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7 Steps to a Data-Driven Marketing Strategy

June 29, 2020

In this article you will learn:

Marketing once was considered an art, with creative campaigns designed for mass audiences that took the form of print and TV ads, direct mail and billboards. Over time, the introduction of the internet sparked the ability to do direct marketing, via mail, email or social media, targeting segments of individuals who shared similar characteristics. These were not precise practices, since you couldn't be sure your message would resonate and be of interest to your segmented audience.

Now, marketing has become a science, with more insights available about individual customers and access to a variety of information sources. Data-driven marketing helps brands understand what consumers want, when they want it and what will entice them into action – down to the individual customer level. This personalized, 1:1 approach to marketing is blowing up traditional structures and requiring companies to develop new strategies for success.

The Benefits of Data-Driven Marketing

Consumers today are bombarded with competing messages from brands at every turn and on every device. Marketers need to find a way to break through the noise with truly personalized marketing and an improved customer experience to grow revenue and sales, enhance loyalty and achieve a stronger customer lifetime value (LTV).

Data-driven marketing is the key to achieving these two goals. Beyond basic demographics, data such as web browsing and purchase patterns, social media activity, likes and dislikes and other metrics will support development of effective personalized marketing campaigns.

Using a variety of metrics to fuel marketing efforts results in proven gains. Studies show that data-driven personalization delivered 5x-8x the return on investment (ROI) on marketing spend. Plus, marketers who exceed their revenue goals used personalization techniques 83% of the time.

Walker Info estimates that 86% of consumers rate customer experience as the #1 factor when making a purchase. So it's imperative that sales, marketing and customer service teams leverage data to ensure they're giving their customers what they want. Data driven marketing plays a key role in helping map out the customer journey and engage them in ways not possible before. By continually evaluating, and re-evaluating data, and examining how customers behave at every touchpoint in their journey, marketers can refine their efforts and deliver better offers and experiences to customers

Challenges of Data-Driven Marketing

To do data-driven marketing right, you will need to overcome a number of challenges. These include asking the right questions and finding high-quality data. You’ll also need to break down the traditional silos that exist within most companies that prevent data from being shared and used most impactfully between data science, sales, marketing and customer service teams. Other challenges exist around working with the data, such as dealing with constantly changing real-time data, and collecting, normalizing, harmonizing and interpreting the data to get the insights you desire.

These efforts also require finding the right data-driven marketing tools that will enable you to effectively work with the data and measure the correct key performance indicators (KPIs).

How to Build a Data-Driven Marketing Strategy

Once you address these challenges, you will need to then develop your data-driven marketing strategy. Here we offer seven steps that are key to successful strategies:

#1 Focus on Your Loyal Customers

Your most loyal customers are typically your best customers, so start with them first. Take the time to make them feel appreciated, through special offers and loyalty programs.

#2 Collaborate Across Teams

Cross-department and cross-disciplinary teams will be best positioned to proceed with data-driven marketing. IT, data science, sales, marketing and customer service will need to work together to achieve top-level business goals.

#3 Gather the Right Data

Bad data leads to bad marketing decisions. Focus on key data points that will enable you to optimize personalization marketing and deliver results. Go beyond basic demographics and dig into other relevant sources, such as sales histories, customer behavior and other third-party resources that can help you hone your efforts.

#4 Embrace Marketing Automation

Marketers are swimming in more data than ever before thanks to the digital revolution. Traditional manual means of analyzing data is no longer practical or possible. Applying marketing automation tools can help speed analysis, deliver more meaningful insights and turbo-charge your marketing efforts.

#5 Personalize the Customer Experience

Customer experience personalization enables you to better understand what your customers want on an individual level, and how and when those offers can be presented to encourage positive engagement and the results you seek.

#6 Continue to Measure your Campaigns

A successful data-driven marketing strategy requires continuously collecting data throughout your campaigns to learn what is working and what is not, then pivot to optimize results.

#7 Constantly Enhance Your Customers’ Experiences

With an unending cycle of data and multiple channels for engagement, you can learn new ways to engage your customers with relevant messages, which improve and strengthen these relationships to increase purchasing and loyalty.

Examples of Data-Driven Marketing

Brands around the globe are leveraging data-driven marketing to boost their sales and improve customer LTV, despite the pandemic-induced economic slowdown. Here are some ways that you can follow their lead and apply these new strategies in your own marketing toolbox.

Combine your own data with other third-party sources. You may know your customers behaviors and preferences from sales and loyalty program data. But to better target your most loyal customers or biggest group, sometimes you need to go further by using third-party demographic data to further refine and target your messages. This could include details like household income, neighborhood, whether they live in a house or an apartment, or the climate in which they live.

You also can leverage trends from one marketing channel to inform others. One gig marketplace company, Hiresquare, talked about how it used pay-per-click (PPC) data to improve search engine optimization for its website and conversion rate for those keywords.

Another approach to consider is assessing the impact of industry changes on your brand campaigns. If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that outside factors can have a significant bearing on our businesses and dramatically change how we interact with our customers, and customers' motivations.


Marketing is no longer an art that needs to be creative to be appreciated and meaningful. As a result of the digital revolution, marketing has become a science.

As brands are able to gather more data from a variety of sources and use powerful algorithms to derive important insights and deliver on broad business goals, they will improve the customer experience with personalized marketing.

Learn more about the importance of personalization on your customer experience. Download our new white paper, "The 6 Steps Required to Build a Customer-Centric Marketing Strategy."

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