The State of Data-Driven Marketing in 2021: Why You Need to Update Your Strategy

min read
The State of Data-Driven Marketing in 2021: Why You Need to Update Your Strategy

Today’s marketers have more data about their consumers at their fingertips than ever before. Marketers who use these insights to create a data-driven strategy drive the best results. Consider these statistics:

  • 87% of marketers say data is their company’s most under-utilized asset.
  • 40% of brands plan to increase their data-driven marketing budgets.
  • Businesses who use data-driven strategies drive five to eight times as much ROI as businesses who don’t.

In this post, we’ll break down the definition of data-driven marketing, current trends, the data you need to create a data-driven marketing strategy, and how you should update your strategy.

What Is Data-Driven Marketing?

Data-driven marketing is a marketing strategy that uses data — acquired through consumer interactions and third parties — to gain a better view into consumers’ motivations, preferences, and behaviors. Marketers then create personalized messaging and experiences that deliver the highest possible return on investment (ROI).

Data-Driven Marketing Trends in 2020

64% of marketing executives “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is crucial in today’s landscape. Below are some of the most important trends to consider when forming your strategy.

1. First-Party Data

Regulations like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act and browser updates like Google Chrome 80, Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection, and Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 have cut down on marketers’ ability to capture and use third-party data.

In response, marketers are turning to first-party data — data that they’ve captured from their own audience. As restrictions on third-party data continue to tighten, first-party data will only become more important.

2. More Touchpoints

Today’s consumer journey is more fractured than ever before. In fact, a recent study from Google found that today’s consumer journey can have between 20-500 touchpoints, depending on the complexity of the purchase.

In addition, consumers have higher expectations for their experiences than ever before. It’s critical that your data-driven approach unifies disparate channels and creates a cohesive brand experience for each consumer. Failing to do so will lose you their business.

This also makes it doubly important to have proper attribution for your marketing channels and touchpoints. With so many different brand interactions happening in each consumer journey, you need to isolate which marketing programs are truly moving the needle and impacting revenue so you can invest more heavily in them.

3. AI and Marketing Automation

To scale personalization, marketers are depending more on AI and marketing automation. Leading marketers are leveraging AI for everything from optimizing ad bidding to targeting audiences to personalizing web experiences to capturing insights from inbound phone conversations at scale. If you’re not investing in AI now, you’ll soon be left behind.

What Insights Do Data-Driven Marketers Need in 2020?

As mentioned above, with recent third-party data restrictions, marketers are shifting to first-party data sources. In fact, a recent survey found that 82% of marketers plan to increase their use of first-party data.

Below are some of the most valuable sources of first-party insights that data-driven marketers are leveraging in 2020.

1. CRM Data

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms like Salesforce are a powerful source of insights. A CRM gathers customer interactions across all channels into one centralized location. With CRM data, you can segment your audience based on all their past interactions with your brand and tailor their experiences to align with their journey and buying intent.

2. Web Analytics Data

Web analytics tools like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics capture data about consumers’ interactions on your website. With this information, you can personalize their experiences based on the pages they visited and online goals they completed.

3. Transaction Data

Capturing and leveraging data from transactions is critical. By understanding what consumers have purchased, you can predict what they would be inclined to purchase in the future and tailor their experience accordingly.

4. Call Tracking and Analytics Data

In addition to understanding consumers’ online interactions with your brand, it’s critical to understand how they’re engaging with you over the phone. Call tracking and analytics solutions like Invoca connect each phone call to the marketing source that drove it, so you can understand the messaging and channels driving calls. Invoca also uses AI to analyze the content of conversations at scale, so you can understand if it was a sales lead, the caller’s buying intent, the caller’s urgency, if the caller converted, and more. These fill a critical blind spot and allow you to personalize consumer experiences based on phone conversations — in addition to online interactions.

You can integrate call tracking and analytics data with CRMs like Salesforce, web analytics platforms like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, as well as a host of other tools in your martech stack.

Best Practices for Data-Driven Marketing in 2020 and Beyond

1. Use All Available Data Sources to Inform Ad Targeting

Have you ever purchased a product and then been targeted, all across the internet, with ads for that product? This poor experience not only annoys customers, but it’s also a waste of valuable ad spend.

