Data can be applied to just about any element of business. When implemented thoughtfully, data can hugely benefit your organization by giving you better insights with which to make decisions. Marketing is one area that can benefit hugely from applying data analysis. Here’s how to do that effectively.
Two Steps Involved in Data Application
Applying data to a problem or process involves two basic steps. Data collection refers to the creation and/or gathering of data. Depending on your application and needs, this may be from a single source or from many. Methods for creating and collecting data vary widely. These could include survey responses, statistics from your social media profiles, analytics from your website, databases of prospective customers, behavior profiles, contracting analyses, and much more.
The second step necessary in this process is to make sense of the data you collected. Data analysis involves taking the raw data you gathered in the previous step and processing it in a way that makes it useful to you and your decision-making as a business, department, or organization.
The analysis is often conducted using software tools that can range from simple to robust. Business Intelligence (BI) platforms are one common tool type for conducting data analysis, but depending on the type(s) of data that are relevant to your application, you may need a different tool, set of tools, or platform.
How to Use Data to Inform Your Marketing Efforts
Effectively using data to create or inform your marketing strategy requires that you complete three key stages while designing your data method.
Determine the Question(s) You Need to Answer
The purpose of data analysis is to create insights that can answer questions, provide guidance, or derive intelligence that allows you and your organization to operate more effectively. Many organizations make the mistake of collecting volumes of data they hope will magically make them more successful. But data itself doesn’t do anything – it requires a thoughtful method of translating that data into learnings and implementation to make it useful.
The first step, therefore, of building a data strategy is to figure out exactly what you need the data to help you learn. Do you need to know what marketing channels provide the best ROI? Where the best leads are coming from? What demographics are utilizing your product the longest? Know what questions you need answered before moving ahead.
Decide What Data You’ll Need
Before spending time filling hard drives and spreadsheets with information, determining exactly what data will provide the insights you need will save you time and resources down the road. What you need to collect should be informed by the questions you determined in the previous step. While it’s not a harm to collect more than you might need, sometimes data overwhelm can end up being even less productive than not having data in the first place.
Enact a Plan to Apply Your Learnings
Conducting data analysis without deciding on a strategy for implementing the learnings it creates can be a complete waste of time. If you plan to incorporate data analysis to help inform your marketing strategy, decide what structures you’ll use to make sure the resulting insights get implemented.
That could look like assigning a particular team member with taking charge, setting up a monthly or quarterly meeting to review data and create action steps, or whatever works for your company and team. Whatever it may look like, intentionality is key.
Applying data analysis to your marketing efforts can provide significant benefits in the forms of increased efficiency, decreased spending, better customer experiences when interacting with your brand, and more. By taking the time to do it right, you can fast-track those benefits for your organization.