Consumer Data: The Backbone of Your Marketing Campaign

Lindsey Weedston Digital Advertising, Online Marketing

Last week, we talked about how good content marketing requires planning in order to be successful. This remains the same with any kind of marketing or advertising efforts. I’ve seen it time and time again – people will put all the necessary time and effort into one form of marketing but they won’t see any results because they didn’t create a comprehensive plan or set goals.

If you’re going to market your business, it needs to be done right from the beginning.

Part of creating a marketing plan is knowing the people you’re marketing to. More than knowing who would want to buy your product or service, you need to know how they behave as consumers. Luckily, this is becoming easier and easier as time goes on.

Big Data

The year 2013 was known by many in the advertising business as the Year of Big Data. The term become exceedingly popular within the industry last year, and the data is only becoming bigger. Businesses are discovering the benefits of targeted marketing and reducing “ad waste” in a big way, and services are popping up everywhere to help them gather information on how their consumers behave.

Big Data

It’s helpful to understand what kind of person would want your product or service, but if you know what else they like, you can more effectively position your advertising efforts in front of them. “Ad waste” refers to any ads that go unseen because they’re in the wrong place or are put in front of the wrong people. These are the ads that remain ignored, generating zero return on your investment.

So, the more you know, the less money you’ll waste. The real question is, where can a small business find this mystical data?

Collecting the Numbers

google infographic
It’s not as complicated as it might seem. Big data is not special data. There’s just a lot of it – the more the merrier. And there are already plenty of established (and free) services you can use to get your hands on it.

Do you know how to use Google Analytics yet? If not, it’s time to learn. If you have a website (and of course you do), you should be able to use Google Analytics as well as you use a calculator, because it’s that important. It’s easy to set up, easy to read, and free and available to anyone. Even better: Do you have sales records? Invoices? Do you collect customer comments? That’s all data.

Plenty of other free services have incorporated data reports into your accounts already. Facebook provides “Insights” to any business account that has enough likes, and the email newsletter service MailChimp provides reports on recipient interaction with each email campaign even to customers with free accounts.

Picking a Data Miner

If you’re looking to get a really good start on your marketing efforts, there are already hundreds of companies out there to choose from that are dedicated to mining big data for businesses. Just make sure to choose carefully. There are many different types of data, and you need to pick the data mining business that deals in the kind of data you’re looking for. A lot of these companies focus on niche markets – everything from your common accounting firm to trucking businesses.

CRN came up with a list last year of the top 100 big data companies and tools, all broken down into three categories to make it easier to find what you need. A little Google research will find you plenty more lists and recommendations for data miners.

Pick Axe

If you’re going to make a resolution for your business this year, one of the best you can make is to be sure and start out any new business efforts right. Generally, the better you plan, the better your ROI will be. And good plans are based off of the best information possible.