To avoid this mistake, and to ensure you’re targeting consumers as accurately as possible, you should capture all your customer data in a centralized location, like a CRM. This way, you’ll be able to target them based on every touchpoint they engage with as they move through the funnel.

With this complete view of each customer, not only will you avoid serving irrelevant ads, you’ll also be able to target more precisely. For example, if you integrate call tracking and analytics data into your strategy, you can target callers with ads based on the content of their phone conversations. If a caller expressed interest in a particular product but didn’t convert, you could retarget them with ads for that product. If they expressed urgency, you could increase your bidding to ensure consumers with the highest purchase potential are seeing your ads. If they bought a product or service, you could target them with ads for a relevant companion purchase, or exclude them from seeing ads to conserve spend.

2. Segment Your Email List

Email is an effective channel to reach your existing customers and those who’ve made accounts on your website or subscribed to your content — and it’s free. But to effectively utilize it, you need to accurately segment your contacts. This can be best achieved in a CRM.

You can segment your audience in a variety of ways, depending on your marketing goals. For example, if you’re a lawn care provider, you could segment your audience based on their past purchases. If they purchased a basic fertilization package, you could target them with emails promoting a complete package that includes aeration, insect control, weed control, and more.

You could also segment your audience based on when they purchased from you. Certain lawn care services need to be performed seasonally or at regular intervals, and you could target them with emails promoting the right services at the right times.

Another strategy is to use your call tracking and analytics data to segment your audience based on the content of their phone conversations. Continuing with the lawn care example, if callers asked about a “total care” package but didn’t convert, you could retarget them with emails for that service. If they expressed price sensitivity, your emails could include a limited-time discount code.

3. Personalize Website Experiences Based on Past Interactions

Your web visitors have engaged with your website in different ways and are at different stages of the funnel. Each should receive a dynamic website experience tailored to their needs and past interactions.

A common example of this is using visitors’ past history on your website to populate a custom “Recommendations” carousel. This way, products they’ve recently viewed or companion products for their purchases will show up front and center on your webpages. You can also make more complex optimizations, like adjusting site copy and images to align with their interests and intent.

You can also use other data sources to inform website personalization. For instance, you can optimize consumers’ website experiences based on what they said on phone conversations. To do this, you can push call tracking data into website optimization platforms. You can then set up people-based website personalization rules for certain phrases or data points that occurred in the conversations. The optimization tools will, in turn, deliver website personalized experiences that align with phone conversations — at scale.

For example, if you’re an auto dealer, you can populate your homepage with an image of the vehicle the buyer expressed interest in over the phone, but did not schedule a test drive for. To sweeten the deal, you could add a special financing offer.

Custom website header image featuring the Nissan Rogue

4. Create a Seamless Call Experience

In addition to using data-driven processes to improve online experiences, it’s critical to apply these same principles to call experiences. Each caller has different needs and buying intent — you should quickly connect them with a relevant agent who is equipped to meet their needs and convert them. Failing to do so could cost you their business.

To execute this strategy, marketers are using dynamic call routing rules, which automatically route callers based on certain criteria. Below are some common call routing optimizations:

  • Route calls based on the marketing source (channel, campaign, ad, keyword, webpage) that drove the call
  • Have calls from your most valuable marketing sources jump to the front of the queue to get answered first
  • Route callers based on the geographic location they are calling from
  • Have calls forwarded to specific agents, locations, or IVRs based on your business hours
  • Ring multiple agents’ phones at the same time — the agent who picks up first gets the call
  • Route calls to agents’ cell phones or home phones if they’re working remotely

Marketers are also using AI-powered reports to evaluate how well their locations are answering and converting calls. These reports, generated by a call tracking and analytics solution, show the sales calls driven to each location, the lead score of the calls, the call conversion rates, and the percentage of calls that go to voicemail. They can then use that data to coordinate with sales to improve call experiences at their locations.

To learn more about how call tracking data can enhance your marketing strategy, download our Call Tracking Study Guide for Marketers.

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