Marketing as we once knew it is dead.
In the past, brands that shouted the loudest, gave the most incentives, and had the most authority in their fields won the battle. But today, we haved moved to a more customer-centric era in which your brand's value is determined by its ability to connect to your target audience, and win them over by going above and beyond to cater to all of their wants, needs, and interests.
While this may sound like a win-win for everyone, gaining favorability on a massive scale is extremely challenging. That's why ultimately, every marketer must turn to data to understand their customers on a deep personal level.
With data you can attain basic information such as location, age, gender, etc as well as more lucrative information such as previous purchases, buying patterns, and more.
Of course, this information enriches your campaigns and makes them more pertinent to your audience. Read on to discover the best ways to use data and market research to redefine your marketing efforts.
What is big data technology?
Big data technology is making waves in a huge number of industries. While there's a lot of talk about big data on the internet, the term can feel vague and allusive for those of us unfamiliar with the tactic.
Simply put, big data is the process of analyzing large data sets in order to attain patterns in behavior, activity, and many other important implications.
As you can tell from a marketing standpoint, this is a game changer. Having all the necessary information in one easy place regarding buying habits, trends, and the likes and dislikes of particular user segments can help you become more in tune with customer needs, so you can take your targeting initiatives to the next level. In the end, you gain more sales, greater loyalty, and customer retention.
Take for example Wal-Mart. The retail giant was able to increase online purchases by 10-15% by using big data to better understand their customer's search terms. As a result, they were able to come up with more relevant products for every search their user made.
While big data is certainly innovative, putting it into practice can feel a bit complex, which is why smart marketers take advantage of big data technology providers. Let's learn how.
Making it work: Contextual and precision marketing
With big data to back you up, the next step is to use the information acquired to create hyper targeted data-driven marketing campaigns. Using tactics such as Contextual Marketing and Precision Marketing will help you to do this better.
Just as it sounds, Contextual Marketing is using data to come up with various contexts in which specific marketing promotions would succeed. Often times, they focus on five main components: geolocation, time, device, language, and performance.
For example, a local small business may want to use geolocation as a tactic to gain customers in their area. Likewise, a chocolate business may want to take advantage of time oriented contexts such as Valentine's Day or Mother's Day.
As you can see, this tactic is more personal because it is geared to understand a customer's reasoning and push points to purchase specific products and services.
Precision Marketing on the other hand gives marketers a better understanding of needs, behavioral patterns, and interests to enable marketers to gear products and promotions that fit each segment's personal preferences. This way, when a customer shows interest in specific rock bands for example, you can hyper target them by showing them songs from similar artists.
Now that you have the data and strategy to go beyond personalization, it's time for practical application. This is where you get in the nitty gritty of creating your data-driven marketing campaigns.
Here are some great examples of how you can use big data to combine contextual and precision marketing:
Strategy #1 – Targeted email marketing
By keeping the above in mind, you can take your next email marketing campaign to the next level.
Big data technology will help you collect all the information necessary to create personas of various micro segments. For example, you can pair together all female doctors that are 50+ in California, or group together teenage soccer fans living in New Jersey. Then you can develop email campaigns specifically geared to their needs and interests in order to grab them from the beginning.
You can take it even further by creating emails triggered to their behavior. According to ClickZ, this tactic has proven to recapture 10-20% of disengaged customers.
Without big data analytics however, creating personalized email campaigns that truly fit each customer's unique preferences is next to impossible. Thankfully, technology vendors like Optimove make it easy to collect this data, making individualized email campaigns simple to create. With predictive analytics thrown in the algorithmic mix, past behavior is also leveraged to anticipate customers' most probable next step.
Take for example the email campaign below from Rue Lala which targets customers based on previous purchases. This campaign was more effective because it took note of user's tastes and predicted behavior in order to drive them back for return purchases.
Strategy #2 – Retargeting campaigns
Retargeting is critical for all expert marketers. According to Conversion XL, Watchfinder's retargeting efforts resulted in a 1,300% increase in ROI, which of course reveals quite a bit about the effectiveness of retargeting campaigns.
Incredible results like this as well as increased engagement and loyalty from customers is what makes retargeting so popular, especially in the realm of ecommerce and other like industries.
Since retargeting essentially reaches out to people who have previously shown interest in specific products, retargeting is clearly more effective when you can aggregate important data such as location, interests, and which products customers have looked at in the past.
Successful retargeting campaigns rely on big data analytics software solutions to help companies ingest such large amounts of data, process, and analyze it in real time. These solutions can either be cloud based, on-premise, or a combination of both. SQream, for example, is one such software vendor, enabling marketers to process and analyze online streaming data against years of historical data in real-time.
For example, this retargeting campaign from Expedia targeted users that were previously searching for vacations, airfare, and/or hotel rooms. Since they knew to reach people that had shown interest in travel, they were able to automatically offer relevant deals to interested users, enabling significantly higher results.
Strategy #3 – Landing pages
Landing pages allow you to reel your customers in according to a logical user journey. This way, they connect to you through various search terms relevant to the products and/or solutions you offer and are more likely to perform your desired call to action.
Targeted landing pages backed by big data take this to the next level. Unlike typical landing pages, targeted landing pages use data to come up with which segments of your audience are interested in particular topics. This way, you can target the most relevant personas for each landing page, gaining greater interest and more relevant prospects each time.
For example, the landing page below by Muck Rack has two specific target audiences. Therefore, the landing page itself must cater to each one of their specific needs in order to be successful.
Using data to drive your campaigns can help your marketing soar to new heights. You become more connected with your audience's needs and as a result, they are more likely to turn to you for solutions for years to come.
Guest Author: Yoav Vilner is CEO at Ranky. He's a regular contributor at Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, TheNextWeb, Huffington Post, Venturebeat and more. Yoav mainly discusses growth hacking, marketing and anything startup-related.
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3 Ingenious Ways to Create Data-Driven Marketing Campaigns