In the slick technical jungle we live in, survival of the fittest is no longer based on physical prowess alone, but instead on our ability to integrate, analyze, and redefine. True, the weapons we have at our disposal nowadays are more efficient, however, be it a lack of time, training, or even courage, many marketers are failing to unleash their power and use them effectively. Implementing a data-driven marketing strategy, one based on insights gained and decisions made as a consequence of the analysis of customer data, can help businesses formulate strategies based not just on guesswork, but specific details. That data can come from many sources. Sorting, formatting, and analyzing it can help marketers understand how it can be used in an actionable way and better understand why such results occurred or why a customer appeared at a particular touchpoint in the first place. Utilizing this valuable information, it then falls to the marketer to use it to put their brand in front of the right people, at the right time, and to thrill and engage their audience with a unique “wow factor”.

According to Teradata’s 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey “only 50% of marketers routinely apply data-driven marketing to individualize marketing messages and offers to enhance the customer experience.” The answer is they have not, or have only recently, started to implement data-driven marketing strategies. Teradata’s survey found that “today data-driven marketing is either embedded or strategic for 78% of marketers”. The 2013 version of the same survey had previously revealed that “only 34% of survey respondents said their data-driven marketing was embedded or strategic.” It seems the two-year advancement in data-driven marketing strategies may still not be achieving the results every marketer desires.

What are the most important steps of an actionable, data-driven marketing strategy?

1. Determine what drives your decision making

Before collecting data or undertaking any analysis, decide what the key driving factors for making decisions and what your KPIs are – revenue or income? Are you interested in creating an exceptional customer experience for your current customers, attracting new customers, or re-engaging with old ones?

2. Establish the data you need to collect

Divide your search criteria into quantitative (number of site visits, number of downloads, etc.) and qualitative (why it happened? – customized landing page, customer-specific offers, etc.). Decide if you want information on a person’s buying habits, what pages they like to visit, what they interact with most, etc., or personal info such as email, address, age, etc. Deciding on the right info makes decision making easier.

3. Collect the data

Determine how to get the information in the least intrusive manner possible to avoid irritating your customers. Will you use contact information forms on your website, surveys at certain touchpoints, or geographical information based on IP addresses? Does the number of visits to the “About Us” page influence buying habits? There are offline situations too. Do you have club membership forms? Do you carry out in-store surveys? Make sure you are collecting the right data to benefit you. Buying habits differ with seasons, trends, technology advances, and people’s moods. Don’t miss out on opportunities to learn about your customers.

4. Analyze the data and create buyer personas

Analyze your data from many angles to develop buyer personas – 360 degree views of your customers. Look at who they are, what they search for, what they buy, what interests them, what influences them, etc. The more accurate and individualized these personas are, the more accurate and individualized the content.

5. Target your “WOW” information

Now it is time to build your content around your personas, put the right information in front of the right people at the right time, “WOW” your customers with how well you know them, and delight them with fantastic “personal” offers. Show them new items and trends that they might have missed without you that match their persona. Throughout every channel stage of the buying process, provide an experience and keep your customer coming back for more.

6. Measure your marketing ROI

According to the Kentico Marketers’ Survey “What do digital marketers really want in 2015?”, online marketing’s effectiveness is not being measured enough with “only 17% doing it constantly”. Refer back to all your answers from Step 1. Do you have more customers? Are older customers returning? Have page visits or downloads increased? All these things can point towards a successful data-driven strategy helping improve the business’s value.

7. Repeat & Improve

The world we live in is constantly changing. Learn from the past but don’t dwell on it. A good, actionable, data-driven strategy must be flexible and enable you to move forward, learn, adapt, re-think your position, improve your decision making by collecting new data, learning from your mistakes, and always aiming at delivering that “WOW” factor.

Integrated marketing solutions help you in collecting all the data you require, analyze it to gain a 3600 view of your customers, use content personalization and personas to create the right content for the right person, and utilize marketing automation to deliver this content at the most opportune moment.

Making a customer feel special, providing them with personal treatment, and showing them the better things in life means you are on the right track to success. By implementing an actionable, data-driven strategy and combining it with the powerful tools currently available, you can impress and delight your customers at every turn and convert a simple customer into a brand advocate. It will also help you see beyond the trees to the digital forest.

Duncan Hendy

Duncan Hendy


Duncan Hendy, Content Strategy Manager at Kentico Software.