After months of speculation, discussion and preparation, GDPR finally comes into effect this week. As organisations put the finishing touches to their strategies and updated policy documents, one word that will be on every marketer’s lips is data. After all, it is the scale and speed at which customer data is collected, and the perceived need for greater regulation to protect customer’s personal information, that has fuelled the implementation of GDPR.
All this shows that data has, for many years now, become an increasingly central element of marketing and a tool upon which ever more brands are reliant. Since data is used for everything from personalisation to measuring marketing campaigns, it is difficult to imagine how any modern marketing could take place without it.
With this in mind, here are three things you need to know about data to improve your marketing strategy.
Marketing Land argues that any brand’s target audience most likely spends a large proportion of their time on social media and using mobile apps. However, many platforms like Google, Facebook and Amazon prefer to keep the lion’s share of their user’s data to themselves for their own advantage. With so much traffic passing through these platforms, this has therefore made customer acquisition difficult, as it limits an organisation’s capacity to acquire new data on prospective customers.
To overcome this challenge, Marketing Land suggests that ‘one of the most effective ways brands can target [new customers] is by bringing their existing opted-in datasets to social media.’ Arguing that ‘your own data is typically much more relevant to your marketing efforts’ than that which a third party like Facebook chooses to share, Marketing Land suggests creating your own custom audience sets. By triangulating information to match datasets with ‘email addresses, identifiers/tags provided by the social media sites themselves and mobile advertising IDs,’ this approach allows marketers to ‘encourage repeat visits, whether in-store or online […] or try to win shoppers from competitive locations.’
Measuring your return on marketing investment (ROI) has long been a central tenet of marketing, with each brand trying to achieve successful campaigns, efficient spending and evidence to learn from going forward. Yet with the advances in data acquisition and implementation, marketing measurement has become more advanced but simultaneously more complex.
According to Kimberly Whitler writing for Forbes, the amount of data available ‘allows marketers the opportunity to deliver 1-to-1 customer experiences [on] a massive scale,’ meaning ‘a business with a million customers can deliver an experience just as tailored as a business with a dozen customers.’ This has also meant that ‘no longer satisfied with one-dimensional reach and frequency scores, or hang-time on websites, marketers are looking for real, measurable performance from their investments.’
Inc.com believes that employing data for ROI purposes is one of its key benefits, as it means that marketers are ‘able to gather and analyse data in huge amounts [which] will enable us to conduct much more conclusive testing.’ By testing and then tailoring your offering to each audience segment, your campaign can therefore be as streamlined and targeted as possible and deliver high ROI.
No discussion of data would be complete without acknowledging the symbiotic relationship that exists between data and technological development. It is fair to say that without technological development, marketers would not have the depth of insight into or capacity to work with customer data to the extent they do today. Likewise, extensive customer data allows companies to better understand client needs and demands, further feeding the development of new technologies.
With this in mind, keeping pace with technological developments is a must if you are going to make the most of data in your marketing strategy. According to an article by The HR Director, current data offerings are often siloed, which makes acquiring strong, actionable data sets difficult for many marketers. The article argues that ‘merging big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology’ will solve this problem and will create ‘an Amazon-like marketplace’ of data that marketers can buy in to in order to better inform their strategies. It suggests that this combination of technology will democratise big data and ‘level the data playing field by providing the most comprehensive marketing data solution to all businesses and individuals.’
However you intend to use data in your marketing strategy, there is little doubt that understanding its uses and benefits will have a positive effect on ROI, customer acquisition and long term development.