A complete guide to developing data-driven marketing culture

Creative and statistical seems to be in contrast as we all know that our left and right brain works differently. While numbers may not seem interesting to most of the marketers as previous marketing campaigns request a high level of creatives, the market is changing. Companies keep working on digital transformation in recent years and it has created so much data related to customer and market behavior. Marketing departments are in an excellent position to lead the charge for developing a data-driven culture to find new business opportunities.
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What is a data-driven marketing culture?

A company’s culture reflects the way its staff thinks, behaves, and works. A data-driven culture is a culture that makes your decision based on actual data but not experience or beliefs in order to avoid human perception and error. In Master Concept, we have a google-like working environment which gives us a huge room to set our own Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). Taking the most meaningful and valuable actions based on analytics to achieve our OKR is not easy but the universal basis in our company.

How do we start a data-driven marketing culture?

Some of the marketers started their conversation with “I think”, “It was like”, “I believe” which is possibly experience sharing and guessing. Can you answer the following questions with confidence? 

  • Are your customers really interested in what you are telling them? 
  • Are your competitors having the great results as you thought while you are taking reference from them?

Speaking from experience, it is really depressing when you find out you know nothing from your customers or what you can do to achieve your target effectively. That is where we started looking into the potential of what data can do for us. No matter the size of your company or marketing team, building a foundation for data-driven marketing culture will save you tons of time:

People Training: 5 Tips to train your mind to be data-driven

1. Leave your beliefs behind

From observation, there are three types of data readers: self-believer, prover, and founder. Even if they are reading the same dashboard, they react differently.

Self-believer: Believe only what they want to believe and ignore all data

Prover: Find the data they need only to prove their efforts or thoughts

Founder: Find valuable information and insights from data, good or bad

An ideal data-driven mind needs to be able to leave everything behind while reading data, try to find and understand what just happened in the market, and make decisions based on results from a process of Assumption, Testing, and Measurement.

2. Understand methodology and definition

Before we start analyzing, you should be aware, numbering 0-9 actually means nothing until you give them a definition. It comes to the question: What does the data mean to you? Spending some time understanding the logic behind data and your marketing dashboard will help you to allocate your marketing budget correctly and accurately. Here is an example, where “Definition” cost a huge waste of marketing budget.

One of my friends in Taiwan was holding an ecommerce platform to sell clothing and they hired a local marketing agency to enter a new market. They were using the most commonly-used data analytics tool: Google Analytics to measure the result and KPI: number of new users and conversion rate. A year later, my friend came to me and asked: “The data looks good in GA, a great number of new users and conversion rate, but the actual number of new users in our CRM hasn’t increased much. Why?” 

Does “new users” in GA really represent a new user? According to Google, “User” is based on “cookies” and different browsers or devices have different cookies. By default, the cookie will expire after 2 years from the date it was last refreshed. The visit will be counted as “new users” after expiration. The reason behind this is because the agency has changed the expire setting from 2 years to a week. By doing so, helped them to retarget the visitor in order to keep the conversion rate and turned those returning users into “new users”. They get paid with a bonus for a year because of KPI achievement.

3. Identify user flow and key metrics

Having a brief understanding of data definition is a starter of identifying your marketing data flow and key metrics. This will give you a clear direction and a big hand to achieve your marketing objectives. Say for an example: If you are working on search engine optimization (SEO), the user flow looks like “Impressions > Clicks > Visits” and probably you would care about the ranking of the selected keywords. Can you see the hidden messages from the user flow and metrics?

In a data-driven mind, each step of user flow and its related metrics includes a list of elements and actions that impact the performance. For instance, the number of keywords, search volumes, keywords ranking will impact the number of impressions to your website. The relevance of website title, website loading speed will impact the number of actual visits. You will be able to design a plan to optimize specific elements based on actual data, not just spending time on creating thousands of blogs. 

4. Explain analytical choices

As a Marketing Manager, the most frequent questions to be asked might be:

  • Which marketing channels have the best performance? 
  • What would you do in the coming quarter? Any plans and estimated results?

