Data-driven marketing can help small businesses drive engagement, maximise ROI and get the most out of their resources. After all, data-driven marketing insights can help you target the right audience at the right time, and who wants to blow their budget blitzing random audience segments and creating impressions that won’t convert?


But while data can be a small business’s most valuable resource, today’s customer is becoming more and more unpredictable. They’re switching between channels. They’re dropping in and out of sales funnels. They’re using more and more sources to research products and share opinions. In other words, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for small businesses to truly know their customers. The ironic part? Today’s customers expect businesses to know them better than ever.


Now, you need precise analytics to engage your audience. The future is being driven by data. However, turning data into actionable information can be a process fraught with blind alleys and dead ends. Here’s your guide for how to use your data to create a better roadmap towards your customer – and avoid the Information Superhighway to nowhere.



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What is data-driven marketing?


Data-driven marketing is a way to use customer information to craft personal messaging and deliver better customer experiences. By having the right insights, businesses can anticipate the needs of their customer and deliver the right messaging and offerings at the right time. 


For example, imagine that you run a lawn care business. Your data shows you that the customers in one up-and-coming neighbourhood don’t have a lot of disposable income and are likely to be sensitive to price. Your marketing message for this area could be tailored to focus on cost as your differentiator.

Meanwhile, the residents in another part of town could have higher household incomes, larger lawns and be more concerned with bespoke service. Your marketing message for this area could be tailored to focus on your award-winning service or eco-friendly products. 


Now, if you were to reverse the messaging, you’d probably struggle with engagement. But by using data to address your audience’s priorities, you’ll see high click-through rates and more conversions. That’s the power of targeted data – and why so many businesses are now writing data-driven success stories.


The benefits of data-driven marketing


It’s important to let go of hunches and gut feelings when it comes to marketing today. By letting your data lead you to your customer, you’ll discover a range of benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Targeting well-defined audience segments and offering tailored communications means a higher conversion rate. In fact, 72% of customers only engage with brands that offer personalised communications. Customers are happy to share data, but what you do with that data will define your relationship.

  • Lower and more impactful ad spend, enabling you to deliver personalised 1-to-1- experiences at a massive scale.

  • Improve the customer experience and build trust by only offering relevant content, rather than intrusive, one-size-fits all ads. Over 90% of consumers say that they are more likely to shop with businesses that provide relevant offers and recommendations.

  • Increased ROI. A lower marketing spend and more personal engagement means that you can expect a better return on your investment, as well as increased lifetime customer value.

  • Step up the data cycle and gain new insights to tweak processes and perfect your marketing campaigns. Real-time campaign data to continuously keep up with customers’ expectations.

  • Discover the best channels for promotion, so that you can optimise those channels and provide experiences that stand out from the crowd.

  • Increase customer satisfaction and drive long-term loyalty by using data to deliver what your customers need, when they need it.



5 tips for creating a data-driven marketing strategy for your SME


1. Identify clear objectives for your data. Data is most effective when it’s powering a strategy. For instance, you may want to use your data to drive ad impressions, increase your website conversion rate or lower your cost-per-click. Once you have clear goals in place, you’ll have a better understanding of how you can use your data to reach those goals. But don’t just identify use cases, look at how you can create a more data-driven culture. According to Tableau research, 74% of employees say they’re more likely to stay with a company that provides them with the data skills they need. 

2. Smash any information siloes and centralise your data. Without a single view of your customer, it can be hard to have the full picture of their needs. Centralising your data management will eliminate rogue data that could present an incorrect picture of your audience. Smashing departmental siloes and uniting disparate data storehouses can also improve trust in an organisation’s data. This enables your marketing team to create more effective strategies based on reliable information, rather than assumptions. 

3. Make sure that your channels match your audience. Your data will tell you where your audience likes to spend their time. Do they hang out on Instagram? What kind of ads do they respond to? Do they use live chat? Self-service? Email? Voice? Do they look at reviews? Do they respond to visuals? How about long-form content? Your data can help you look beyond marketing KPIs and get a more holistic view of your customer’s lifestyle. You can then adjust your strategy and offer an omnichannel experience to engage your audience more effectively.

4. Consider whether automation can help you place ads more efficiently and reduce your marketing spend. Forty-one percent of marketers say that machine learning and automation have had the most impact on their revenue growth and performance. Do some research and look at whether something like programmatic marketing can help maximise your marketing spend. By using granular data to automatically buy and sell digital ad space, you can create hyper-targeted ad campaigns that have high impact and provide maximum ROI.

5. Leverage artificial intelligence to create frictionless journeys and personalise individual channel experiences. AI is not just the future – it’s already here. In fact, the State of Sales report shows that high-performing marketing teams average seven use cases for AI. Additionally, 70% of high-performing marketing teams have a clearly defined AI strategy, versus just 35% of underperforming teams. If you’re not already using AI, you may be asking your marketing team to do some unnecessary heavy lifting. You may also be using valuable marketing resources creating impressions that are unlikely to convert.


Build a toolkit for delivering better insights and turbocharging your marketing strategy


Once you have a good idea about how you want to use your data, you can make sure that you have the right tools for the job.

Tableau makes data visual, with customisable dashboards that allow you to view and share deep analytical insights. In order to act on those insights, you can use Marketing Cloud to create personalised journeys and track campaigns. And if you want to skill up the workforce to learn new digital skills, then check out Trailhead, an on-demand learning platform where you can create personalised learning journeys.

To see more about how you can manage your data to connect with the customer, download the CRM Handbook. And to take Marketing Cloud for a spin, check out the demo.

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