A business approach to digital marketing

Karen Coleman VP of integrated marketing for Text100 Australia and New Zealand explains that marketers and communications leads don't need and can't use all the data available to them. Here's her guide to measuring what matters.

Karen Coleman, VP integrated marketing, Australia and New Zealand, Text100
Karen Coleman, VP integrated marketing, Australia and New Zealand, Text100

In marketing, there’s no such thing as a free lunch – you have to earn it. In the same way, today’s brands need to earn the right to sell, promote and provide information to their potential customers. So how can we use insights from multiple marketing channels to earn stronger customer relationships?

Data is the key to better communications and ROI. Whether it’s big, mobile, performance, product or campaign data, data is something that marketers can no longer ignore, especially for those who want to connect in personalised ways. But with the number of communication channels growing and customer behaviors constantly changing, many marketers still struggle to use data to connect with customers and ensure a consistent, seamless brand experience. For some, data snowballs out of control.

The good news, however, is that with data, it’s not necessarily about knowing it all, it’s about measuring what matters. Marketers – whether agency or in-house need to think less like brand advocates and more like business leaders. They need to focus on the broader business problems they or their clients are facing, be brave enough to challenge the existing thinking and use data to back up their strategy and recommendations. Is a Facebook like or an email open rate really going to sell that product or service?

Measuring What Matters

 There are hundreds of different metrics that can give you a sense of what might be happening on your website, social media channels or e-commerce pages, but most are not truly indicative of what drives business results. Measuring website traffic, page views, subscribers and time spent on the site offers only superficial detail. In order to hone in on the metrics that really matter, brands need to think about the business problems they’re trying to solve and then figure out which metrics will reflect improvements in that area.  

It’s all about tracking and evaluating what drives action. What channels are bringing in buying customers? What elements are in play when customers make multiple purchases? What is the churn rate? The right data tells you what customers are actually doing, which helps marketers not only to drive campaigns but also justify ROI. The strategy needs to reflect your business goals and map back to your unique needs.

Bringing Data to Life

That’s exactly how Brother International approached the development of its retail sales app, which was devised to help staff better understand and represent Brother’s products and more importantly, how the products could better meet customers’ needs

 By interviewing and observing product managers, sales teams and retail floor staff, Brother gained valuable insight not only about how its products fared against key competitors but also about existing training tactics, common retailer pain points and frequent customer questions. This guided the strategy and content for a specific solution - an iPad training app linked to Brother’s marketing CMS - and resulted in a customer-centric platform that was intuitive for floor staff and field sales teams.

Leveraging data from initial tests, Brother was able to better understand the needs of its sales teams and customers and optimise the platform for wider release. Now, its teams monitor the app daily and continually optimise and customise its content. Brother is also working on new ways to syndicate content directly from the app to new internal platforms being developed by local retailers for their staff. This will ensure consistent information and messages for customers.

It’s All about Context

Taken out of context, data can be confusing, but it’s really just a way of comparing two different scenarios and determining which one is better – which one impacts your business goal. By breaking metrics down to their variables, marketers can better understand what can be done to impact those variables but there’s no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all solution. Improving ROI requires accumulating improvements on many metrics and sharing data and insights with your broader marketing and communications teams.

But brands must ensure they don’t throw away the advantage of data by ignoring it.

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