In our last few issues, we talked about how data driven marketing is the rising trend in the field of digital marketing, and how its power can be harnessed to drive business growth using various channels like messengers (WhatsApp) and social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram), by providing relevant and high quality content in the form of Content Upgrades.
The main cord that connects these user-level processes to the company’s internal decision making process is analytics. Analytics today has become a core component of any business’ marketing strategy. In fact today we are witnessing the emergence a whole new domain known as Analytical Marketing. This field thrives upon the tons and tons of data that the modern, digital consumers generate through their regular online activity. Each small step they take is combined into a mountain of binary codes and stored, to leverage it in order to make the right marketing decisions.
Analytical marketing is this process of converting raw data into meaningful information that can drive the marketing strategy of a business and consequently its growth, by analysing behaviour patterns hidden amongst these apparently idiosyncratic customer decisions.
Businesses today have a lot to track, including activity on social media like check-ins, tweets, shares, likes (basically their preferences), what all websites they visit, right down to the amount of time they spend on those.
This information about their behaviour and interactions allows marketers to respond pertinently to the customer’s individual needs. It forms the base for planned and effective decision making, and suddenly marketing doesn’t seem like taking shots in the dark. It is a very targeted approach, and leads to optimum results from your marketing efforts.
Another method being used by established brands is offering rewards and memberships, encouraging their customers to connect online by offering promotional offers and schemes. It not only increases traffic on their websites and provides them with a more relevant user base for data collection and sampling, but also assists in creating the right buzz via word of mouth publicity and online shares/posts.
All these data collection tools, coupled with utilities like IP tracking make the segmentation process a very smooth, easy and organised one. Data can be collected from messengers, social media and e-mails, and stored in sorted databases according to the marketing team’s ease of use. It may be functionality, demographics, location, behaviour and almost anything that makes the team’s job easier. Segmentation and targeting are always related and once these two are sorted, then positioning automatically becomes clear in the mind of the marketer. The better he creates, the better he communicates and the more effectively he delivers.
Analytical marketing mainly targets the tech savvy online consumers, who want to choose for themselves, but not before comparing reviews, features and prices online. They subscribe to your content if they perceive it as value adding, and are indifferent to you if they don’t find you relevant enough. This digital population is flimsy, and slips away towards the most attractive prospect. Loyalty is very low, if not non-existent, on their checklist.
These regular users are now addicted to the online domain, and hence can be easily monitored and directed towards a win-win path, one that benefits both the business and him (the customer). This is only possible by extracting the right information available, based on their ever-expanding digital footprint.
For the conservative, not so digitally active part of the population, analytical marketing still holds relevance. Only the data collection part becomes more cumbersome. Tracking them and providing them with forms, surveys and questionnaires may be difficult, but essential in order to collect data.
The Three-step Approach:
Developing and implementing analytical marketing can be represented as a three step process.
STEP 1: IDENTIFYING CUSTOMER PROFILES
Before the entire process two things need to be clear. First, decide upon the nature of information you want to know, as in any particular aspect of consumer behaviour that is of your interest. Secondly, the customer segment that is relevant to that particular aspect. For instance monitoring a 50-60 year old for Jockey purchases might not be as relevant as for 20-30 year old.
Once these two are decided upon, build customer profiles accordingly. This makes your marketing and targeting more streamlined and relevant to your customers.
STEP 2: MANAGING ENGAGEMENTS/INTERACTIONS
Customer should be the focal point of all your communications. Marketing today is more about servicing the needs of the customers, rather than marketing your product independent of the importance assigned by it to the customer. The former augments your business, the latter usually degrades it.
Given the plethora of communication channels and media at the disposal of users like live chats, online and offline stores, e-mails, blogs, websites, customer care and many more, the concept of personalized marketing assumes great essence. Marketing analytics gives you a measure of how your audience is responding to your content and what changes need to be incorporated to make it more appealing to your user base.
STEP 3: BUILD UPON YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY
Any addition/removal from your marketing strategy should be based upon insights from your analytical marketing processes. To create profitable, result-oriented campaigns, the learning flow back from analytics needs to be constantly fed into the strategy stream.
For this data and targets have to be revised periodically, even on a daily basis if need be, and proper metrics need to be developed to compare and predict targets. Real-time systems are where this data collection and analytics is moving towards.
The main idea behind applying analytics into your decision making is to improve the competitiveness of your business and gain a fundamental advantage over your rivals. So, for this to be successful, you need to work upon some basic markers:
- Design the right kind of data sampling and collection methods and process
- Use this data to read hidden behavioural patterns and construct predictive models
- You need to integrate and consider competition into this model. It includes your rival’s pricing, customers and sales strategy. After all, everything is relative, more so at this point of time when a plethora of purchase options are available to the customer.
- This insight derived from analytics should be passed on to the higher management levels, so that the rationale and mission/vision behind decision-making on the organizational level remains in sync and focused as to the goal they want to achieve and why.
It would be wrong to confine marketing analytics to any particular stage of the customer cycle. As the figure below shows, marketing analytics finds use across the various stages of the customer cycle, be it acquisition, retention or development.
These insights can prove useful to:
- Identify feasible, potential and profitable markets
- Gauge demand and then accordingly decide upon the various aspects of supply – pricing, location, channel, etc
- Design pertinent marketing campaigns and promotions, allowing for segmented targeting to leverage the various channels available to you
So, all said and done, most of the recent disruptions in the marketing domain owe their existence to the addition of analytics to the traditional marketing approach. The segmentation, targeting and positioning part, which is considered to be the fulcrum of any successful marketing campaign and hence a successful business can now be made now more efficient and effective.
Analytical marketing has the power to extract maximum profitability from your target audience and its stature and importance will only grow in the future with huge markets like India coming online slowly but steadily. With the microscopic study of marketing in vogue, the essence of analytical marketing cannot be ignored. So ensure that your business doesn’t fall behind on this front.
All images courtesy: Google Images