Skip to main content

Using Data to its Fullest Extent

Today’s marketing strategies can be data-driven when the information is used smartly

Years ago, I had a client who referred to the marketing team as the “pretty pictures department.” That was back when people viewed marketing as an art.

For savvy marketers today, marketing is less of an art and more of a data-driven science. Data, when used properly, drives decisions with measurable results. And thanks to big data, marketing teams look more like a computer science lab than an artist’s studio.

Marketers now have access to more data than ever. From website traffic reports and acquisition analytics to social media insights and engagement metrics, there is no shortage of information. It’s not easy to make sense of this massive collection of structured and unstructured data, and many marketing teams can quickly find themselves overwhelmed.

Here are a few things to consider when you incorporate data-driven decision-making into your marketing strategy.

Check the Digital Plumbing

Before data can be analyzed, it has to be collected. Most of us are familiar with third-party collection tools, such as Google Analytics, tag manager and tracking pixels. These are critical components that help organize unstructured data into structured data.

Perform a digital audit to make sure these tools are properly installed and functioning as intended. Most platforms for customer-relationship management, and most email-management dashboards, allow for interconnectivity across these tools. Take advantage of those features whenever possible.

Count What Matters

Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean it needs measuring. With so much information available, it’s easy to waste time analyzing that which is irrelevant. For example, one could easily spend hours determining the best time of day to launch a paid social ad campaign, when in reality, the difference is negligible.

Know What Else Counts

Data-based marketing strategies use information to inform decisions and gain insight. Well-rounded marketers understand that there are other considerations, and that the data doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Data is an important piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the only piece.

Industry experience, personal relationships with consumers and market expertise are not always represented by data points.

Beware False Causality

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc: “after this, therefore because of this.”

That thinking is a fallacy. Just because one event followed another event does not mean the first event caused the second event. This is called a false cause.

Here’s an example: We were working with a client whose most important goal was to drive traffic to his website, because he had determined that for every 150,000 website visitors, he sold one boat.

He fell victim to the fallacy of false causality. He drew an incorrect correlation between two data points, and ignored a number of other variables, such as the quality of the site traffic, seasonality, the traffic source and more.

Data is not a magic Band-Aid for poor messaging. Overreliance on data can reduce marketing effectiveness. Disorganized data can lead to lost opportunity. Bad data can lead to costly mistakes.

Properly managed, however, data-driven strategies will help your pretty pictures department determine exactly what pictures to paint, where they should hang and when they should be displayed. 

Eric Dallin is vice president of marketing innovation for Active Interest Media’s Marine Group, which includes Soundings Trade Only.

This article was originally published in the August 2021 issue.

Related

Teaser-Graphic-6-29-22_2

2022 Women in the Industry Summit, Leadership Panel, Awards Ceremony & Reception

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2022, MARRIOTT TAMPA WATER STREET, TAMPA, FL

DealerOutlook

Seabins Coming to Lake Erie

The devices, deployed as part of a pilot program, skim and collect debris from the water, including microplastics. Meanwhile, MBIA announces scholarship funds.

1_BOATSETTER

Boatsetter Reports Uptick in Rentals

The on-water experience company has seen triple-digit growth in pontoon and party-boat rentals, as well as fishing and yacht charters.

1_SMARTGYRO

Smartgyro Signs Distributors, Hires Sales Manager

The company said the three U.S. distributors, working with Bob Walker, will help expand its dealer network and brand recognition.

1_YEARGIN

The Upside of a Downturn

Economic challenges should push you to develop a strategy that helps you weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.

1_TRAVELIFT.COOP

Marine Travelift Launches Co-op Program

The company received its first student, a University of Wisconsin engineering major, in the seven-month paid co-op.

1_JULY4

Trade Only Today Returns Tuesday

The e-newsletter will not publish July 4 in observance of Independence Day. We wish everyone a safe holiday weekend.

1_ORR.FUNDS

ORR Announces Federally Funded Projects

The U.S. Economic Development Administration prioritized outdoor recreation for the first time