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What is Data Driven Marketing?

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.

In 90 seconds: what is data driven marketing?

Data driven marketing explained in 90 seconds 👇

Why is data driven marketing important?

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. 👇

Data Driven Marketing

Who conducts data driven marketing?

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 marketers

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.

Campaign marketers

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.

Performance marketers

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.

Marketing team resources

How to structure a winning B2B marketing team | 5 things marketers can learn while listening to sales calls

What are the major data driven marketing activities?

Data driven marketing is conducted through a variety of marketing activities. These are different for each of the three data driven marketer types.

Content marketing

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. 

Market trends

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.

Competitor analysis

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.

Content performance metrics

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:

  • Content ROI
  • Conversion rate
  • Unique page views
  • Form submissions
  • Content shares
  • Content downloads
  • Leads generated
  • Website ROI

Content marketing resources

The beginner's guide to SEO | How to use content marketing to generate leads (in B2B) | 6 B2B content marketing ideas to level-up your strategy | How to upgrade your LinkedIn marketing strategy | B2B marketing strategies

Campaign marketing

Campaign marketers will use data for planning, reviewing, continuing or terminating their campaigns. Their major activities are:

Lead nurturing

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

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:

  • Where are our leads coming from?
  • Where are they dropping off?
  • How are we gaining or losing leads?

Market trends

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.

Email marketing metrics

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 prospecting

When running email campaigns, these are the metrics that campaign marketers focus on:

  • List size
  • Bounce rate
  • Open rate
  • Read rate
  • Deliverability rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Sharing rate
  • Click-through rate

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’re in business.

Campaign marketing resources

Email marketing 101 | Our top-performing email marketing campaigns | Why you need email marketing automation | How to Build the Perfect ABM Campaign

Performance marketing

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.

Market trends

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.

Paid ads performance metrics

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:

  • Impressions
  • Ad position
  • Click rate
  • Lead rate
  • Closed deal rate
  • Cost per impression
  • Cost per click
  • Cost per lead

These data points will all be available through your chosen paid ads platform.

Performance marketing resources

 LinkedIn advertising uncovered | The beginner’s guide to PPC | The ultimate guide to Facebook advertising

How can a data driven marketing strategy be implemented?

A data driven marketing strategy will make your marketing efforts more predictable and successful. There are 10 steps to implementing one:

1. Get to know the stakeholders

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.

2. Dive into the data

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.


3. Build a content strategy

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.

4. Make marketing revenue driven

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.

5. Become a product specialist

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.

6. Get systematic with paid

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!

7. Set targets for your team

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.

8. Review your tech stack

Find out which technologies the company is already using, and find out whether it’s providing value. If it’s not, cut it.

9. Establish nurture streams

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.

10. Get things done!

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!

Marketing data resources

B2B marketing KPIs: what you need to track | 5 reasons why B2B marketers need to be data-driven | 6 customer data types needed for B2B marketing |  How to identify B2B target market and B2B audience? | How to turn website traffic into leads | What is inbound and outbound marketing? | What is Account Based Marketing? | Account based marketing data

What technology can help with data driven marketing?

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.

Cognism’s data driven marketing resources

If you’re still after more information on data driven marketing, you’re in luck.

We have loads of it.

Here are a few of our favourites for you to check out.


Demandism Live: Join your host, Alice De Courcy, with panellists Liam Bartholomew and Fran Langham from Cognism to discuss everything you need to know about switching from lead generation to demand generation in B2B marketing. 

Demandism Live: How to make the move from lead gen to demand gen

Cognism's marketing leadership team discuss actionable tactics for executing a demand gen strategy.

Demandism Live: Demand gen vs traditional marketing

Join Alice De Courcy, Fran Langham and Liam Bartholomew for a discussion on how to balance the requirement for modern demand gen tactics with a new look approach to some of the more prehistoric marketing practices. 

Demandism Live: Powering demand through content 

Focused on Cognism's content engine, including content ideation, production, categorisation, activation and delivery.

Further reading and external links

If you’re looking for further tips and tricks, we recommend these sources:

Demand generation

Neil Patel | Drift demand generation learning centre | HubSpot blog

Data driven marketing

Mailtastic blog | Ahrefs blog | RESCI’s data driven marketing blog

Contact Cognism today

If you would like to see how Cognism can revolutionise your B2B lead generation strategy with high-quality, globally-compliant data, get in touch with us today. Simply register your interest at the link below 👇

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