It’s hard to avoid the word data-driven these days. I’m sure you hear it often, it’s a catchy business term that means use data to make informed decisions. But what does it really mean to be data-driven?
Using data to improve decision-making means using information to adjust direction to do more of what is working and pivoting away from what’s not working.
We’re really good at trusting our intuition, but intuition is often misleading. Intuition is built on limited and biased information. When you mix data with your intuition, you have a more reliable process for taking action!
Think about this way, do you invest in the stock market and see how it goes, or do you monitor economic and market conditions? The same goes for your marketing. If you’re spending money on marketing and hoping for a good outcome, there’s a lot of room for improvement.
Pivot and Adjust
If you’ve done any kind of marketing optimization then you’re familiar with data-informed marketing – it’s a continuous process of change to improve an outcome.
Start with a baseline that defines what normal looks like: What do normal monthly sales look like? What does normal website traffic look like? What does normal advertising conversion look like? A baseline gives you something quantifiable to measure against.
Next, create a process for tracking over time. As you go down the path of measurement, you’ll be surprised at what you learn. Some things will confirm your intuition, and some things will come as a surprise.
I worked with a retailer who invested a large portion of the marketing budget in SEO and assumed it caused an increase in sales. After analyzing the data we found the increase in sales came from email campaigns. SEO did a great job of getting people to the website and signing up for the email list, but email drove a lot of sales. With this information, we were able to focus on email personalization to increase sales (Adjust) and use SEO and social media to get email signups (Pivot).
As you work on your marketing initiatives, create a baseline for measurement and a process for tracking alongside the activities. Pivot and adjust where necessary.