Data is King/Queen: A Deep Dive into How Data Shapes Advanced Marketing Strategies
Aug 1, 2023
Originally published in
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Imagine if you could unlock the door to your customer's mind. If a treasure chest held their preferences, behaviors, and expectations, and you had the key, wouldn't it revolutionize the way you do business?
As a matter of fact, that key already exists, and it's called 'data,' - the unseen and often underappreciated hero of modern marketing.
However, with the rise of data privacy regulations and recent changes by Google to decommission cookie-tracking, it is now more important than ever to have a clean and healthy database, with a strategy for capturing first and zero-party data. Regulations are constantly changing, so your data practice must be flexible and always improving.
Recent studies show that companies using data-driven personalization see a lift in revenue upwards of 25%. Also, a surprising 52% of consumers say they will switch brands if a business doesn’t customize communications to them.
At Whereoware, we understand the critical significance of these developments and take a data-first approach to all initiatives, making data a priority in guiding our customer experience strategy for ourselves and our clients.
In this article, we delve into the importance of data in marketing; understanding your target audience better; why clean data matters; how data types can revolutionize user experience (UX) customizations; and 4 data-driven strategies to lead your own path to data success.
The Power of Data in Marketing – Understanding Your Target Audience
In the digital landscape, ‘data’ is often referred to as the new oil, representing a valuable, reusable, sought-after resource. However, envisioning data as a compass would be more appropriate, accurately guiding your marketing efforts towards success.
Through data, you can understand who your customers are, what they want, and how they behave.
This isn’t just demographic data like age, gender, or location; it's about their behaviors, preferences, and pain points.
Information collected through website analytics, search, social media interactions, and customer feedback provides valuable insights that allow you to tailor your marketing messages, enhance customer engagement, and increase conversions.
The Importance of Clean Data
Clean data is precise, consistent, and free from inaccuracies or discrepancies. It might seem like a minute detail, but the significance of clean data is monumental.
You could devise the most sophisticated data-driven strategies, but if the data itself is outdated or incorrect, it could lead to misguided decisions, ineffective marketing campaigns, wasted marketing spend, and poor customer experiences.
Today’s modern Martech stacks and AI tools are fueled by clean data. If you don’t get this piece right, automated campaigns fail, recommendation engines sputter, and personalization tactics misfire.
Messy data might be incomplete, outdated, inaccurate, or stale.
Regular data audits and hygiene practices can help ensure your data remains clean and actionable.
The Data Spectrum: Zero-Party, First-Party, Second-Party, and Third-Party
Understanding the various types of data, unique collection methods, and their potential implications can equip marketers with a more comprehensive view of their audience and business landscape.
Zero-party data refers to the information your customers voluntarily share with you. It can be gathered through surveys and questionnaires, registration and contact forms, or email preferences.
Zero-party data is gold for personalization because it's directly from the source—your customers. It provides explicit insight into what your customers desire and expect, empowering you to curate highly personalized and effective experiences.
First-party data is information collected directly from your interactions with customers.
This includes data from website visits, purchases, social media engagements, or app usage.
It's highly valuable because it's owned by you, precise, up-to-date, and reliable, offering clear insights into customer behavior. Analytics platforms or your CRM are great tools to collect this type of data.
Second-party data is another company's first-party data that you obtain directly from them. Strategic partnerships or data purchase agreements are common ways to acquire this data.
Second-party data enables you to extend your understanding of customers beyond your own interactions and can provide insights that could potentially complement your existing data pool. We recommend first and zero-party data over second-party and other third-party sources.
Third-party data is purchased from companies that collect and sell information from various sources.
For example, if you previously ran pay-per-click ads using Google’s targeting capabilities, you are leveraging Google’s third-party data – it's not owned by you, captured on your website, or handed to you willingly. (Google is now phasing out third-party cookies in response to data privacy concerns and changing customer sentiment).
Market research firms and data brokers are common sources. Although often seen as less reliable due to its indirect collection, it can supplement your existing data for a broader understanding of market trends and behaviors.
The right mix of zero-party, first-party, second-party, and third-party data can help create a comprehensive picture of your audience.
Once you've gathered and cleaned your data, it's time to put it to use. The key here is optimization—shaping user experiences based on the insights from your data.
The Dance Between Data, UX Optimizations, Web Analytics, and AI
Data and UX optimizations go hand-in-hand. The better the data, the more personalized and effective the user experience.
From product recommendations to personalized email campaigns, data allows you to anticipate and meet individual customer needs. It enables you to identify frictions or opportunities to make the experience simpler or more satisfying. It roots your optimization strategy in objectivity and fact, to make confident decisions, improvements, and testing plans.
