How Data Affects Marketing—All Types of Marketing
One of the big marketing buzzwords these days is data. Data means information about your customers, your desired customers, their habits, and their relationship to your product. Usually, when people talk about data for marketing, they’re talking about big data for marketing: endless gigabytes of information gathered from the web about consumer behavior. However, this isn’t the only kind of useful marketing data that the computer age offers, nor is it the right kind for every business – but every business does need a healthy focus on it in order to stay profitable in today’s world.
Knowing Which Data You Need
It’s useful to understand the different kinds of data available to companies today and which are most useful for each business. “Big data,” or wide-lens behavior data about consumers’ browser usage, online shopping habits, and mobile device usage, gets most of the spotlight these days, but it’s often not practical for small to medium businesses. For example, if you run a single retail boutique, you probably shouldn’t invest in online behavior statistics for tens of thousands of consumers nationwide, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use data for marketing.
One form of data that is eminently useful for a small business is search data. Let’s say you run a local barbecue chain. Everywhere on your website you talk about mouth-watering “barbecue.” But what do people search for when looking for good barbecue in your area? If they type in “bbq” instead of “barbecue” then you could be missing out on a lot of potential traffic.
Many small businesses use free data to solve this problem. By simply creating an account with Google AdWords, you can plug in hundreds of possible search phrases and see which ones get the most searches in your area or worldwide. That can then directly inform your ad strategy, allowing you to buy online ads that display by those popular searches, or it can simply inform your SEO and web content to increase traffic to your site organically.
Measuring the Results
Another form of neglected data is marketing data itself—that is, gathering data on your own marketing efforts. It’s great that your new campaign corresponded to a 20% increase in sales, but which aspect of that campaign got the biggest share? Was it the billboards, the social media push or the mailings? Could you have done something different to make it a 30% gain in sales instead? If you aren’t gathering operational data about your marketing processes and resource usage, then all the consumer data in the world is just money slipping through your fingers.
These are just a few ways that marketing data can be harnessed by literally any business to get ahead. You don’t need the budget of Facebook or Apple to put data to use—you just need to identify the type of data that’s right for you.