Have you ever come across a digital marketing campaign that left you with more questions than answers? You know, the irrelevant kind that ultimately ended up being marked as spam simply because the product or service, the timing, delivery, and tone were nowhere near your buyer persona?
Of course, you have. We know the feeling. Such campaigns are unfortunately so common even today despite the fact that marketing has evolved and continues to evolve every day.
To put this worrying trend into context, 36 percent of all emails are made up of marketing communication or advertising. Now, that makes room for a lot of emails that get sent to the wrong, uninterested people, right?
And in case you are wondering why you keep receiving these kinds of emails, it’s simply because many small and medium businesses (SMBs) are still using marketing strategies and tactics that are purely based on “gut feelings”.
The idea of hurling marketing tactics on the wall to see what hopefully sticks will not work in today’s highly digital-driven environment. Why? The answer is quite straightforward really.
You see, modern consumers’ buying habits have significantly evolved. Their needs and wants also keep changing, not to mention the constant need for a different experience every time they embark on a shopping spree – whether offline or online.
The widespread use of the internet, which clocked over 3.97 billion users in 2019, and the phenomenal surge in social media with over 4.2 billion active users globally have completely changed how consumers spend their money.
The fact that most consumers today are spending more and more time online means that they are leaving huge chunks of valuable data floating around the internet. This is data that SMBs can use to create better digital campaigns and marketing communication that ultimately delivers those elusive leads.
What Is Data-Driven Marketing?
Data-driven marketing is the tactic of leveraging vast amounts of customer information to create customized and effective marketing processes and campaigns. Data-driven marketing also helps to optimize an organization’s marketing strategy since specific consumer demographics can be targeted directly.
Data-driven marketing is crucial to SMBs primarily because it helps marketers accurately determine what works and what doesn’t. This allows them to create marketing campaigns that are based on better insights into what exactly their target audience is looking for at any given time.
This marketing approach has numerous benefits, including:
Blanket digital campaigns don’t generate the much-needed leads or sales boost for SMBs. Different customers have different needs and expectations.
This means that in order to grab your targeted audience’s attention, you must create personalized marketing campaigns that deliver meaningful messages. Data-driven marketing allows you to expose your target audience to relevant products and services hence improving your chances to convert them into buying customers.
2. Better Customer Experience
Customers are now increasingly buying experience more than products or services. More and more customers are staying loyal to companies and brands mostly because of the experience they receive as and when they interact with them.
According to a PwC survey, 63 percent of American consumers say they are willing to share more (personal) data with a company that offers a great experience. Data-driven marketing helps SMBs become agile with speed and convenience becoming a top priority for consumers today.
3. Product Development
Even though today’s consumer is largely focused on customer experience, the quality of a product and service still plays a critical role in their purchase decision. This is why businesses are spending a fortune on product/service research and development (R&D) year on year. Companies like Amazon, which spent in excess of US$28 billion in 2019, Microsoft, and Apple are big on R&D.
R&D departments rely heavily on data, which, in turn, helps these companies produce problem-solving products and services in the long run.
This is a critical area in marketing, which helps SMBs segment a target demographic for optimal results. This is made possible through data-driven marketing, which ensures that customized messages are going to the right audience.
There are several sources that businesses can tap this data. You can either choose to ask your target audience for the data you need directly using surveys that are triggered by actions that your web visitors take while browsing.
You can also get customer data using other sources including:
1. Social media, which will help you to connect with your customers to find out how their personal interests align with your marketing goals.
2. Mobile and website analytics provide critical data such as your bounce rate, click paths, and source of traffic as well as how much time your prospect spent on particular web pages.
3. Loyalty programs are also a good source of customer data as they give marketers an idea of what loyalty-program customers want. This means that you can, in turn, use this information to target more customers like them.
4. Automated campaigns are also effective for gathering crucial customer information that helps you to learn more about your customers and prospects.
What Are the Software Solutions You Need for Data-Driven Marketing?
Remember the Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft examples above and how they use customer data to create better products? You might think that they can afford it since they have access to huge data pools. And you’d be partially right.
While big companies have access to big data flows, it doesn’t mean that SMBs can’t use the data they have or that they have too little of it. Quite the opposite. Data flows through every business — big or small –. The difference is that most SMBs choose to ignore it or misuse it.
