There is no doubt that there is a distinct advantage in handling marketing in 2017: being able to access huge quantities of data. Data that helps you understand what users have done, how they moved around within your website, how much and how often they bought or recommended the product being sold. You can find out who they are, what they like to do in their free time or see their photos. You can find out how old they are, where they live, if they are married, what their interests are. You can see if they started a purchase and left it half-completed, you can read what they think about your product, which operating system or mobile phone model they use and much, much more.
However, the problem of dealing with all of this data is often that of not being able to manage, organise and interpret it in a consistent and pertinent way that suits our needs. Analytical system dashboards are like an X-ray. If we do not know what, or where to go, or to read, we cannot make a diagnosis and provide the right treatment. Yes, because data acts as a support before, during and after the sales activity. It can be used to create, measure, correct, and improve business strategies. Without it we would not know, with any kind of scientific rigour, if what we are doing is being done in the best possible way.
It is no coincidence that everything we do online is measurable
But can we be sure that we are able to read between the lines and manage to understand why people behave and act in a certain way with regard to the actions we are studying in order to convince them to do so? The question to ask whenever we collect data is: why? What are our objectives?
What’s more, how do we measure performance and read data effectively if we don’t know what we’re measuring?
For example, you have a lead capture campaign and you obtain 2,000 contacts. Is that a lot, too few or enough? How do you know if no goal has been set? Yet another question: are these contacts excellent, good or useless for the business? If you have not planned a strategy, how can you decide?
Before going to read the data and perhaps even building communication and marketing strategies around it, objectives have to be defined. Often, super-creative marketing campaigns fail because they are built, targeted, or distributed badly. Just as content is too often generated without assessing whether it is what the user is looking for, wants to read or even share.
To get your message across in the most direct way possible, you have to address somebody who is ready to listen to it, and you have to do it in the right place. Otherwise, all your efforts will be in vain. Start by setting SMARTer goals (specific, measurable, accessible, realistic, timely, enthusiastic and registered).
Be realistic: you cannot expect to have a trillion visitors in a few days if there is not enough time, budget or luck.
One or two Key Performance Indicators must be matched to each goal, and for each one, identify the specific target. This way you will know which data to read (loyalty, conversion rate, recency, etc.) without wasting time and attention.
Experience shows that considering isolated and decontextualised metrics is always misleading. The data must be interwoven and then brought back to the context in which it is relevant, perhaps representing it visually.
Behaviour and relevance
Before starting a campaign or digital activity it is essential to ask ourselves who is our target market, what channels do they use, what kind of content they look at. If you already have a customer database you can use it to search for information or take it as a model to attract similar audiences.
Understanding the behaviour of your users helps to define content strategy and design promotional campaigns. Thanks to the data you can get to know the likes/ interests of specific segments, and you can thus target your content and campaigns.
One of the advantages of the data-marketing combo is being able to analyse and monitor in real time what is happening and to “redirect” the shot or suspend ongoing promotional campaigns entirely. This means saving money.
You do not however have to hurry and do not always let yourself be “consumed” by data alone: some campaigns take longer to have an effect then others. Data and statistics are built over time.
Heatmap and Eyetracking
Data can take various shapes and colours other than classic histograms or numbers followed by %.
For example, heatmap is a very useful system for visually analysing the resulting intensity of digital content; in the same way, it is interesting to monitor the human eye as it moves around a web page when subjected to visual or textual stimuli.
These tracking systems are very useful for building user-friendly interfaces, architectures and navigation paths, optimised for conversion.
We are fortunate to have access to a huge amount of data that can help us make offers in an increasingly easy, timely and targeted manner with the right content, to the right person, at the right time.
We just have to refine the ability to interpret, read and pick the data we need for our business because, as the wise man says, “Assess what you get and you will get what you assess“.