Posted on: 07 07 2023

Investing in a data-driven culture for marketing success

Written by
Robert Nygård
Reading time: 5 mins

Data has become the lifeblood of effective marketing strategies in today's digital landscape. Marketing professionals understand the importance of leveraging data to gain insights, make informed decisions, and drive results. However, achieving data maturity – that is to say, unlocking the real potential of your data is a journey that requires careful planning and the right technology infrastructure.  

At the initial stages, marketing teams tend to rely on manual reporting – they collect data from various sources, consolidate it, and analyse it manually. Yes, this approach does provide some level of visibility, but it can be time-consuming and prone to human error. The first milestone in the data maturity roadmap is to move beyond manual reporting and embrace automatically updated dashboards. By leveraging technologies like business intelligence tools and visualization platforms, marketing teams can access real-time data and gain actionable insights on demand.   

Leveraging advanced analytics to reach data maturity 

As data maturity progresses, the focus shifts toward predictive marketing and hyper-personalization. This milestone requires advanced analytics capabilities and machine learning algorithms to anticipate customer behaviour, personalize messaging, and optimize marketing campaigns. To achieve this, companies must establish centralized marketing data through data warehouses and pipelines. By consolidating data from various sources into a single repository, marketing teams can unlock the power of comprehensive insights and enable advanced analytics.  

Furthermore, implementing customer data platforms (CDPs) or leveraging cloud platforms with AI and machine learning capabilities becomes crucial. These technologies enable marketers to leverage predictive models, segmentation, and automation to deliver personalized experiences at scale. With a robust infrastructure in place, marketing teams can embark on rapid experimentation, testing different strategies and tactics to uncover what works best for their audience.  

Key performance indicators (KPIs) for data-driven marketing  

Data-driven marketing is only effective when it aligns with the ultimate goal: generating revenue through marketing activities. To measure success accurately, marketing teams must define and track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that support their goals. Lag and lead KPIs are vital in establishing a hierarchy that guides decision-making and drives performance. Let’s dig a little deeper into those two. 

Lag KPIs are outcome-based metrics that reflect historical performance, such as revenue, conversions, or customer acquisition costs. While important, these metrics alone do not provide actionable insights for ongoing optimization. That's where lead KPIs come into play.  

Lead KPIs are predictive indicators that influence lag KPIs and serve as early warning signs of performance trends. For instance, lead KPIs could include website traffic, engagement rates, or generated qualified leads. Marketing teams that use growth marketing often adopt a test-oriented sprint-based model. In this approach, they prioritize certain key performance indicators (KPIs) as benchmarks for success.   

You can even take this a step further. For example, some teams focus on a lower-level KPI (Key Performance Indicators) called "tests per sprint." By increasing the number of tests conducted during each sprint, they can have a more significant impact on the higher-level KPIs. This strategy is a key factor in the success of growth marketing because it directly targets and improves the primary KPIs used in marketing efforts.  

Marketing teams should establish a 'Wildly Important Goal' (WIG). You can think of this as a North Star metric since it helps to ensure alignment between the company's goals and KPIs. This overarching objective acts as a compass, guiding the team's efforts and unifying the organization around a common purpose. By setting a tangible business goal, such as increasing revenue by a specific percentage or expanding market share, marketing teams can build KPIs that support the ultimate marketing objective.   

When identifying the most important marketing KPIs, it's crucial to consider different marketing functions and platforms in use and the stages of the customer journey. For example:   

Reach: Website traffic, social media reach, and brand awareness metrics (impressions, reach, the share of voice) measure the visibility of marketing efforts.   

Engage: Click-through rate, time spent on a page, and bounce rate metrics help gauge audience engagement with content and campaigns.   

Activate: Lead conversion rate, form completions, and trial sign-up metrics indicate the effectiveness of marketing in converting prospects into leads or trial users.   

Nurture: Email open rate, click-through rate, and lead nurturing progression track the effectiveness of nurturing campaigns and customer engagement.   

Sales: Customer conversion rate, SQL's generated, customer acquisition cost, and customer lifetime value measure the impact of marketing efforts on driving sales and revenue.   

Fostering data-driven change in marketing  

Adopting a data-driven culture within a marketing unit requires strong leadership and a deliberate change management approach. One model that can guide marketing leaders in driving this change is Kotter's model for change leadership, consisting of eight stages:   

1. Create a sense of urgency: Articulate the importance of data-driven marketing, highlighting its potential benefits and competitive advantages.

2. Form a powerful coalition: Build a cross-functional team of stakeholders to champion data-driven initiatives and drive organizational change.

3. Create a vision for change: Develop a compelling vision that outlines how data maturity will transform marketing and contribute to overall business success.

4. Communicate the vision: Clearly communicate the vision to the marketing team, ensuring everyone understands the rationale behind the change and the desired outcomes.

5. Empower action: Provide marketing professionals with the necessary resources, tools, and training to embrace data-driven practices and make informed decisions.

6. Generate short-term wins: Celebrate and showcase early successes to motivate the team and demonstrate the value of data-driven marketing.

7. Consolidate gains and produce more change: Continue to refine data processes, optimize data infrastructure, and encourage ongoing learning and improvement.

8. Anchor the changes in culture: Institutionalize data-driven practices by incorporating them into standard operating procedures, performance evaluations, and training programs.   

By following this change leadership model, marketing leaders can foster a positive shift towards data maturity and embed a data-driven culture within their teams.   

Unlocking the power of data in marketing  

As marketing professionals, we stand at the forefront of a data revolution that has the potential to transform the way we connect with our audience and drive business growth. The journey toward data maturity starts with recognizing milestones, embracing technology, and establishing a data-driven culture. By leveraging centralized marketing dashboards, aligning KPIs to revenue generation goals, and fostering a positive change, marketing teams can unlock the full potential of their data.   

Suffice to say, this blog post only scratches the surface of what's possible. The world of data-driven marketing is evolving rapidly, and there's much more to explore on this exciting journey. If you're looking to unlock the power of data and propel your marketing efforts to new heights, come and talk with our data and performance team at Luxid. 

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