6 data-driven marketing trends every small business should embrace

Even small business owners should be using data in their marketing campaigns.

Current Job Listings

Marketers are increasingly relying on data for their campaigns, measuring the results of every effort so that they can streamline their messages. Instead of wasting time and money reaching out to Facebook members, for instance, they could learn that Instagram posts lead to more conversions. With so many brands now investing in software that analyzes their efforts, businesses that don’t use data-driven marketing may find that they’re falling behind.

Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions that can make gathering and working with data easy. But professionals still must keep up with the newest trends in data-driven marketing to make sure they’re measuring and applying the right metrics. Here are the latest trends you should include in every marketing strategy.

1. Real-time personalization

“Until recently, businesses have found it challenging to communicate with customers in a one-on-one manner online,” says Sergey Grybniak, founder of Opporty.com. “Unlike a real-world environment, where store clerks learn the names and product preferences of their most loyal customers, online brands only see customers as contact information in a database of hundreds or thousands.”

Automation has given even the largest corporations the tools necessary to personalize online interactions with their customers. For small businesses, though, personalizing every aspect of a website can stretch already tight budgets. It’s important to learn as much as possible about available solutions to find the one that will work best for your small business.

2. Agile campaigns

It’s no longer sufficient to craft a marketing strategy months in advance and follow it. Brands must be prepared to collect and act on data in real time, constantly adjusting in response to the new information they’ve learned. This agile approach requires team collaboration, leading to the growing demand for a marketing dashboard to manage campaigns for a company. When an entire marketing team can meet in one centralized location, they are able to base their activities on the latest information available.

3. Predictive analytics

Past actions predict future behaviors. That is the foundation of predictive analytics, a popular tool used across all areas of business. It can be especially useful in crafting successful marketing campaigns, giving business the data they need to reach out to each customer with personalized messages.

4. Multi-platform monitoring

No business’s marketing efforts are limited to one platform. Companies reach out to customers through social media, email messages, and paid advertising. You can track data in each of those separate locations, but pulling it all together will mean extra work for your team. Instead, businesses are looking for solutions that provide multi-platform analytics in a format that they can use to build stronger marketing campaigns. Known as data integration platforms, these tools can be customized to work within a business’s specific software environment.

5. Improved user experience

User experience has become a top priority for businesses, rivaling data as a top priority. But the two initiatives are being combined, with data helping businesses create better user experiences. When you monitor customer behaviors, you get to know what is and isn’t working with your marketing efforts, whether it’s clicks on your website or purchases in your ecommerce shop. In addition to analytics, brands should solicit and analyze customers feedback and use the information to create better experiences moving forward. Once you fully understand your audience, you’ll be able to develop marketing campaigns that expand that audience.

6. Clean data

Unless your business is brand new, you likely have an existing database that you use for your marketing efforts. When was the last time you thoroughly reviewed that database and updated the contact information contained within? If you’re like many brands, you likely let your database stagnate, which means that your email messages aren’t reaching the correct contact at each company. Data hygiene has become an important initiative for businesses across all industries, with software making the process easier. Lead-generation tools can even take the data cleansing process to the next level, populating databases with contact information for businesses and individuals who are likely to respond to what a business is selling.

With the right tools, businesses can plan marketing campaigns based on facts. This increases the likelihood that their efforts will get results. In order to remain competitive, businesses of all sizes will need to take a data-driven approach to marketing, which means putting the right software in place and knowing how to use the data it generates to make big decisions.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

How do you compare to your peers? Find out in our 2019 State of the CIO report