Plenty of models and ideas exist to help us be more data-driven as marketers. Too many of these are a bit outdated though, so we’ve put together an up-to-the-minute framework to help you bring more discipline to data in your marketing.

May 2015

Define what data is important to you

Make a list of all the data that’s important to your business and available to you. Looking online is a great place to start. You can find conversions, sales, site visitors, new customers, performance data and other metrics like these in any basic web analytics package. Not only is this some of the easiest data to find, it’s also actionable.

Next look at what offline sources can supply useful information, such as call data, store data and CRM data. Finally, look at your customer data. For example, gathering the stats on total sales and monthly customer acquisition helps paint a picture of your customer base. What’s more, there will be multiple sources for both of these.

Identify where your data is

Where does your data sit? Which platform, document or team holds the valuable information you need? Conduct an audit. Your data could exist in your ad server, AdWords account, social channels, a data management platform (DMP) and Google Analytics. It might live with customer relationship teams and platforms, research teams or enterprise cloud platforms. The data could even dwell in people’s heads or spreadsheets!

Take one automotive customer for example. The company’s performance data sits within the media buying platforms of the media agency. Audience lists sit with the analytics reseller agency and their ad server, as well as within AdWords. The CRM team has a cloud platform and number of Excel spreadsheets containing CRM data. Finally, research sits in a number of presentations and videos from their last market research initiative. Sound complicated? In actual fact, for many companies it is much, much messier than this!

Own your data and the access to it

Ask yourself: Do I own that data? Can I move the data? Is my data being used by the partners, other companies or technology platforms that I’m working with? Conduct a tag audit of your site. This shows you who can access your site data. Then go back to the list you made of platforms, technologies and partners in order to identify just where your data is.

Finally, check up on the terms and conditions in place with your agencies and tech providers. Make sure that no one else is benefiting from your data without your knowledge or permission, and confirm that you can take your data with you if and when you leave to work with other providers.

Connect it up

Is your data in a silo? This might be down to your internal organisational structure or it may be because there are multiple platforms in place housing separate bits of information. When your data is scattered around separately, it’s not actionable. This limits its usefulness in your paid and earned communications.

To overcome this, work to secure organisational collaboration and connect the data to a piece of technology or platform that will act as a hub for your communication strategy. For example, the DoubleClick platform allows you to house all your data for advanced media buying.

Activate data to inform your media and creatives

To sum up: Be less wrong. In other words, use as much actionable data in your media buying as possible. Ensure the data is available in real-time. To drive really big gains, make sure it’s automated.

Most brands do this through basic remarketing, by using a data point (such as someone visiting the website) to show someone an ad. There are even bigger benefits to be had when companies use advanced targeting, incorporating more data points at once. These could include visits to the site, what users searched for, how long they spent on the site, if they were new customers or not, whether they had been exposed to the brand previously, their age, gender and so forth.

Following this guidance will set you up well to become more data driven in your marketing activities. As you tick off each action, your marketing will grow one step closer to being as data-centric and sophisticated as it can be.