The Importance of Data as a Marketing Tool

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As marketeers we are all aware that the fundamental 4Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion and Place – are central to delivering an effective and successful marketing campaign.

  • Product – you need a product that meets (and continues to meet) the needs of the target audience;
  • Price – the agreed price should generate profit for your business whilst being set at a level that the target audience finds acceptable;
  • Promotion – the form of promotion: advertising, email, mailer, direct sales, public relations, etc that you use to communicate your message to the target audience;
  • Place – the means of distribution to that target audience, via direct sales, partners, wholesalers or retailers.

As illustrated above, each of the 4Ps has fundamental links to the target audience; making identification of that audience vital to the success of your campaigns.

So how can you best define your target audience?

Typically, the recipients of a campaign (email, mailer. etc.) are pulled from your own databases and/or a list of data purchased from an external source.

  • To improve accuracy and save on mailing costs, audit and cleanse the data to drill down within those lists.
  • Then you can make the targeting even more precise by profiling your contacts, which can help inform your decision on which groups you want to target (tighter focus).
  • Make sure that data used (whether from your own lists of existing customers or a newly-purchased list) is clean and well-targeted, this strategy has proven to be vital.

Prove ROI and Inform Future Campaigns

Activity that uses data enables effective post-campaign reporting on leads and on sales from contacts within the list. Being able to evidence Return on Investment is key and the better the data, the better the ROI.

Post-campaign reporting can also be used to inform future campaigns. Insights on the contacts who have responded to previous activities (email, mailer etc.) can help further segment future lists and direct marketing budget more effectively to your target audience.

Data isn’t needed for all marketing activity though, is it?

What about Print, Online or TV advertising for example; well in those cases cleansing and profiling your customer lists (either in-house or using a data solutions provider) can help inform media choice. Good profiling determines what activity, channels, websites, social media and publications can be most effectively used to engage with any specific target audience.

For example: Profiling of your data may highlight that your customers are mainly 16-35 year old males, with an interest in films and gadgets. So advertising in Empire film magazine or using an ad server focused on these areas will be most effective.

Identifying and segmenting your target audience effectively is as, if not more, important as getting your key messages and artwork right.

  • How big a part does data play in your marketing mix?
  • Do you plan and budget for sourcing and managing your data?
  • How has data helped you be more effective in your marketing?