads are finding you via Facebook or Instagram, Youtube, or any other platform and if your content strategy or media buying is working.
You can track your UTMs in a spreadsheet, or we like UTM.io for a builder that doesn’t rely on spreadsheets.
KPIs and Conversion
There is a lot you can track natively inside your social media platform, funnel builder, or email service provider but it’s not going to give you that 10,000 ft view of your performance that’s really going to help you observe behavior and optimize it.
We highly recommend finding someone who can build you a dashboard in Looker Studio like we do, which allows you to track everything from customer journey to buying behavior and funnel conversions all in one place.
There are also third party tools that can do this, like Agency Analytics, but Looker Studio is our favorite right now.
With tools to track and synthesize your traffic and your conversions, you can easily get a holistic view of what’s happening in your marketing so you’re no longer shooting in the dark and hoping for the best.
Gone are the days of being overwhelmed by the data or scared to death of what it might tell you. Now, you can confidently navigate your own business and make decisions based on actual data to help you strengthen your marketing messages, content marketing, offers, ads, emails, funnels, and everything in between that makes the experience top notch for you and your people.
So pat yourself on the back, because with these tools, you’ve reached the pinnacle of business autonomy. (Or as autonomous as you can be with your dog as your only employee. #Dog-ployeesForLife)
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Best Practices for Utilizing Data Driven Insights
There’s a lot that data can tell you, especially when you’re utilizing it in the way that we’re outlining it here, but (as you now know) it can’t do everything.
At the end of the day, data-driven marketing has flaws – and big ones.
Here are the top 3 best practices we encourage our clients to remember when dabbling in data-driven marketing:
Use data as one part of your strategy, but not all of it.
If you’re overwhelmed or afraid of data, it’s easy to want to compartmentalize it and look at metrics within specific silos – email metrics are only used to fix emails, customer information can help your messaging resonate with your target audiences, conversion rates are only used to fix sales pages, CPC is only used to validate paid traffic – but data doesn’t live in a silo.
In reality, individualized metrics might take on a completely different meaning when you look at them as a whole and against the bigger picture.
This is why it’s important to pull back from individual data sets, so you don’t miss the nuance in the relationship between data and within it.
Data is just one piece of the puzzle.
Recognize that data is as biased as you are.
Data doesn’t “tell a story”; we tell a story about the data we’re interpreting – and this can be extremely dangerous. The way we read and utilize our data can be easily clouded by our biases, opinions, and emotions.
Instead of looking for a story in your data, remember that data doesn’t have emotions, which means you have to approach it without emotions as well, and allow yourself to be right, wrong, or anywhere in between. This is often why having an outside perspective (like in a Biz B*tchslap) can be so helpful. When you’re too close to your data, or emotionally attached to it, the risk of misinterpreting it is high.
Ask better questions to utilize data-driven marketing better.
Data driven marketing (the Data Driven Rebel way) is based on making keen observations and answering your questions, or hypotheses.
So, if you want to utilize data for better marketing insights, you have to ask better questions of your observations.
In order to do this, you need to become a student of your consumers, and get obsessed with understanding them and how they interact with your brand. It also means you have to become obsessed with yourself, and how you want to inject the most of yourself into your business to build something that is 100% you.
What the FAQ is Data Driven Marketing?
Data-driven marketing is the process of using data to inform decisions and strategies in order to maximize potential. It requires acutely observing consumer behavior and your own desires in order to develop hypotheses around what you want to optimize in your business and develop experiments that can prove or disprove those hypotheses. In doing this, you’re able to incorporate your expertise and experience with what your consumers need from you as you scale sustainably.
Data-driven marketing can be used for everything from small use cases, like optimizing email deliverability or engagement to larger use cases, analyzing complex consumer data, tracking complex ad and funnel performance, and more effectively reaching your target market.
It can also be used for answering those “what if…” questions that are not quantifiable. You may wonder what would happen if you work less hours in a week in order to help give you more time off. You may wonder what adding more 1:1 access to your group coaching container would do for clients. Neither of those things have numbers we can assign to them, but are still valid and important experiments for you.
Data-driven marketing not only gives you the tools to understand and optimize your marketing for your target market, but it actually gives you the tools to build your business autonomously – on your own, without building it based on someone else’s plan, strategy, or (worse yet) opinions. Your offers, solutions, and experiences are unique and should be incorporated into your marketing. Data-driven marketing makes that possible by giving you permission to FAFO as a tool for innovation, without the risk.
With the right tools and principles in place, data-driven insights can solve all your business problems and make you rich and successful... just kidding!
But seriously, incorporating data into your business does have the potential to help you answer those tough questions and find new solutions. Just remember, it all starts with observing your marketing, asking good questions, developing hypotheses, and not being afraid to try, fail, and try again.
And hey, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or scared, just think about all the successful businesses that have built their success through experimenting and testing. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to look back on your journey and say “I built this, and it’s uniquely me”.
Ready to make your Biz 100% that b*tch you want it to be – and more?!
Book a Biz B*tchslap for a 60-min private strategy session with us!