A lot of companies like to claim they have a data-driven marketing strategy, because it makes them appear more sophisticated. But half the time, businesses don’t even know what it means to be truly data-driven.
In this post, we dive into the ways you can inform your marketing strategy with, you guessed it, data.
As a quick precursor, if you don’t yet have Google Analytics on your brand’s website or some equivalent data collection tool, we strongly urge you to set that up!
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The Power of First-Party Data
First-party data is like having a collection of notes that tell you exactly what your customers like, dislike and want from your business.
This isn’t something you have to filter, because it’s data from somewhere else. It’s literally a recorded history of how people interact with your business. It’s the raw material that can help you make better decisions and create strategies that truly resonate with your audience.
However, many businesses lack the financial muscle to amass substantial first-party data:
It’s like wanting to build a sandcastle but having just a handful of sand. And let’s be honest — not every enterprise turns data into action. Too many companies track their own data, but never actually take the time to analyze, interpret and then adjust their strategies based on those insights.
Just having data isn’t enough; you need the tools and capacity to make sense of it and turn it into actionable insights.
If you happen to be fortunate enough to have a vast amount of first-party data, then your goal as a business should be making the time and resources available to dive into that data and actually make changes based on it. The only way you can do that is by diagnosing data beyond just visitor counts to your site and revenue metrics.
The devil is in the details, as they say, and you’ll likely extract game-changing ideas from your own data if you simply take the time to scrutinize it.
Strategy: Your Data Tells a Story
In the world of numbers and statistics (i.e. analytics), a star player has emerged — Google Analytics 4, or GA4. Now, some folks might be nostalgic for the older days of Universal Analytics, but GA4 brings something fresh to the table. It’s not just a number-crunching tool; it’s like having a wise mentor that helps you uncover hidden secrets.
Here’s the thing: Data isn’t just a bunch of graphs and charts — it’s a tale that guides your actions. Imagine you’re reading a murder mystery. Each data point is like a clue that leads to the detective solving the mystery. GA4 is like your storytelling companion, helping you piece together the plot, understand the characters (your audience), and discover the twists and turns:
So, in essence, GA4 isn’t just about looking at numbers; it’s about crafting a narrative from those numbers. Every time you look at your data, you’re putting yourself at a crossroad with a decision to make. You may not realize it, but there is always a decision to be made:
- Option A (the most popular decision by a landslide) is to do nothing about your data. You simply glance at it and forget about it five minutes later.
- Option B (the harder, but much wiser decision) is to evaluate your current processes, campaigns and funnels against the backdrop of your data and find out what could be tweaked based on patterns that you detect from your data.
It means asking questions about why certain data figures are the way they are and tracing them back to the source of how they amounted to those values. Once you have an idea of what is influencing your data (for good or for naught), the smart action is to follow it with some change.
For example, maybe you realize that 80% of your traffic is spending a lot of at the end of your funnel near the CTA, but aren’t interacting with your contact form, it could be a sign that they’re getting confused somewhere along the way and need more guidance as to what action they ought to take.
Remember, you don’t have to be an expert with Analytics to extract meaningful patterns out of it. You just have to apply the same logic you would with measuring the value of your sales or leads and approach your marketing data with the same lens.
Consider all the metrics that you believe tie back to revenue growth. Everything else, you can ignore. But you ought to pick one or two metrics that you call “the truth.” They have to be figures that your entire brand follows closely and treats as the law.
Cultivating an Experimentation Mindset
Let’s take a look at the concept of experimentation. It’s not a chaotic lab — it’s a methodical process of testing hypotheses, learning from failures and refining your strategies. Imagine it as a marathon rather than a sprint. Not every experiment will yield gold, but those golden nuggets are what propel you forward:
Remember the times when an ingenious idea launched with a bang but eventually fizzled out? You can rest easy knowing it’s an experience of failures as lessons shared by many, but the solution is simpler than it seems.
Consistency is the secret ingredient. When the excitement wanes, it’s not because ideas are scarce, it’s often because the spotlight dimmed. A gentle reminder can reignite the spark of creativity.
Last Thoughts on Optimizing Your Brand with a Data-Driven Marketing Strategy
It’s our hope that you take what we’ve given you here and adjust your mindset when it comes to viewing and acting on data.
Even if you don’t have access to enough of your own data, which is often the reality with startups and businesses just starting to collect data, you still ought to look at the data related to your industry. From that, you can begin to form benchmarks as to how your business ought to match up to your competitors.
Keep a fresh, open mind and be willing to experiment with your business based on the data you collect. Be willing to fail and mess up. Failing is a natural part of growth, and you’ll never be able to grow your business as quickly as you’d like to if you take the cautious approach forever.
Now go scour your analytics!
If you’re ready to place your business at the forefront of data-driven decision-making, Single Grain’s GA4 experts can turn that vision into reality!👇
For more insights and lessons about marketing, check out our Marketing School podcast on YouTube.