Marketing Mind: Understand Your Customers to Optimize Performance
Getting inside the marketing mind means not only understanding your customers and how they make decisions but understanding your own marketing efforts to ensure they align with your customers and prospects.
Take a look at the infographic at the bottom of this post (if you have trouble reading it, simply click on the figure to enlarge it). The image shows a look inside the marketing mind.
Divided into 2 hemispheres (unfortunately, a division of labor that has fallen out of favor in the medical community) makes the distinction between analytical and creative aspects of marketing. In the not too distant past, these activities would have been similarly divided with the IT and Finance functions concerned with analytical components and marketing/ sales folks owning the creative components of marketing. Just as the notion that the 2 hemispheres of the brain function independently has fallen, so has the functionality of dividing analytical and creative activities between different departments or functional areas.
Today, I’d like to focus on the data side of the marketing mind. For more on the creative side, check out my posts on content marketing.
The analytical marketing mind
It wasn’t so long ago that marketing was dominated by creatives and expressing marketing performance relied on squishy metrics such as ad recall and reach. Today, properly constructed marketing efforts generate a host of metrics that help businesses optimize market performance in terms of sales, conversion rates, AOV (average order value), and customer acquisition — things that translate to the firm’s bottom line.
Based on the infographic, data analysis generates 7X as many inquiries and 4X as many leads compared to firms who don’t analyze such data. I leave it to you to see other benefits of having an analytical marketing mind.
All data has a cost. Those costs may reflect costs to gather, analyze, and store the data. Or, the cost may reflect annoyances to prospective customers that might interfere with conversion–opportunity costs. Either way, you should only collect data that help improve your marketing efforts to reduce these costs.
Data quality is critically important, as well. Bad data lead to bad decisions and the prevalence of inaccurate data makes this a serious concern. Data mistakes come from a variety of sources, but the most common is human error–either the data was input incorrectly or there was a problem constructing the database. Sometimes, data errors come during analysis when data are combined without a clear understanding of the data contained in the database. For instance, combining inquiries with conversions would be inappropriate but it analysts don’t clearly understand what is in the database, they might make such a combination.
Companies with clean data are 3X more likely to see revenue growth, according to the infographic.
Data analysis and application
In the old days, marketing or someone in the C-suite might ask a business intelligence employee to create a report that can be run daily, weekly, etc or for a custom report. The request might take days or weeks to complete. Today, we need up-to-the-minute data, often in real-time, and our data needs change frequently. Hence, marketers must become more analytical with the ability to query databases using SQL, Python, and other tools. At the same time, traditional marketing research is less about surveys analyzed using SPSS, and more about qualitative data collection using text analytics.
Data analysis has moved beyond targeting, to focus on marketing personas, which contain rich behavioral and psychographic data in addition to demographics.
Sharing the marketing mind
Data must be shared among the various folks who’ll use the data–such as sales, creative, operations, NPD (new product development), and other functional areas. Holding the data hostage with only a few people able to access it is counterproductive.
Aligning the creative with data is necessary to optimize market performance. Good, quality, fresh leads need to go out to the sales force (who also need to funnel insights back to the corporation rather than hold them close to the chest). Creative needs to understand which offers, headlines, images, sharing options, and posting schedules are most effective, they need to understand how and why subscribers respond to email messages, they need to know what social media strategies are working best on which platforms. Helping creatives glean actionable insights from the data is critical for performance.
And, that’s why it’s often ineffective to use statisticians or other data crunchers for data analysis. It’s not that they aren’t experts with data manipulation because they are. But, without an understanding of marketing concepts, these data jockeys don’t know WHAT to look for, as not all metrics that contribute to market performance are obvious to those without such training. By the same token, data analysts might have a hard time translating the data into action for creatives who may also not have a good understanding of marketing concepts.
Hence, someone needs to bridge the hemispheres between data and creatives.
Data helps tailor content
Another way in which the complete marketing mind facilitates market performance is through using data to tailor content to individual users. For instance, knowing that a particular visitor is interested in a particular product and how they’ll use that product, helps creatives tailor their content to better align content with the needs of that customer. Knowing where a customer is along the journey toward conversion and loyalty also helps creatives craft content that specifically addresses concerns a visitor might have based on their own customer journey. Knowing how to effectively address these concerns leads to improved market performance.