“UX design is the process of using data and an empathic understanding of end users to create meaningful experiences that enable clients to do what they do faster and better.” Source: HSBC
But how do we harness this data and use it effectively? The answer lies in developing a data strategy that incorporates data architecture and data layers.
At Whereoware, one of the initial steps we undertake when crafting a data strategy for our clients is setting up of a data layer.
An equally important aspect to consider is the interoperability of your technological data architecture. At its simplest, an integrated and holistic data architecture breaks down common siloes that hamper visibility and harm your ability to rely and act on your data.
It's crucial to understand how your Customer Data Platform (CDP), like Salesforce Cloud, integrates with your marketing automation platform, such as HubSpot. This holistic view of your tech stack ensures a seamless flow of data, enhancing your ability to respond effectively to customer needs. It enables you to act on your data in real time, by triggering automated campaigns based on customer activity, for example.
A cornerstone to this process is web analytics. By analyzing metrics such as bounce rate, session duration, and conversion rate, you can understand how users interact with your website. For example, the steps a visitor takes before making a purchase, completing a form etc.
These tools are also helpful in continuously identifying areas for improvement and optimizing for better outcomes. At Whereoware we use solutions like Google Analytics 4 and Domo.
Keeping Up with the Joneses: Incorporating AI
Leveraging AI can significantly augment your data-driven strategies. From predicting customer behavior and automating routine tasks, to offering real-time personalization, AI can transform your business operations.
What is an example of using AI on my website, you ask?
Let’s take a look at AI-driven website search functionality. AI leverages user information to provide personalized responses to specific search queries.
User behaviors, such as whether they are logged in or the number of web pages they've visited, are placed into various segments. AI recognizes these segments and presents users with a tailored query, enhancing the user experience, improving discovery, and increasing the time spent on your site.
AI is built on a foundation of clean data and uses machine learning to predict patterns and get smarter over time. Overwhelmed by a huge volume of data? For AI, it’s a piece of cake, detecting anomalies, patterns, trends, and commonalities far quicker than a human brain.
With AI, you can work smarter, not harder, driving efficiency, and freeing up valuable time.
Let's take a look at how we used data, analytics, and AI to achieve a successful user experience for a client.
Data in Action – Customer Success
We worked with client, Currey & Company to understand why prospective customers were not completing their online partner registration application. After a thorough UX audit and data analysis, it was revealed that the process was overly complicated, leading to user abandonment
The Solution: Whereoware restructured and streamlined webpage content to ensure critical information is clearly visible. An automated email journey was also built to encourage prospects to complete their registration application, while reducing the amount of work required by internal teams.
Currey & Company case study demonstrates how data-driven UX customizations, powered by web analytics, can transform user experiences and drive business growth.
4 Data-Driven Personalization Strategies
We’ve clearly uncovered that embracing data-driven strategies can be a game-changer for businesses. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to effectively implement them into your own data strategy.
Collect and Analyze Data: The first step is to collect as much relevant data as possible. Use tools like website analytics, CRM systems, and social media analytics to gather insights about your customers' behaviors, preferences, and needs. Review zero, first, second, and third-party data.
Segment Your Audience: Once you've collected the data, segment your audience based on their behaviors and preferences. This will allow you to target each segment with personalized marketing messages. For a deeper dive into creating personas, check out our step-by-step guide. AI is a really useful solution for parsing customer data and helping to build out personas or audience segments.
Create Personalized Content: Now that you know who your segments are and what they want, you can create content that resonates with them. This could be personalized emails, targeted ads, or tailored website experiences. It’s also a good idea to tie this in with your Content Strategy.
Measure, Test and Optimize: Always test your strategies and continuously optimize them based on the results. Use A/B testing to compare different approaches and see which one works best. Always keep an eye on your key performance indicators (KPIs) and adjust your strategies as needed. Get 25+ conversion rate optimization tips from our guide.
Remember, your data practice is never complete. Just like your customers’ experience must constantly be audited and optimized (using data), your database health, practices, and use cases should consistently be enhanced and improved over time.
Data isn't just king; it's the backbone of any successful marketing strategy. It can mean the difference between marketing campaigns that hit home and ones that miss the mark.
As marketers, it’s a vital tool in our toolkit providing us a profound understanding of our audience, allowing us to deliver tailored experiences that not only meet but exceed customer expectations – ultimately driving business growth.
At Whereoware, we believe a data-first approach is the future and are here to help your business build the foundation for it.