How to Make the Most of your Marketing Data

Wimbledon gets underway next week as the annual procession of strawberries, cream and polite applause once again hits SW19. In the tennis calendar, Wimbledon is one of the more sedate and traditional venues on the circuit, a venue where even the decision to build a centre court roof caused controversy, despite the prospect of zero play with even the merest hint of moisture in the air.

Yet it is this most sedate of venues, this bastion of British traditionalism that is on the forefront of a digital revolution.

This year, Watson, a bloody massive supercomputer that can do a lot of scary things, is being used by tournament organisers as a way of better communicating with fans.

Watson will be using cameras to monitor facial expressions in a way that its developers hope will enable it to tell which player you are supporting just by reading your face. One presumes it can tell Andy Murray’s fans through detecting tears and disappointment.

As well as this, Watson will be reading and computing millions of Twitter and Facebook conversations, helping the media team decide what sort of content they should be offering. So long to the Social Media Executive, your role is redundant.

Big Data in Sport

Big data could be accused of being just another buzzword, but in the world of sport it is increasingly being used to gain an advantage. Sir Dave Brailsford, former performance director for British Cycling famously introduced the “marginal gains” approach, leading to a record haul of gold medals at the London Olympics.

Professional rugby players now use GPS tracking devices to improve the analysis of performance after each game, although this can lead to trouble as Worcester Warriors recently found out to their cost.

How to Use Your Data

While sport may be investing heavily in harvesting and analysing data, for us lucky marketers good data is at our fingertips. Most marketing teams will now be using tools such as Google Analytics to study their web traffic, Lead Forensics to understand who is visiting their site, Hootsuite to understand their social metrics and any number of other tools that will indulge their users with a never ending stream of data.

But let’s be brutally honest. How many of us are using this data in the right way? How many of us are turning raw data into actionable insight? How many of us even understand the data that’s being presented to us?

The truth is, many of us are drowning in a sea of data. Those of you using SEO agencies might receive a lovely report from your agency showing big juicy rankings – so what?

Others may show you a lovely graph with a line that shows your traffic going up – how lovely!

If you’re running PPC you’ll have quality scores, costs per click, impressions, ad ranks – frankly the list is endless.

So how do you start sifting through a pile of data and collecting actual, real, tangible insight?

Understand the Context
To understand your data you must first understand the context in which you are viewing it. To do this, think about why you are doing what you are doing, and work back from there. Not sure why you’re ultimately doing it? Here’s a clue – it’ll be one of these two things:

  • Drive more sales
  • Generate more leads

Set Targets
If you’re measuring it, you should have targets for it. And these should all be based around what you need to deliver on sales and lead targets. Work backwards from the sale – how much traffic do you need to generate from each channel? What conversion rates do you need to hit? What’s the length of the sales cycle? It can help to compartmentalise these as:

Macro Targets – your big scary targets like number of sales qualified leads (SQLs) or how many sales in ecommerce
Micro Targets – everything you need to hit to get there – your landing page conversion rates, traffic by channel, audience reach

Once you understand each of these, you’ll understand what your reports need to be telling you. Once you understand how micro targets such as traffic and reach relate back to your macro targets, you’ll be in complete control of your marketing strategy.

As Sir Dave Brailsford said about cycling,

“If you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by one percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together”

If you can achieve this with your marketing, break down everything that goes into a sale and improve it by 1%, just imagine the results when you put it all back together again.

You can read more about how to adopt a marginal gains approach in your online lead generation campaign by downloading our free eGuide, The Modern Marketer’s Handbook.

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