How to Turn Data into Marketing Strategy
As a marketing strategist, or anyone who is working towards marketing goals, your marketing mix should strategically ladder up to your objectives. Finely crafted marketing strategies should guide every touchpoint you have with your prospects and existing customers. For example, if a tactic effort you are considering doesn't fall under one of the strategies you’ve chosen, you shouldn’t do it.
Strategies are the how to help you achieve your objectives.
Okay, so how do you get there? A strategy should never be a guess, an assumption or just an idea you've brainstormed. Success as a marketer requires many things, but without data and proper marketing planning, you're really just planning to fail.
Effective strategy requires the gathering and analysis of all relevant data. Here is a simple approach to help guide your next plan:
At VI, we believe that a true marketing partnership requires transparency. Understanding your business objectives, your target audience and how marketing can help is vital to success. Here are a few questions to ask your team before you begin developing your marketing strategy. In short: What data do you have? What data can you get? What data do you need?
- Who is the audience or consumer?
- How do you know this is the audience? What information do you have about them?
- How do they feel about your brand and messaging?
- What information can help you understand what your customers think?
- What actions are your prospects or customers taking?
- Do you have consumer feedback? (Are there online reviews, Facebook posts or customer service calls, surveys that you can review?)
- What are observations from the field?
- Have you ever done any secret shopping?
- Has a competitive analysis ever been done?
- Do you have any information about where the industry is heading?
- Are there any trade publications that can help you?
- Is there any available persona research?
- What secondary data resources might be available to you?
- What information might be missing that is necessary to inform your strategy?
Define Strategy (Based on Data).
Now that you've gathered relevant information, it's time to sift through it for insights that you can activate. It's helpful to look for a few big ideas from data. It can be easy to get overwhelmed. Don't get tunnel vision based on one insight. Try to be objective. Never keep from diverging from your main objectives and look for consistencies across the data. It will help steer you in the best direction. Here are some guiding questions to ask your team:
- What are your targets looking for?
- Does your offering help them?
- What must you do to accomplish your objectives?
- What roadblocks exist?
- How will you position your business against other businesses?
- What is your unique selling position and how will you promote that?
- Which target markets are the best prospects to reach in order to meet our objectives?
- How will you reach these targets?
- How will you price your offerings to meet your objectives?
- How will timing affect your messaging?
- What marketing tools will effectively and efficiently reach your targets?
- What geographic information will influence how you go to market?
- What is your brand's voice and how will you utilize this in your efforts?
Relate Efforts to a Funnel Approach.
At VI, we utilize a marketing funnel for everything we do. This helps us tailor the strategies and tactics we choose based on where the target is in the purchase process and what will motivate them to, ultimately, convert. However, we tailor the funnel for each client’s objectives and the conversions they are seeking. All of the data we’ve discovered in Steps 1 and 2 help define how we outline the marketing plan. When defining your funnel, here are some questions to ask your team:
- What will you ultimately ask consumers to do (call to action)?
- How will you get them to do it?
- What is the step-by-step approach leading to a consumer converting?
- Does this approach reflect your consumer's true journey?
- Have you thought through motivating factors and barriers that accelerate or limit the target from moving through your funnel?
- Does your funnel reflect your gathered data?
- Does your funnel move the needle toward your objectives?
Strategic thinking is a mindset and thought process as much as a set of techniques. Practice by using prompting questions to guide each strategic plan and decision. Remember, strategic planning is not an isolated process and should be at the forefront of every dollar spent towards your marketing efforts. Successful strategy should be ever-molded, refined, and tested.
Learn more about VI's Strategic Marketing Services here!