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How to Make the Case for Data-Driven Marketing

As shown in a recent study by InfoPrint Solutions and the CMO Council, 91% of consumers are opting out of email, which has become the “new” junk mail.  Even more importantly, companies who continue to send irrelevant messaging risk damaging their brand, image and customer relationships:

  • 63% of consumers reported they may defect from brands due to irrelevant content
  • Of that group, 41% would consider ending a brand relationship due to irrelevance and 22% already have.

Relevant content is critical

Even when genuinely educating your audience instead of selling to them, the only way businesses can break through the “noise” is to create content that speaks individually to buyer wants, needs and interests.

How do marketers get the right message to the right person at the right time?  They need the right data.  Often, though, getting the right data seems to be an afterthought – or too much of a challenge. But without the right data, a marketer’s chances of reaching the right audience with the right message are considerably reduced.

How to make sure you have the data you need

It’s no question that managing and using data to create meaningful content is challenging. In another CMO Council study, Routes to Revenue, 76% of senior marketers cite poor data integrity and data inaccuracy as the main reasons they are not realizing the full revenue potential of their current customers (note: registration is required).

It is really data-driven insights that marketers need to ensure the delivery of relevant content to enable increased revenue.  And data-driven insight requires data access, quality, cleanliness and usability along with data analytics that transform the data into actionable insights around which targeted, precise, relevant messaging and content can be developed.

There are a number of things marketers can do to ensure their communications involve data-driven insights.

Clean your subscriber lists

Too often, marketers’ lists include customers who may have signed up for a one-time promotion and been inactive since. Take the time to locate and reactivate communication with these customers before the competition does.  Consider designing a special offer or promotional campaign to reach this unique group of potential buyers with a targeted message designed to re-activate them.

Update your data

Put your focus on quality over quantity when it comes to your subscription lists. Make an effort to update your data by setting up a regular process to have customers confirm their information.  Also, set up protocols so that when errors or omissions are identified, there is a systematic method to correct them.

Share customer knowledge across departments

The lack of communication between departments often creates challenges. For example, marketing and IT departments or the editorial and publishing sides of the house often have unique sets of information.  If it’s not possible to integrate your systems, find manual ways to break down the silos and share information with each other – many studies have shown that sharing customer knowledge across the organization delivers higher ROI.

Shaping editorial content based on detailed subscriber data

Once you have cleaned up your lists, you can then use that knowledge to create and deliver compelling, customized content.

For example, a top trade publication recently invested in a data-driven marketing campaign (note: this is one of our clients). Graphic Arts Monthly (GAM) polled 70,000 subscribers to determine what topics they wanted to hear about in upcoming publications then tailored the editorial content of the magazine based on subscriber preferences. Subscribers who responded to the survey received a special January issue with one of 25 combinations of content, matched to their responses on the survey.

GAM took the campaign a step further and incorporated an online component by inserting the reader’s name via personal URLs (pURLs) which linked to online advertising.  pURLs are effective when reaching out to an individual as they give marketers the opportunity to add customization to the link.  For example, John Smith could receive a pURL in his publication that reads:

In a follow up survey, 64% of the January issue recipients said they would recommend the publication to others and 46% said the customization improved their opinion of the brand.

Having the right data in place can substantially help with your marketing efforts. Do you have any examples of how data played a critical role in content marketing?