What Data Really Means: Hitting the Target

Guest Blog : Kelsey Kruzel, MOVE Communications

Marketers have a complex relationship with data. At a recent Michigan Marketing Minds event, sponsored by Ann Arbor SPARK, a panel of local experts tackled the intricacies of tying together data and marketing. Many who work in the marketing field consider themselves “creatives” rather than “number crunchers.” Simply put, data isn’t just a compilation of charts, but an amalgamation of information which demands that you target, target, target. We do a lot of this inherently, but often without the numbers to back us up. So how do we harness the data so often right at our fingertips? We target.

The key to harnessing your data is to target at every point in the process. As an entrepreneur, where do you start?

Find the Target

Whether you’re a new business just launching your marketing plan or an agency launching a new series, use the data out there to find your audience. Define who your customer is and use available data to discover what marketing tools are most effective in reaching them. Imagine being in a room full of targets and deciding which one you want to send your flying arrow towards.

Target to your Market

The current marketing landscape allows you to target consumers in a variety of ways. Companies like Google have aggregated unlimited data, which companies can use to position their content in a highly effective way. Instead of spending ad dollars on television spots that may be relevant to only 1 in 10 viewers, ads can be placed according to algorithms based on search history or related interests. Be sure to harness this information to find the best placement. Check out context marketing.

Analyze the Shot

If you’re collecting your data on your marketing practices, or even if you aren’t, you almost always have too much data at your fingertips. Narrowing your focus in order to hone in on the relevant information is key. Luckily, software has become more and more targeted in order to help. Companies like Simply Measured or Sprout Social are great tools for tracking social engagement. On a company-wide scale, platforms like Domo or Salesforce help track the important metrics a company needs to measure their success.

Re-Target

The process of targeting around data doesn’t end when a campaign strategy is decided on, or even after a campaign is finished. Data challenges you to continually reevaluate your successes, timing, content, engagement and more. Throughout any process, you should be analyzing available data in order to help you create a more efficient, more effective strategy. Jon Hiedorn of Siemens PLM suggests that you “work backwards from your successful outcome to find the source of the success.” Track your successes back to their origins to find what’s working and what isn’t.

Data isn’t just about data. It’s about knowing how and when to use it. Targeting your data, and using targeted data, gives you that little “extra” you need to hit the target and bring home the prize. 

Michigan Marketing Minds is an Ann Arbor SPARK event series held once a month to share marketing knowledge via panel-led forums and discussions. You can listen to moderator Sean Hickey and panelists Tim Busche, Bud Gibson and Jon Heidorn talk about data here. Be sure to join Ann Arbor SPARK  for the next Michigan Marketing Minds event on December 9.

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