How to Use Data to Guide Your Marketing Program

Going into the marketing world, I never thought math would be so important. I took the required classes in college and moved on, never really thinking much about it. However, nowadays, math should be playing a vital part into your marketing plan. If you aren’t using data to create your plans, make sure to capture data with your current plan to leverage it in the future.

Creating and executing a marketing plan can be expensive, so why wouldn’t you want to use data to point you in the right direction? Do you really need to spend money and time focusing on avenue A, if 75 percent of your target market comes from avenues B and C? Better yet, do you even know where your target market is congregating?

Some companies think research takes too long, but in reality, you shouldn’t rush a marketing plan – especially if you don’t know who to target or have a baseline to know if it is successful or not. Ever hear the phrase, “measure twice, cut once?” Think about research as measuring twice. Research allows you to execute your campaign the right way, the first time around.

Don’t have time to create your own data? So how do you find data which already exists? One great way is to leverage Nielsen’s research. Nielsen studies millions of consumers around the world and provides detailed analysis about target markets. If you are looking for direct mail, Nielsen’s research breaks down each zip code into different characteristics so you know if you should target that zip code or not. It has a good amount of great information for free, but you can also gain access to more if you subscribe.

A great tool, which you may already be aware of, is Google Analytics. Simply copy and paste a line of code, which Google provides you, into your website and Google will show you all about the traffic to your site. Some details it’ll show you:

  • How are people on the internet finding your website
  • How long they are staying on your website
  • Which pages people are visiting the most on your website
  • Where people who are visiting your website are living

Another great tool to use is Qualtrics is a service which allows you to create a survey to send out. This survey can use logic where if the respondent answers one way, he or she will receive one type of question. If the respondent answers another way, he or she will receive another type of question. This software is fairly easy to use, but the great thing about Qualtrics is it allows you to truly analyze your results. While it will easily allow you to see the results of each question, you can also cross tabulate questions to see if one thing has anything to do with another. This analysis would potentially give insight into if people with blue eyes like ice cream more than people with brown eyes. Thus allowing you to target your audience even more.

The above tools are only a few ways to find and create your own data. Don’t waste your time and your budget on a plan with no data. It’s like shooting in the dark – it’s not a smart idea. Considering how difficult it can be to defend the ROI of marketing to your clients or boss, wouldn’t you want data to help? Wouldn’t you want data to help defend your strategy and prove it is effective? Use the tools above to help gain the data you need.

Do you know any other great data tools? Please feel free to leave a comment with what tools you use!

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  1. […] In a recent post, I suggested leveraging Nielsen’s research in order to create data-driven marketing and communications plans. That’s the front-end work every successful campaign entails, but the data cycle doesn’t end there. […]

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