Companies don’t want to spend money on people who aren’t interested in their brand. Instead, they want to find people who are engaged — and talk to them in relevant ways. Some marketers make decisions based on assumptions or experience, and they may get lucky with the results. However, a marketing strategy driven by statistical validation will have a measurable outcome that can be tested or optimized.
A comprehensive data-driven strategy that involves modeling and activating first-, second-, and thirty-party data enables brands to understand how customers interact with them. With the knowledge, brands can promote engagement and foster longer-term customer relationships.
From data integration to benchmarking results, here are the five steps of a data-driven model that can lead to successful outcomes.
Step 1: Data Integration
By looking at data from all sources, the brand can shape communication within the customer journey, fostering greater engagement and brand relevance.
First-party data is the existing customer information. The brand should collect information related to purchases to get a picture of how holistically the customers have engaged with the brand outside of their initial buy.
First-party data provides a snapshot of current and “best” customers. It also provides the base for determining look-alike customers, or those who exhibit the same characteristics as existing best customers.
Second-party data is your partners’ data. This data is made available from many different sources — social media, partners, co-ops — and can be leveraged in a variety of ways.
Identify the second-party data providers and sources that best complement your business goals, then make strategic media buys and ad placements that target potential buyers in line with those goals.
Third-party data includes intelligence about demographics, income, and attitudes. Brands have access to seemingly endless customer information, and market research companies that conduct panels and studies are included in this category. By looking at the demographics, income, and attitudes, brands can segment people into meaningful groups, then target them specifically.
Step 2: Strategy and Analytics
This step is focused on gaining insight into what the brand should do to engage customers.
Once the data is integrated, the brand can determine the marketing strategy. The data will be used to build customer and prospect models and determine marketing channels related to the desired business outcomes.
Step 3: Marketing Technology and Platforms
Once a brand knows who its customers and prospects are, the next step is determining the best way to reach them. The brand now has to decide which marketing technologies can best achieve the desired results.
Engagement marketing is home to an array of marketing technology providers, from email service providers (ESPs) and companies that enable data connectivity to firms that leverage innovation to change targeted email messaging in real time. As the world of marketing technology grows, the power to hone communication and deliver messages at the one-to-one level increases. Harnessing the right marketing technology is essential to business performance.
Step 4: Activation
Activation is when the campaign comes to fruition.
For most brands, activation happens with an omnichannel approach: delivering relevant content across all available channels — websites, print, social, email, SMS, loyalty programs — in a systematic, integrated manner that prioritizes customer preferences for messaging, delivery, and cadence.
To market a brand’s new product with an omnichannel approach, relevant creative would be developed for the company’s website, direct mail, and email, and then reinforced via social media posts.
The brand’s customer relationship management (CRM) strategy informs the creative messaging. CRM incorporates all of the available data and insight about customers. The more robust the CRM, the richer the customer profile.
Step 5: Tying Things Together to Achieve Results
Once the marketing road map has been established and creative content has been developed, the brand can benchmark campaign results.
Understanding buyer personas (audiences) is essential to developing targeted messages, determining the right channel, and establishing the right communication cadence. Each decision made about creative execution should align with the data, proving once again that the comprehensive data-driven strategy is necessary for a deep understanding of customers.
Customer journeys aren’t linear; they are as diverse as the customers themselves. For any decision along the marketing road map, data is the driver that informs each headline, channel, and image to create the one-to-one engagement marketing experience that customers now expect.