… and if you're not using data to improve your business then you must be crazy!
Nowadays, the use of data is an integral part of everyday life. Whether you’re generating it or analysing it – we live in a world where it is hard to escape from data. In the world of Marketing, and particularly B2B Marketing, the correct use of data can be transformative.
B2B data marketing can enhance communications with clients and is key for improving campaign performance and refining business strategy. The analysis of data has evolved to point where it has become of critical importance in decision-making when evaluating a digital marketing campaign.
Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers, recently said, “Data is the key competitive differentiator in today’s business environment.”
We agree with Dell’s quote - at the B2B Marketing Lab we crunch data on a daily basis for our clients, but we wondered whether it was the same in other businesses. So we decided to do a little research into the latest trends in marketing data usage to see what studies have been conducted and see if data crunching is seen in as high regard as we see it. This is what we discovered…
Recent studies show the impact and importance of data in B2B
The importance of data is growing considerably each year and data is expected to be even more essential in the coming years according to reports such as, “The Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising” or “The Economist Intelligence Unit”.
According to The Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising; that surveyed 3000 data driven marketers and advertisers from companies in 17 countries - 73% of respondents agreed that data budgets would rise over the next year. The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed over 600 business leaders across the globe who also confirmed a growing use of data driven b2b marketing decisions in business.
Use the appropriate data to boost ROI
Understand the right data can boost ROI and the efficiency of marketing efforts. Before you scream “Lies, lies and damned statistics”, we want to put it on record that analysing and measuring the right data on a regular basis will lead to better data quality and will help to define the needs of your company or your client’s needs. It will also help you to set and prioritise your business goals and act as a guide for sound decision making.
Using data is key to learning more about your audience and engaging with them, whether this is in real time or at a time that the data tells you is best for your customers. Data helps you understand what drives prospects to engage with your brand, how are they reaching you, how they interact with your brand and ultimately what makes them ready to start the purchase process.
This analysis becomes key when uncovering trends to forecast future trends and to improving decision-making. However with so much data available, how can you be sure that you analysing the right thing? To help you we’ve listed three simple guidelines to consider when accessing your data so that you stay on the right track:
- What is happening? – For example are you witnessing a sharp increase or decrease in website visits/ subscriptions/ downloads/ purchases or different customer behaviour based on their interactions with your website or communications?
- Why is this happening? – For example is there any internal/external situations that has occured, that might have caused a fluctuation in the data? The launch of a new product; a new marketing campaign that has kicked off or an event that received lots of recognition for the brand? The analytical data available should always have a link back to the wider operations of the business.
- What is going to happen? – For example looking back at historical data can enable you to understand trends at a particular time in order to prepare for future events. This is great for risk management or planning how to respond to a foreseeable issue. Looking back to learn lessons is key to moving forward and with the abundance of data available to us, it is now easier than ever.
The Secret Sauce
When analysing data, it is essential to understand the context behind it and using the three guidelines above will enable you to always consider the context when drilling down into individual specific events within your data as you use the insight to better understand how your business is performing.
The data available to businesses is becoming larger and more complex - this is a challenge for marketing departments as they work to separate the “wheat from the chaff” in the customer data.
The key ingredient is always to get closer to the consumer, using as much data-driven analysis as possible. This usually requires the introduction of analytical software platforms together with good set of analytical skills and knowledge in order to translate data into presentable and digestible reports that can be shared with the wider business and key decision makers.
Another key ingredient to this data analysis is the innovation of the digital analysts employed to perform this number crunching, getting the right balance of analytical understanding and wider business acumen will provide a competitive advantage and continuous growth.
We know that technology improves at a phenomenal rate and it can be tricky for teams to keep up to speed with the latest and greatest analytical tools. Therefore it is essential to match that rate of development with innovative training and professional development that keeps your digital team with their fingers firmly on the pulse of analytics and the use of data.
Understanding your data is key to the future success of your business. If you don’t already have the basic level of website monitoring set-up through Google Analytics and monitoring the results on a regular basis then you are failing. Sure there is a tipping point as to how much emphasis you should put on data – but not investing any focus onto it at all is, in this day and age, just plain crazy.