Posted to Volacci's blog on July 19th, 2013

Data Driven Marketing is the Future of B2C and B2B Digital Marketing

Data driven marketing is the future of digital marketing. Big data has permeated nearly every aspect of modern society, and with the rise of affordable marketing automation systems, like Automatr, small and medium sized businesses are beginning to realize the vast potential of data-powered marketing for their sales and marketing efforts.

It is a commonly stated fact that 90% of the world’s data was created in the past two years. With data creation expected to continue growing exponentially in the next several decades, big data will continue to play a dominant role in our society.

What is Big Data?

Big data is the label put on massive data flows that are collected over time and hard to manage or structure. Marketing automation and analytics programs provide a steady stream of real-time and recorded data, but also create a series of dashboards and reporting options to help structure and manage the data over a course of time. Customizable reports and segmentation allow for easier management of such data and help tame it of the traditional “big data” connotation, instead making it reportable data through which great insights can be found, and strategies formed.

How is Big Data Used in Marketing?

There are a number of different ways that big data can inform marketing strategy. Data shouldn’t be used to replace human interaction or intent, it should be used to supplement, automate and maximize the effectiveness of informed human actions. Traditional analytics programs provide data about website traffic, user engagement, user interactions, time spent on page, conversions, and any host of metrics on a broad scale.

Marketing automation analytics use cookies to turn the general anonymous data of traditional analytics into clear snapshots of how individual users interact with each piece of the site owner’s digital content. This information can be used along with current email marketing lists, CRM databases, customer buyer history or other variables to reveal a number of fascinating and actionable insights into user trends and behavior.

What are some examples of data driven marketing?

There are many creative ways that big data marketing is becoming common along the digital landscapes. Popular examples include:

  • Using pieces of data to pre-qualify leads based on each individual’s behavior

  • Creating dynamic content, which changes one or more aspects of content a user sees on a website, based on their unique user data

  • Recognizing patterns among the data to create more engaging and effective marketing campaigns

  • Breaking large data lists into targeted segmentation categories to provide customized user experiences that follow users along the buyer journey, and many, many more.

Using big data beyond lead generation

There are tons of resources out there talking about the importance of organizing big data into lead generation chunks, and that is one of its most profitable uses. But data can also be used to analyze how existing customers interact with your digital content, where upsell opportunities exist, or what areas offer the most potential for creating an improved user experience.

There are plenty of non-sales or UX related uses as well, such as evaluating the interest of potential employees in the hiring process. My favorite HR-related hypothetical involves the practical example of using your website data to find the ideal employee:

Lets say you’re interviewing candidates for an important new job at your business. You narrow the list down to three equally impressive candidates. In addition to checking background information, references and social media snooping, you decide to use your marketing automation program to see how each prospect interacted with your web content. The first applicant visited your site for a total of ten minutes over two separate visits. The first visit, he looked through the careers section and quickly glanced at the About Us section. The second visit, he jumped around looking at a few employee bios, downloaded a white paper on one of your products, and spent most of his time looking at the employee benefits and recruiting pages. The sort of traffic you would expect. The second applicant spent an hour and forty-five minutes on your site over the course of five different visits. She read your company’s mission statement, the entire careers section, each executive’s bio and a dozen blog entries. She also downloaded four whitepapers relevant to the position she’s interviewing for, watched an hour-long recorded webinar, and even watched that goofy Christmas video your employees made last December. The third applicant’s only interaction with your web content was opening the email inviting him for an interview.

In a situation such as this one, the first two applicants have proven themselves as serious about the company, its culture and potentially working there, while the third applicant may be more interested in using an offer from your firm as leverage at his current job, or only truly be half-interested in the position. Strategic insights like this can help find employees with the right work ethic and a genuine interest in your company.

Big data is changing how we process the world. How has the rise in data affected your marketing strategy? If it hasn’t, what plans do you have to implement data driven marketing in the near future? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear.