Is Data The Core Of Business ?

Today, data plays a more crucial role in business than ever before. Data-driven marketing is not just a buzz term, it’s a real business need for those who want to stay competitive.

Data allows marketers to build strategies, to optimize strategies and to, subsequently, achieve tangible business results.

Data analysis done right provides deep insights but can also elevate the understanding of a complex situation. While data is not a panacea, 21st century marketing relies on data to provide the customer experience, personalization and automation that is required to succeed.

Closed loop attribution is still that elusive Holy Grail that each marketer dreams to achieve; Nirvana land. The reason this is still so difficult is that data analysis requires human “intervention”. It’s easy to set metrics that are not actually delivering the full picture or that are misleading. Always questions your metrics and attribution models.

To chip away on cracking the code on closed loop marketing and to understand how modern marketers are implementing data-driven marketing, I’ve once again collaborated with my friend and peer Natascha Thomson, CEO of the boutique social media consulting firm MarketingXLerator.

We reached out to our networks to get insights from some of the industries brightest minds and added some of our own experiences.

We asked the following question:

“Everybody talks about data-driven marketing. Are you using data for your social media marketing efforts? How does it guide your decisions?”

Laura Martinez Molera, Regional Marketing Manager LATAM at HubSpot Boston, MA

Nowadays, we have access to an important quantity of data regarding the behavior of our consumers, such us what they are consuming, what is the frequency, how involved they are and what do they prefer. As marketers, we need to analyze it and base decisions on the data to optimize our campaigns, get the best results and increase our ROI.

At HubSpot we base all our decisions on data, from the color and text of CTAs to the content of our nurturing emails. We gather information from our consumers such as the most visited websites, sources of our traffic (organic, social media, email, etc), the best topic for blog posts to get conversions, and best time of the day to publish. With all this information, we analyze and extract conclusions, so every time we create new content, we apply these findings to optimize the results.

A common practice is that we create Smart Content on our emails so we can offer personalized content based on consumers past preferences to create more targeted and relevant experiences.

For example, I easily adapt an email based on the response to the last received email, if they opened it, clicked it or convert on it. For the people who clicked but didn’t convert, I create a re-targeting campaign so I can give them more information on the topic to continue nurturing them and, eventually, help them convert.

Another typical practice is to do A/B tests on our Landing Pages to understand the best title, images and CTAs so I can make the Landing Page more attractive, convert a greater part of the audience and close more deals.

Contact with Laura :

Twitter : @LauraMolera

LinkedIn : Laura Martinez Molera

Simon Kemp, Founder of Kepios ~ Singapore

Yes, I’m a big fan of data, as evidenced by my ongoing series of reports into the state of digital, social and mobile around the world. Whenever possible, I use data to help my clients in their marketing work, but I also make use of it in my own efforts too. It doesn’t have to be ‘big’ data to make a difference though; simple insights can often add real value too.

For example, understanding which kinds of content drive different kinds of outcomes has particular value, and I use simple social media data to identify these insights. For example, I’ve noticed that my longer, more in-depth posts like this drive more invitations to connect on LinkedIn, but often result in fewer ‘basic’ responses (e.g. likes) compared to my more simple social shares like this one. Obviously you’ll need to work out what you’re aiming for in terms of outcomes for this to be most useful to you, but I’ve found this basic data has helped me grow different kinds of audience — with different kinds of value — on different digital platforms.

These data also suggest that there are certain times of day and days of the week that perform well, but I find that this kind of data can be dangerous; if you always post at a similar time, it gets more difficult to broaden your network or audience beyond the one you’ve already established. However, knowing when certain kinds of content work (or don’t work) makes it easier to plan important updates and shares. It’s knowing when — and how — to use data that makes the difference between empty numbers and meaningful insights.

I also like to look at other people’s results; a quick look at what performs well for my peers and competitors helps me understand what people and companies are looking for, and that helps to guide the kinds of content that I create. I suggest looking at which of their posts perform best, and then looking to see whether you can create content that adds new value to that conversation. Similarly, if there are any posts of theirs that you expected to do well, but which didn’t generate the kinds of results you’d expected, try to see whether you can identify the cause of that disappointing performance.

Lastly, keep an eye on what platforms people are using, as well what they’re using them for. People’s behaviors evolve all the time, so keeping an eye on your network’s habits can help you to better plan your own platform mix and content approach.

Contact with Simon :

Twitter : @Eskimom

LinkedIn : Simon Kemp

Shino Tanaka, Digital Media Consultant at ST/co — Mountain View, CA

Absolutely. You must use data to inform, develop and adjust your social media marketing efforts. This data impacts scope, timing, budget…so it’s a significant part of the decision making process. Ultimately, if you better understand your audience through data, you can leverage it to create more meaningful campaing.

Contact with Shino :

Twitter : @ShinoTanaka

LinkedIn : Shino Tanaka

Shilpi Agarwal, Founder & Chief Social Data Analyst at Social Strategi — Silicon Valley, CA

Data is abundant. Everyone agrees that you can’t create a winning social media strategy without knowing your KPIs and constantly looking at data. But the winning components are ‘contextual’ and ‘relevant’ data.

I look at data from my social media from this perspective. I try to understand the stories hidden in this data, what it reveals about our social media fans, followers, our customers, their behavior and our competition.

Next, I look at how I can apply these social data insights to business growth which guides my decisions.

Contact with Shilpi :

Twitter : @ShilpiAgarwal01

LinkedIn : Shilpi Agarwal

Natascha Thomson, CEO MarketingXLerator ~ San Francisco, CA

For large organizations, it is literally impossible to provide a great customer experience, including relevant personalization, without business analytics. Big data is one of those terms we are tired of hearing but the fact is, those who ignore data for their marketing efforts will fall behind.

As Benny Landa predicted in the 90s: “Everything that can be digital will be digital“. Everything that can be tracked, automated and analyzed will be analyzed

For my own use at MarketingXLerator, it starts with easy-to-use tools like Buffer that help to schedule and provide analytics. And even without third party tools, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn provide so many more insights today than only a couple of years ago. I leverage this information for my clients, small or large, to inform the best marketing strategy.

Contact with Natascha :

Twitter : @NaThomson

LinkedIn : Natascha Thomson

Juan Carlos Giraldo, Small Business Marketing Consultant and Founder of Podcast and Business ~ Boston, MA

Everyone are talking about data but the most important thing is what we will do with this data.

As podcaster, I am constantly checking my data, at least three times a week, for each of my episodes and their performance, after and during of launch it. Data allows me to redirect my strategy towards my listeners or even create written content related to my episodes to promote more and more my podcast.

Libsyn, my podcast platform provides me, how, when, where or from which platform, device or browser was listened some episode of my podcast.

Data is essential to decide what’s next steps in our marketing strategy.

A big thank you to our contributors. Please share your own experiences with data-driven marketing with us!

Natascha and Juan Carlos

PS: This article is also available on LinkedIn