And it’s quite a shame. Small companies have something the big guys have lost: agility. The ability to move fast given the right insights. Big companies where every little mock-up needs to be approved by an unending chain of command are slower to react.
If you want to leverage your data like a big corporation and use it faster than they can, here are the tools you need to get started.
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
This is a platform that allows you to effectively manage all your company’s interactions and relationships with existing customers and potential clients. The better your business can efficiently manage its interaction with the external audience the better the prospects of selling it will have.
A CRM plays an integral part in your overall marketing strategy as it helps you to learn more about your customers’ and prospects’ needs, preferences, and behaviors. This, in turn, allows you to build and sustain stronger relationships with them. You will also be in a better position to deal with your customers more effectively and efficiently.
A CRM also enables you to modify your strategy and operations so that you can serve your customers in the best possible way hence improved customer relations, enhanced chances of selling, and great customer experience.
In a nutshell, a CRM can ultimately lead to better marketing by allowing your sales and marketing teams to focus on effective targeted marketing communicating, which is aimed at specific customer needs. This also allows you to offer a more personalized approach for a better as well as to develop better products and services, which means more business for you.
2. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
This is a system that’s used by businesses to integrate and manage their core business processes. With an ERP system, you will also be able to streamline and standardize your mission-critical process across human resources, finance, distribution, and sales among others.
Originally designed for the manufacturing sector, ERP is now widely deployed across most industries due to its efficiency and effectiveness in, among other things, unifying the organization’s financial reporting.
ERPs are also great in, for instance, integrating order management, which in turn makes processes such as order-making, inventory management, distribution, accounting, and production simple, seamless, and less prone to errors.
An ERP platform will also provide a standardized HR platform for expense tracking, reporting, skills matching, and training. These features will help to further enhance your company’s ability to comply with the relevant government regulations across various departments.
3. Email/Marketing Automation
Email or marketing automation is a process that allows marketers to send triggered promotional communication to their email subscribers. This action enables them to share personalized messages with existing customers and prospects at the right time hence increasing their chances of generating leads.
Automated emails or marketing saves marketers time that would have been spent manually creating and sending out emails to a long list of subscribers every time they show interest in a product or service or even when they abandon their cart.
Email automation is particularly a super effective tactic that most marketers now use for lead nurturing. Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities and also make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
Music to your years, right?
Integration Is the Central Node of Your Marketing Data
Sixty-four percent of top executives “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in a hyper-competitive global economy. However, to achieve this you need a strong and robust integration platform to help you consolidate all your data and make it easily accessible across key departments.
Integration is important to your business because it will help speed up information flow and reduce operational costs. It can also significantly boost employee productivity not to mention the quality of your service to customers and prospects.
Integration platforms like SyncApps are great for bringing together stand-alone systems and enabling them to work together in perfect harmony. This helps in preserving the integrity and accuracy of your data.
Integration also helps you to accurately combine customer insights from more solutions, which makes it easier to make informed, data-backed decisions. This is important because your marketing team can now create personalized digital campaigns that address your customers’ pain points and enhance their experience across the various touchpoints.
If you are in the eCommerce space, for instance, keeping up with the pace of your customers’ shopping needs and keeping them constantly engaged is super important to you.
SyncApps Mailchimp for NetSuite and Constant Contact for Volusion integrations are among the most popular solutions for eCommerce businesses because they allow them to put menial tasks on auto-pilot and, thus, operate with fewer employees. Better yet, these integrations offer them combined insights from the platforms they use every day so they can make better, data-driven marketing and sales decisions.
With Mailchimp for NetSuite integration, for instance, you can accurately track the total number of subscribers to your newsletter, monitor the progress on your most recent email campaigns as well as keep track of your contacts and fans with just a few touches.
With Constant Contact for Volusion, your Volusion customer details are automatically synced to Constant Contact, which means you never have to manually true up your opt-in lists again!
So, in case you’ve been wondering why some SMBs have been able to consistently navigate some of the most unforgiving business challenges without spending a fortune on advertising, it’s because their marketing strategy is data-driven.
It’s not such a well-kept secret, to be fair. On the SyncApps platform alone more than 25,000 small companies use integration every day to fuel their effective marketing strategy. Want to join them? It’s 100% FREE to integrate your solutions on SyncApps, so what have you got to lose? Start here!