Data analytics helps to provide insights based on research and data. In a data-driven marketing culture, marketers are held accountable to provide analytical reasoning and basis for their choices. Increase the marketing budget on Google Ads as it has the lowest CPA, never do offline events again as it is costly, time consuming with the highest CPA.

It’s important to ensure the marketing team aligns data strategies with company goals and is accessible across the stakeholders. It sounds complex but there are a lot of data measurement tools out there that help to make your analytic procedure easier. And we will talk about the tools in the second half of this article.

5. Act and react in a more positive manner

Last but not least, learn to positively change how you respond to data. Some of the marketers might jump into emotional situations that they have spent a lot of time on a campaign. A lot of time, they won’t give up even when data shows the campaign doesn’t drive good results. Making sure you understand the result is not good enough doesn’t mean you work for nothing but an opportunity to start working on something worth your time.

Data Aggregation: 5 marketing tools for beginner

There was an interesting quote several years ago, “You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” from Daniel Keys Moran. 

Even if you got your mind ready, you would need some help to generate your marketing data for analysis. And here is the list of tools you need:

  1. Google Tag Manager (Tag management solution)
    No doubt, our first impression about data aggregation is technical stuff that none of the marketers know LOL Google heard it. Google Tag Manager is a complete tag management solution that gives you the ability to manage all your website or application tags for conversion tracking, user behaviour analytics, remarketing, and…nearly everything. And the most important thing is: no code editing needed.

  2. Google Analytics (Web+App Measurement)
    Google Analytics is the most commonly-used measurement tool in the world which covers more than 70%+ websites. Most of the digital marketers agreed it is a must-have tool for collecting marketing data. Not only because it can help to receive a ton of customers’ behaviour data, it also includes AI and machine learning to provide insights for beginners. The collection of free courses in Google Analytics Academy will help you to understand clearly the data before you start.

  3. Google Optimize (A/B testing & Optimization)
    Google Optimize is an online free experiment tool that helps online marketers to test on different variants of your website. It includes three types of testing – A/B testing, multivariate testing, and redirect tests. Optimize allows you to see how different variants perform against an objective that you specify and monitors the results of your experiment.

  4. HubSpot (Inbound Marketing Platform)
    HubSpot actually offers a full platform for marketing, sales, and customer service. It gives you the ability to integrate most of the commonly-used marketing channels and platforms. Like Facebook, Google, Linkedin, etc. In other words, you can easily manage and track your marketing activities all in one place including social media content creation, email marketing, workflow automation, performance tracking, and so on. (If you think that is too complex to start using Hubspot, Master Concept offers a free database setup for new users who would submit starter package or above, feel free to leave us a message)

  5. Semrush (Research & Strategy Planning)
    When we say Semrush, we always think that is only for SEO. In fact, Semrush is a highly effective all-in-one digital marketing tool for marketers to research and work on your strategic planning. This Tool includes 5 toolkits and each of them covers a key area in digital marketing: SEO, Advertising, Social Media, Content Marketing, and Competitive Research. You can easily compare your performance with your key competitors and get insights to move next. (Master Concept provides 1-month trial and 25% off for new users who billed annually, contact us for more details)

Are you getting ready to drive action with data?

Developing a data-driven marketing culture requires the right training, data aggregation tools, quality data, accessibility to the data, and processes to analyze the data. Following the steps above will help you make better decisions that are backed with data. By nurturing a data-driven marketing culture, the marketing department is better positioned to directly act on the data for developing and implementing marketing campaigns that align with company goals, rather than just “gut” feeling or experience.

Master Concept provides a wide range of cloud solutions that help SMB and Enterprise operate effectively in digital transformation. Not only a long-time Google Cloud Premier Partner, but we also partner with many digital tools like Hubspot, SEMrush, Mixpanel, etc. We provide the best-in-class transformation solutions tailor-made just for your company and backed by managed service. If you are looking for a partner to help you transform your marketing team, send us an email.

By WY Tong | Digital Marketing Manager

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