In fact, a recent study showed less than half of marketers believe they have sufficient access to the data they need to be successful, and at least 50% struggle to determine marketing ROI.
While working for major tech companies like SAP, Oracle and now Domo, I’ve noticed three important steps that should be taken to guide data-driven strategies and finally close the marketing data loop.
1. Track data from initial engagement to conversion.
Face it—as marketers, it’s not always easy to prove our sweat and tears produced a solid, valuable outcome. Luckily, data can do that for you, but only if you track it far enough.
Domo once had a campaign generating rather inexpensive leads, but it couldn’t seem to drum up any customers. It wasn’t until I tracked my spend all the way to revenue that I realized how terrible the ROI really was, and how many resources were being wasted. We dropped the campaign and watched our bottom line get an instant boost.
With the right tracking tools in place, marketers can ensure they truly bring their strategies full circle —or kill them before they do too much damage. Remember that without a holistic view of your business, you’re likely to misunderstand what’s really going on. Looking back, I might have let that halfway-successful campaign run its course—not knowing it was ultimately a dead end—if I didn’t have the data to tell me otherwise.
2. Determine which indicators matter most and why.
Data-driven marketing is fueled by the power to identify which indicators are most important to your business’ success. Some factors are indisputably important, such as page views and actual sales. Others insights are less obvious and would likely stay buried without the help of an analytics tool or dashboard.
Take Nike, for example. By looking at the numbers, the apparel giant discovered customization was crucial to strategic growth. By tracking the data and making sure all teams were on board, from marketing to IT, Nike differentiated its shoe brand with a custom design program that brought in over $100 million. Leveraging the right data can prove such revenue-building correlations, further bolstering marketing ROI.
What’s more, these insights are rarely disconnected. Individual performance indicators can be cross-examined to create new meaning. Even seemingly unimportant metrics can reveal surprising relationships. Such knowledge provides a more complete view of the business and puts you a step ahead of your competitors.
3. Focus on what works and discover what works even better.
The beauty of data-driven marketing is that, after tracking, identifying and understanding important indicators from start to finish, it will be clear which efforts worked and which didn’t, as well as which worked best. From there, marketers can create campaigns optimized for success, with more confidence and less experimentation.
Social media is a great example of this principle. With nearly endless potential for new strategies, marketers have yet to figure out how to get the most bang for their social buck. With data as my guide, I’ve been able to eliminate the need for blind experimentation, and also highlight the path to the most success.
Whether you’re struggling to prove marketing success or in need of smarter insights at a faster pace, make your data work for you. By using these steps, marketers can seamlessly close the gap between their efforts and a tangible ROI.