Numbers never lie. I like to use this phrase a lot when working with teams on marketing strategies. Regardless of what your objectives are within your marketing strategy, you need that strategy to be data-driven.
The quickest way to failure for advertisers and marketers is to carry on without data, performance measurement and benchmarks to guide your team. I’d argue that the most essential data is that about your customers, prospects, online audiences and even customers and fans of your competitors.
What you need is intel on consumers that can help your marketing team make an impact on your bottom line.
Consumer data is like the North Star for marketers. The more you know about audiences, the more your entire team will move in the right direction. Information about consumers, their behavior, their relationship to your brand or industry, and emotions, is all vital data that you shouldn’t proceed without.
So, how do you find the right customer data? And what do you do with it once you have it? Use this quick, easy 3-step guide as your pseudo-GPS and you’ll find your way:
In the old days, we marketed to the masses. Our messages were designed for a broad audience and then we hoped that it stuck. We didn’t do audience segmentation and targeting.
Now we need our marketing strategies to target people at scale. Even recent changes in expectation from online users shows us that personalization is the most important factor in resonating with the audience.
For brands looking to make a more personalized experience for their customers, they need to utilize data about their audiences.
Surely then, the best data we can capture is first-party data. This kind of information, unlike second or third-party data, consists of information that is given voluntarily by people. This can come by way of online user data, cookies, surveys, polls, and even user created content- such as a tweet or a blog post-- anything that is provided by and freely given by people.
This is far-and-away is the most important data to capture. Why? Because it is presumably highly accurate information and is therefore the highest quality data on consumers. It’s the most genuine insights that you can rely on as a marketer.
Cookies and other encrypted data are very limited; however, here are some more effective ways to capture that first-party data:
- CRM and marketing automation platform data
- Social listening platforms
- Social media channel data
- Surveys like Survey Monkey
- Google Analytics data
- App usage and download data
To understand your customers, you need to crowdsource their opinions, which entails the gathering of information from specific groups. One of the most classic ways to do this is run a survey.
Every statistics professor will tell you that the survey is far from perfect. They’re a great way to gather information for the purpose of getting a general idea of sentiment around a topic, but we need to go further.
Surveys are inherently flawed for a couple of reasons: they are difficult to get a good sample size and they are typically designed to gather data to benefit the party putting on the survey, not to help the people participating in the survey. Additionally, the fact that there is a survey leads to bias within the answers.
But you’re a savvy marketer, and you want to gather information from consumers so you can be the one to solve their needs. A strong marketing strategy gets to the heart of people’s pain points, needs, passions and interests.
In addition to surveys, you’ll need to utilize other resources to get the right consumer insights. Here are some important attributes for those insights to keep in mind:
- Large sample size
- Unbiased responses
- Incorporates the use of technology
- Unsolicited conversations and opinions
- Doesn’t rely on automation
A great technological resource is social listening. Tools like Infegy Atlas can help address many of those important qualities in accurate market research.
Social listening is crowdsourcing over a digital interface. A listening tool’s intelligence software has the ability to scour the entire digital world of text to analyze and understand what people are saying. It can even pick up on sarcasm or misspellings and eliminate irrelevant content from the data.
Through social listening, you can quickly get a large sample size of unsolicited results that are scalable and unbiased [Checking the boxes, amiright?]. Because this measures real-time conversations from people, you can make the most of marketing research technology without losing the human element.
So, how does this data affect your marketing strategy?
Beyond just getting customer feedback about the brand and products, consumer insights can be a key piece to the marketing puzzle. How people think and feel about your brand, your industry or even your competitors is an important consideration when creating your marketing strategies.
This provides you with two essential elements in the marketing strategy process:
- Finding out what matters to consumers
- How to develop your brand’s messaging to show you can fit those consumers’ needs
With the information you gather during consumer research, you can connect the many dots between who your customers, potential customers, online audiences and other people who are interested in you. Make this part of your ongoing process.
As you discover more and more about your audience, use this information to guide your branding, advertising, marketing content, and any other consumer facing messages.
When we build our industry reports, we research relentlessly and discover data that can help our potential customers find the answers to the many questions they have when it comes to marketing and advertising. We ask ourselves, what does the audience need right here? How can we make this data work harder for them?
Look for the trends in the insights and document it within your strategy, your briefs, pitch decks, and reports. It’s imperative that everyone on your team is well versed in the audience research and that you use it to guide your strategy.
In these 3 simple steps, you can make your consumer research go further for your marketing team. It’s clear that the more high quality data you have, the more effective your marketing strategies can be. Use the insights collected during audience research to leverage your marketing efforts and you’ll agree, the truth is in the numbers.