You might have heard about a little conference we organise called Digital Gaggle. Twice a year we invite digital marketing experts to come to Bristol and speak on a particular topic. At the most recent event in April we had Jon Greenhalgh, a data wizard from Branded3, come along and talk about how to “do clever stuff with data”. Namely, how data can be used to deliver growth in the most efficient way possible.
Jon argued that understanding your audience in more detail necessitates the use of tech and data science; to maximise your marketing efforts you must utilise this data in focused and targeted campaigns, which must be reviewed, adjusted, tested and tweaked.
But, what’s the point? Why bother spending time and effort analysing your data list?
Read: do you want to waste money?
I assume your answer here is no.
This, largely, was the message of Jon’s talk: if you can use data effectively, you will be spending your budget efficiently because you'll be sending out your carefully curated PR/marketing messages to the right ears.
Same Time, Same Place?
Jon made it clear that targeting your entire list with the same message, at the same time, in the same places is pointless - everyone is different and so should be spoken to in different ways. Whilst mass marketing has served a purpose for brands in the past, there is an industry shift to move away from sweeping, generalised messaging to “fulfilling the needs and desires of individuals, at the moment that matters to them” (not a quote from a fancy philosopher but wise words from Jon Greenhalgh).
What you want to do is talk to (or give the impression that you're talking to) your prospects and customers on a 1-1 basis and generalised mass messages just don’t work for this. Everyone hates a group text, am I right?!
The industry still has a way to go when it comes to efficiently segmenting lists. “Data” in all its forms is growing in volume exponentially; we are drowning in it. Finding a path to wade through the murky math-y mass is hard and requires proper planning.
Jon predicts that artificial intelligence will be a game changer for marketers, with technology being developed that will understand micro-moments and even predict consumer behaviours - thereby aiding us human beans to tailor our messages thoroughly. Assuming data regulations allow it, that is.
In the words of our speaker: “We don't want to do what Cambridge Analytica did with data...well we do a little bit…”
Tips For Using Your Data
Jon’s five tips are a super helpful starting point if you're just starting out on a 'using data to inform your marketing' journey.
- Define your outcomes: what will success look like to you? What are your marketing goals?
- Audit your data: understand what data you already have, how clean it is and what gaps exist.
- Plan how to fill the data gaps: establish some data collection strategies. How can you begin to identify your existing customers and personas on a 1-1 basis, or a segmented basis?
- Commit to data quality and take the pledge: “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good data”. Aim to continuously improve your data collection and retention practise, not just for regulation and legal purposes but also for value and revenue purposes.
- Turn to technology: identify where your tools and tech are succeeding and where they are failing.
So you’ve tidied up your lists and got a strategy in place, now what? You need to model your data through customer profiling so that you can better communicate with your customers, as helpfully demonstrated on Jon’s slides with lego:
Know how valuable your customers are:
And know where they hang out:
Build your customer profiles and develop specific communication strategies for each. Consider how they like to engage: what times of the day, how often, which platforms, where they are in the customer journey, what tone of voice they respond to. You get the picture.
Maximise returns by talking to the right audience, in right place, at the right time and produce assets in response to what you have learnt about your customers. According to Jon, Google and Facebook - and more, I assume - are profiling individuals with this in mind, so as a marketer you need to be ready and waiting with your expertly curated content that is targeted at your specific demographic.
- Get to really know and understand your audience from the data you already have on them. Familiarising yourself with the likes, dislikes, demographics, and behaviours of your customers is crucial to defining your marketing efforts.
- Manage the methods you use to get this data so it is clean, segmented accurately and optimised for your business use. It goes without saying that you should be compliant with any and all regulations which apply to your business... GDPR, I’m looking at you.
- You should build customer profiles and assign each customer profile a monetary value. For each profile make a note of how best to engage with them, which platforms you should engage with them on and what times of day they like to communicate, and then use these well-rounded profiles to develop a comms strategy.
- Put these three takeaways together and you get in-depth audience insights that can be used to optimise your conversion rates, wheey! Jon’s talk at Digital Gaggle was mega insightful and filled to the brim with helpful strategies and tips for the effective use of data. Plus, drinks were on Branded3, so all round good vibes to Jon and his team!