To benefit both brand and consumer, marketers need an effective strategy behind utilizing data. In this article, Susan Rothwell, Senior Vice President of Sales, Valassis Digital, explains, how marketers can use data to transform campaigns, optimize results and reach business objectives
Data is a crucial commodity in today’s marketing ecosystem, helping brands connect to consumers with relevant information at the most opportune moment. With the ability to ingrain data throughout the marketing and advertising funnel, brands can ensure their budget dollars are going toward the most impactful campaigns and help increase the lifetime value of a customer through meaningful interactions. As a testament to the importance of data in marketing campaigns, eMarketer found that more than 40% of brands plan to expand their data-driven marketing budgets this year.
But the use of data isn’t just benefiting brands. With the increase in data-driven marketing, consumers have also realized its benefits. In fact, according to Forrester Research, 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.
It’s clear that data needs to be an integral part of marketing plans to benefit both the brand and consumer, but there needs to be an effective strategy behind it. For campaigns to succeed, marketers need to take customer insights and leverage them through the planning, optimization and measurement stages. This will drive sales, and ultimately, the success of a business.
Good Campaigns Start with Data
Careful consideration of data needs to be the starting point of all campaigns. It should influence both the advertising creative as well as which customers will be targeted. With customer data in hand, marketers can predict buying behaviors, determine the most effective touchpoints and target the most compatible audience.
During the planning stage, brands and their media agencies should seek to leverage both online and offline data to develop the most holistic customer profile. This should incorporate location data, preferred channels for engagement and past purchasing behaviors. According to the Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising, more than half of surveyed marketers and advertisers agree the demand to deliver more “customer-centric” communications is one of the most important factors leading data-driven marketing investments. Marketers must create content relevant to every step along a consumer’s path to purchase and constantly mine the data for new and actionable insights.
Optimizing Campaigns with Data
Valuable insights produced throughout your campaign are used to optimize ad delivery and targeting media campaigns to the right audience have a direct correlation to its success or failure. If campaigns aren’t targeted to the most applicable customer segments, businesses risk wasting budget and hurting brand reputation with trivial messaging. On the flip side, if a campaign is over-targeted, a company may not be able to drive ROI because not enough people were included.
With the right offline and online data incorporated into a customer profile, brands can optimize their campaigns, ensuring they are highly targeted and relevant to activate customers. By reaching the right consumers via personalization and location data, marketers can focus on specific digital touchpoints and channels to maintain brand loyalty.
For example, in an effort to drive brand awareness and foot traffic during the busy back-to-college season, a leading furniture retailer launched a multi-channel media campaign through direct mail and cross-device display media to target college students.
To further enhance its targeting efforts, the retailer leveraged online and offline data, including consumer web/app behaviors for college students. High-indexing neighborhoods were determined based on demographics, lifestyle and past purchases. The retailer also used location-aware, dynamic mobile media to drive immediate impact and influence of store selection. As a result of this accurately targeted campaign, the retailer saw a lift of more than 13% in foot traffic.
Influencing Future Campaigns
Even when a campaign has ended, data still plays a key role in the overall marketing strategy for a business. But in order to make this data actionable, brands need to set clear key performance indicators (KPIs) that match business objectives from the beginning of a campaign.
Post-campaign data will provide important information for future campaigns. The most informative lessons can often be learned from looking at the previous campaigns’ data. Brands can see whether a certain customer segment responds to a specific message or whether a message resonated better through a particular channel. In the example above, the furniture retailer can use the data and insights from its back-to-college campaign to inform its next college-targeted campaign, including which channels resulted in the highest engagement among this customer segment. Leveraging historical data in future campaigns will help a business make the most of its budget and increase ROI.
We live in a data-driven world, but a key differentiator between a successful and failed campaign – and ultimately business sales – comes down to how data is used. It can influence a media campaign from beginning to end, helping brands identify audiences, predict future behaviors and inform brands of the most fruitful tactics. It can also benefit consumers by ensuring they receive appropriate, personalized messaging at the right time and place.
Through the use of data and effective targeting brands can be confident a campaign will help them successfully reach their business objectives.