8 Rules for Data Driven Marketing

8 Rules for Data Driven Marketing

  1. Start with the Basics:  It’s very easy to become obsessed with pinpointing the ultimate ROI-based marketing metrics, but rather than hunt for ‘the killer’ indicators, it’s best to identify a few easy-to-implement, basic metrics that can provide a sound assessment of both performance and ROI.  These can include number of leads, number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), number of MQLs pending sales review, and the number of MQLs recycled/accepted. All of these will give you an idea of how to ensure leads have the proper number of touch points to be qualified and get to the right sales person for conversion.
  2. Think Big, Start Small: Your data-driven strategy should be a combination of small wins and long term goals.  For example, it’s relatively straightforward to track the conversion of leads into opportunities.  It’s much harder to track the ROI on search engine marketing campaigns if you want to track ROI all the way to closed deals that were touched by 10 to 20 different campaigns.  Both are important. So get your quick wins where possible and recognise that other data points will take much longer to realise.  For example, in search engine marketing, you will need to tie Google, Yahoo, Bing and others to your website to begin, then connect your site with Marketo, Salesforce, and your data warehouse. After that, you’ll need to do attribution across marketing campaigns.  There are several places where tagging and data sharing can go wrong so be prepared and allocate time for setbacks.
  3. Take an Action-Based Approach:  It’s easy to come up with a wish list of data and much harder to find actionable data.  All too often, an analysis of marketing analysis will take days of crunching numbers, only to discover that there is no smoking gun or major opportunity to optimise the business. The best data-driven marketers will find ways to minimise the time they spend “exploring” data and accelerate their time-to-insight.  When you’re considering the data you want to analyse ask yourself two questions:
    1. “If I had this data regularly, how could I improve my efforts?” If you can’t answer this question, there is probably a better analysis to run. 
    2. “What is the quick and dirty version of this analysis?”  If a cursory analysis of the data doesn’t yield much, it may be an indicator that the data isn’t as important as initially thought, or, at least, not as actionable.  
  4. Pick your Battles:  There will always be an infinite number of metrics you can analyse, but more often than not, less is more.  Whatever the major ‘needle movers’ are for your business, put 80 percent of your effort into optimising those rather than focusing on ‘a thousand points of ' Once you’ve picked your ‘battleground states’, the real analysis begins to determine how to improve tracking, fine tune efforts, etc.— then you just need to wash, rinse, repeat over time.  With big metrics, the low hanging fruit often isn’t there, but with focus and dedication, these key drivers can improve significantly over time with small, steady enhancements. 
  5. Beware of Small Sample Sizes: One can quickly go blind tracking down the cause behind every dip and spike in results.  All too often, it will be impossible to pinpoint the underlying cause of these peaks and valleys. Instead of obsessing over them, stay focused on the big picture and overall trends.  It’s often better to look at trends or campaigns quarter over quarter rather than week over week in order to draw more accurate conclusions on overall success. This is especially true when it comes to international data because every country has its own ebb and flow due to cultural nuances, market drivers and societal biases.
  6. It Takes a Village: To have a truly data-driven marketing organisation, you need every marketing employee to be goal oriented and diligent about performing analysis.  There are too many nuances and exceptions in marketing to have just one marketing analyst and your CMO making all of the data-drivenAs they say, ‘it takes a village.’ To ensure the data used to enhance marketing efforts is accurate and can be trusted, you need the entire market context held by each analyst. Collaboration is key!
  7. Create a Shared Learning Organisation: When it comes to marketing drives, it’s usually better to have a ‘long tail’ to each campaign, meaning it runs for many months or years. Doing so gives you and your team the ability to message test, refine, launch, analyse and adjust as needed to increase the success rate and traction. Being able to complete the review cycle quickly and incorporate those learnings in near-real-time is key. Having an organisation trained in the art of launching, benchmarking, and re-visiting all cross-marketing efforts will pay the biggest dividends over time.
  8. The Devil is in the Details:  Having reliable partners on both your operations and sales teams is key to executing on any data-driven marketing program. Otherwise, many great marketing ideas will be poorly executed and leads will go untouched. Thinking through the entire marketing process, understanding the cast of characters involved, and taking steps to ensure all are aligned around a common goal is critical to success. 

By Ashley Stirrup, CMO, Talend

This article was prepared by a guest blogger and the opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Fifth Quadrant.

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This article was prepared by a guest blogger and/or reprinted with permission and thus the opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Fifth Quadrant.

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