Data driven marketing is an approach that improves the effectiveness of B2B marketing by fuelling it with information. This data is sourced from prior campaigns, marketing technologies or third parties. Then it is used as a bedrock to drive efficiencies and optimisations.
This page includes a wealth of information on what data driven marketing is and the role it should play in an efficient marketing team. Use the links below to navigate around this page.
In 90 seconds: what is data driven marketing? | Why is data driven marketing important? | Who conducts data driven marketing? | What are the major data driven marketing activities? | How can a data driven marketing strategy be implemented? | What technology can help with data driven marketing? | Cognism’s data driven marketing resources | Further reading and external links | Contact Cognism today
Data driven marketing explained in 90 seconds 👇
The future of marketing is data driven. We have identified several reasons to commit to a data driven approach, which we’ve laid out in the infographic below. 👇
In simple terms, it’s the entire marketing team. Everyone needs to understand the target market, the team goals and the KPIs, to ensure that they’re pulling in the same direction.
The three main groups of data driven marketers are outlined below.
Content has historically sat in a pretty unusual position, caught somewhere between creative marketing and analytical marketing. But the modern content team should be just as data driven as the other marketing teams.
The campaign marketers (also known as demand generation marketers) should rely heavily on data. It should fuel their every move.
This is a key attribute to look for when hiring. Make sure that the interviewee is data driven and make sure they’re as analytical as they are creative. They need to have the spark to get a campaign going, and the ruthlessness to cut one off when it’s not working.
These hires are hard to find, but worth every penny.
This role is already set up to work closely with B2B data - which they use when running and monitoring their paid ads.
The performance marketer has to be focused too; a keen understanding and interest in their campaigns is needed to stay on top of their game.
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Data driven marketing is conducted through a variety of marketing activities. These are different for each of the three data driven marketer types.
Content marketers will study data for planning, executing and reviewing their content activities.
The major activities for content marketing are:
SEO research is an integral part of content planning. Keyword analysis should be undertaken, using websites like Ahrefs and SEMrush - which will help the marketer to identify low-competition, high traffic keywords.
Without the data provided by these sites, a content marketer would be writing aimlessly, hoping to strike a chord using just their writing ability and guesswork.
In contrast, the data driven content marketer doesn’t guess.
Instead, they gather data and review the strategies of their competitors. Then they create plans which are far more likely to succeed.
This often involves reviewing third party data, along with your own collected data. Having access to the studies and reports of other companies will give the marketer more content to work with.
Articles perform better when they’re full of facts and statistics - and many companies provide these for free, as they’re often great backlink plays.
Before writing an article, the data driven content marketer will research their topic and gather some stats to include in their copy. The goal they must always have in mind is how best to use the data and improve Google rankings for each article.
Innovation is highly-prized in B2B content marketing. But there’s also a lot to be said for following closely behind - of using the experiences of other companies to inform your decisions, without taking as much risk.
This is why the data driven content marketer will review the strategies and successes of their competitors, so they know which ones to emulate, and which ones to avoid.
If hindsight is 20/20, then hindsight backed up by data is at least 30/30. It gives the data driven marketer the ability to look at previous campaigns and say - let’s do more of that (or not!).
Here are some of the key metrics that content marketers should always be measuring:
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Campaign marketers will use data for planning, reviewing, continuing or terminating their campaigns. Their major activities are:
Lead nurturing is the process of keeping in touch with outbound leads until they’re ready to buy. It’s a hard line to walk: too much interaction and you’ll scare them off, too little interaction and you’ll miss your shot.
Collecting data on the leads being nurtured will grant the marketer more precision. It can give insight into the content types they’ll be interested in and how close they are to purchasing your product.
With this information, the lead can be given a customer journey that suits them.
Marketing attribution is often the next big step for marketing teams. It can take a little while to figure out, but it can drastically improve how you understand your campaigns.
It’s the process of identifying the customer journey more specifically. Good questions to ask at the start of this process are:
Much like the content marketer, the campaign marketer should keep a close eye on trends. Using information generated by third parties and their own insights, they can create a more informed campaign strategy.
While this information is not often included in the campaigns themselves, it’s invaluable for campaign planning.
Without doubt, email marketing is highly dependent on data. It’s also a vital channel for campaign marketers, in terms of promoting content, boosting brand awareness and reaching new prospects.
When running email campaigns, these are the metrics that campaign marketers focus on:
These data points should all be accessible through your email automation platform, so there’s no excuse for not using them!
If your email automation platform gives you access to any additional stats, then take a look at them. We can’t give you a definitive list of the additional stats you need to be measuring (other than the above) - because it’s different for every company.
The trick to working out which stats should be used is to consider your company goals. Then identify the steps that need to be taken to reach them. If any of those steps can be measured with the data points you have available...you’re in business.
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You’ll struggle to find an aspect of the performance marketer’s role that isn’t data driven.
Their major activities are:
This is almost as important for the performance marketer as for the content marketers. If they’re creating digital ads, they’ll need a well-thought out keyword strategy.
The performance marketer also needs to keep a close eye on market trends. It’ll help them make informed decisions about the positioning and messaging of their campaigns. Without this, the performance marketer will forever be playing catch up.
This is the performance marketer’s bread and butter. Campaign statistics need to be checked every day, so the performance marketer knows when to suspend or double down on a campaign.
The information also helps them to create more successful campaigns. They can review the past results to determine the most effective channels, messaging and creative assets.
These are the most important statistics for a performance marketer to measure:
These data points will all be available through your chosen paid ads platform.
A data driven marketing strategy will make your marketing efforts more predictable and successful. There are 10 steps to implementing one:
That involves your current team, other teams in the company, and your customers. Learn what they want from your company, who they are, and what types of content they regularly engage with.
You have to familiarise yourself with the data that already exists in the company. What is being tracked, how’s it being tracked, are there any gaps. Then you can start thinking about filling those gaps.
Look at your existing content and find out what’s missing. What should you be producing more of? If you’re struggling to identify anything, take a look at your competitors for inspiration. They’ll either let you know what to do, or what to avoid.
It’s easy for marketing to take a back seat in the journey of the business - simply creating articles and assets for other departments when needed. A high-performing marketing team needs to stand up on its own.
This means ensuring the marketing team understands the wider business goals and owns the metrics specific to their roles.
Top marketers need to understand every level of the business, not just revenue. This means meeting with the product team and having training sessions to ensure they have thorough product knowledge. The content they produce will improve tenfold.
This means starting small, seeing what works, and growing gradually. Don’t be afraid to close any channels which aren’t working. When it comes to performance marketing, it pays to be ruthless!
Each marketer should have their own revenue-based targets to hit. Give the separate teams a fraction of the revenue target to hit each month - to ensure they’re revenue driven. It’s also important to give them measurable KPIs, so they can take charge of the data for their own role.
Find out which technologies the company is already using, and find out whether it’s providing value. If it’s not, cut it.
These can take time, but they’re so important. Make sure you focus on each individual stage of the stream, rather than just the end goal. This means measuring and changing things on the fly. Great marketing starts with creativity - but is driven by data.
Do as much as you can, get as much live as possible. Then worry about the bigger picture afterwards. Until you have data to work with and existing campaigns to review, you can’t be data driven. So get to work!
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Counting on your fingers is a great method for gathering your data, if your website has less than 10 views. Any more than that, and you’ll have to start using your toes too! Any more than that, and you’ll need to invest in some marketing technology.
The good news is, when you have the right tech stack, it can carry most of the data driven marketer’s load.
If you’re struggling to find the right tech, check out our own marketing tech stack. Click 👇
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