5 reasons why we love data and why you should too

Today, we’re going to talk about data. No – wait, come back, we promise this isn’t going to be boring!!

In the world of marketing, with its fast-paced changes, algorithms, exciting new campaigns, amazing new creative, it can be hard to get excited about data. Rows and rows on a spreadsheet that just show lots of numbers, then some graphs that show a lot of other different things and even more numbers that you’re not too sure about. But it truly is worthwhile to know all your available data and more specifically, how you can use data effectively to market your business and get your messaging across to your audience. Okay, we get it, a spreadsheet is never going to be as exciting as some creative to review (there’s a reason that we work in marketing and not accounts, right?) but data can show us some really valuable information. And this must be the reason Harvard Business Review said that a Data Scientist is the “sexiest job of the 21st century” (no really, they did!)

Digital and social media advertising has given us way more opportunities to find out more about customers. Here’s our top 5 reasons why we just love data, and why you should too:

No more guessing and hoping

We have access to so many different metrics now that – particularly with digital marketing – it’s never been easier to prove your hunches. When analytics say that 500 people visited that web page on that day? Well, then they probably did. Are people clicking off one type of ad but following another? Maybe it’s time to change the content. It’s so much easier to test your findings and it’s rewarding to trial and error too. Because your hunch might work 10x better than the textbook rules that you were taught.

You no longer need to ‘first try and then guess’ whether or not something has worked, or listen (and trust) a sales rep telling you that a million people will see that really expensive billboard when you’ll honestly never really know. Data is your friend when it comes to proving your successes and making sure that your cost per acquisition make sense.

All the different platforms that you’re using, like your website, social media, platforms for posting, apps, … they’re all offering statistics. Find time to ‘read and understand’ all the different statistics that you’re offered - from all those different channels - so you’ll be able to find out which set of statistics provide you the best overview. Keeping track of this specific set of statistics once (or more often in the beginning) a month should take away all your guessing! Well, at the very least it should bring you from plain guessing to educated guessing, or even educated decisions!

Have you noticed a steady increase in sales of a certain product or color from your data? Has that curve suddenly risen sharply? You might be about to surf the wave of a trend – get prepared and take notice of that trend so you can be ahead of your competition. You can also use data to predict areas of growth, and plan your marketing around this. Stay ahead of trends by studying your data, and whenever possible, do this with others. Get your staff involved in trying to read the statistics, and make use their knowledge on what’s happening, trend-wise.

Get to know your audience

Understanding your audience is key to running a successful business, and data certainly helps you to do that. By using metrics to build up a profile or persona around your customers, you can start to target them more effectively.

Data will tell you if you’re reaching your local customers, or if people are coming from a far. They can provide you with ‘inside information’, age, gender, favorites, do they return, every how often. In store, you’ll see all these things with your own eyes. Online, it’s another story.

Taking the time to map your customer’s online journey has proven itself time and time again. Walk your customer’s walk, talk their talk. You’ll want to map out every touchpoint or experience along the customer journey, but you could focus on one thing at a time. Data will provide you with details that you would miss by ‘simply’ mapping a journey. Mapping, and getting to know your audience, is something you would want to do a as a team. Involve your regulars, invite them to provide you with input. Having a strong profile or persona helps you reach your audience. You’ll know which channels to use, which platforms to let go of.

And one last thought on getting to know your audience, it’s very interesting to know who your customers are following, which influencers are ‘influencing’ your business and sales? Trying to understand who your customers are and what their online life is like, will help you get aligned online too. Are your visuals hitting home? Is your audience after advice, or after inspiration? Do they want blogs, or more business like articles? Do they want thoughts, or do they tend to stick around when you’re using pics or video? What seems to be grabbing their attention? It’s all in the data, you just need to take notice and know where to look.

Your data are a story waiting to be told

Using data as a starting point, you can build something that becomes content that you can share, or a story that you can circulate. Data can even help you build relationships. Noticed that sales of a particularly unexpected product spike around Valentine’s Day? Turn that into a piece of news for your website reassuring the public that you’re not going to run out. You can then share this on social media which will provide you with more data in return.

You can turn statistics into something more visually appealing like an infographic or a GIF. It’s still data, it’s just presented in a more engaging and shareable way, 90% of information sent to the brain is visual after all. And we know that in fact, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text. Use this information when you’re thinking of ways to present your data, and use them to make a story!

It can actually be exciting

We’re nerds, we admit it. But we’re marketers too, and so we’re often asked to prove that the marketing activity we’re rolling out is actually working, and to (of course) justify the money that is being spend. It’s exciting to be able to show the data set that proves your approach is working. And it’s exciting to see the developments that are coming through in marketing data all the time, and how this can be used. For example, look at this exciting campaign from Spotify last year, where they used data in their marketing very creative on outdoor advertising. This engaging, interesting and funny campaign probably started out as some lines on a spreadsheet that someone exported. This campaign was a huge success that brought the brand Spotify out of their digital space and into the physical space, amongst all of us. Even the non-users.

“In this campaign, Spotify showed the power of understanding user data and using it in the right way. Attention to data is key to a music streaming service performing well but it is hard to promote a subject like this in an enticing manner. This is funny but underneath the humour, it is a great way to show how they can use data to understand the minds of their users.”

Take note though, it’s sometimes easy to get carried away with data – as in this case with Target in the US, who knew about a teenager’s pregnancy before she’d been able to tell her family – so make sure that you’re operating legally and ethically…

Summarizing, paraphrased in short… we’re living in a (very, highly) data rich world and we should use the data that is available to us! Listening, reading and reacting to our data should not be a once in a blue moon activity either. At Embrosa for example, we decided to have Table Thursday, or as we say in Dutch: Data Donderdag. Thursdays for us are all about data dialogues! So, make time, get your data set together, and find your way. And when you’re embarking on this adventure, know that Embrosa’s got you covered. As an Embrosa user, whether you’re a supplier or brand that would like to take data-informed decisions on future content for local dealers, or you’re a local entrepreneur wanting to know your ‘scores’ in reaching your customers… you’ll receive metrics that will allow you to take data-informed decisions that will guide you along the way. Like who is using your content? Which retailers are sharing which content, and what seems to be working?

Embrosa is an easy to use app (App Store / Google Play) on your smartphone, or as we like to say, a marketing agency in the palm of your hand. Our app is a platform packed with photos and other ready-to-share content. We collect pictures with (or without) text and videos from brands, suppliers, local government, influencers, associations for entrepreneurs and other sources in our app. The pictures with text inspire entrepreneurs and can be downloaded for online and offline marketing, or can be shared to your social media straight from the app.Would you like more information on Embrosa’s smart statistics? Contact us support@embrosa.com and we’ll happily go on a date about data with you!