Let’s face it, the fact that consumers have so closely incorporated digital devices and applications into their lives presents options for accessing truly enormous volumes of actionable information.
However, it’s not always easy to know how best to gather this information. Not every type and avenue of data is going to be relevant for marketing strategies. You also need to use methods that produce valuable insights.
So, let’s look at a few approaches you can use to gather data that can influence your marketing success.
From Online Surveys
Data for marketing success tends to involve insights into the preferences and behaviors of consumers. Therefore, one of your priorities should be to reach out to your customers and ask for their opinions directly. You can gather this data by issuing surveys with a combination of qualitative and quantitative questions.
Certainly, if you’re hoping for meaningful engagement from consumers, you need to make interacting with surveys as convenient and relevant as possible to them. Create short online surveys related to specific subject areas that are triggered by consumers’ interactions with relevant parts of the company website. You could also assess previous purchase history through your customer relationship management (CRM) system and send email links to surveys that are related to the products or services they’ve expressed interest in or need for.
From here, you need to ensure that these surveys form part of strategies that empower employees to make effective decisions. Business intelligence software with customized dashboards allows workers to interact with the results of consumer research. Wherever possible, ensure that your team can access visualizations of collated quantitative data from your surveys, so they can easily interpret what customers’ needs and feelings are. These types of tools encourage practical interactions with survey outcomes so that marketers can create more positive and impactful connections with the public.
Utilizing Web Analytics
Getting data from online sources is particularly relevant as the digital landscape continues to develop. However, only relying on surveys is unlikely to provide you with comprehensive information that can positively influence your marketing strategies. After all, the responses to surveys can be subject to unconscious biases, influenced by limited available time, and other components. Therefore, you also need to gather objective forms of data to assess alongside subjective responses. This is where web analytics are powerful tools.
This begins with gathering data from your website and marketing materials. Many website hosts — particularly those that offer content management systems (CMS) — provide reports on how visitors are interacting with your pages. Though, you can also use software such as Google Analytics. From here, your marketing team can review key analytics metrics to understand what pages are gaining the greatest number of views, where your visitors are being directed from, and what elements lead them to navigate away from your site, among others.
Alongside your website analytics, your marketing team should also gather data from social media. Most platforms today provide users, especially those with designated professional accounts, with dashboards that display real-time data on each post. This includes demographic data, types of engagement, and in some instances when in the day or week engagement occurs. Utilizing social media management software can also open you up to data across all your connected platforms.
This data then enables your team to see what appears to be connecting with consumers about the business and what doesn’t quite work for them. When compared alongside survey results, your team can gain a more detailed analysis of how consumers are behaving and what to focus on for subsequent campaigns.
Another effective approach to gathering data to influence your marketing is utilizing corporate events such as product launches, or — particularly if you’re in the business-to-business (B2B) sector — industry trade shows. These tend to be useful because your target audience is already actively engaging with your company in ways that can provide you with marketing insights.
Gathering data from business events can involve a range of methods, depending on the types of information you want to capture. Attendee registration forms can unlock demographic information, lead contact details, and insights into the motivations for interacting with the business. Taking notes on in-person interactions with staff can provide qualitative information about specific needs and interests.
Another valuable approach to gathering information at events is utilizing tools in the Internet of Things (IoT). If your company is running the event, equip attendees with wristbands and lanyards that have radio frequency identification (RFID) chips or other sensors embedded. This way, when visitors interact with other devices in the IoT throughout your event, you can gain data on what displays or products garnered particular interest. You can also record how long they interact with different features or specific members of staff in certain areas of expertise. From here, you can gain greater detail concerning customer needs, interests, and priorities.
With so much data available in both digital and physical spaces, marketers need to use the most effective and relevant methods to gather the information that can make a difference to campaigns.
It’s important to recognize, though, that the data landscape is constantly changing. There are frequently new forums of consumer information as a result of technological advances, such as the metaverse and augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) tools. Your marketing teams must stay up-to-date on these so they can establish ways to leverage them for engagement insights early on.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor