Modern marketing is pretty far removed from the age of Mad Men. Rather than creativity, it’s focused on KPIs, numbers and, most importantly – constant data monitoring. Now data plays a vital role in marketing decisions. And it’s no surprise.
DDDM – or data-driven decision-making – is the approach most companies take to their business. It happens naturally at first. The financial department looks at balance sheets and determines investment priorities. Those balance sheets are data. Similarly, the CMO looks at social media engagement numbers and decides what works and what doesn’t, and most importantly – where to take the marketing strategy next.
All of these steps are natural. With such readily available data, it’s pretty easy to depend on it for short-term decisions and tactics. But where constant data monitoring thrives is the long-term marketing strategy.
Building Digital Marketing Strategy Based on Data Monitoring + KPIs
The most basic rule about compiling a marketing strategy is setting goals. Key performance indicators – or KPIs – are the usual suspects used to measure the success of marketing actions. Assigning KPIs can directly influence marketing decisions and the choice of channels.
For example, if your KPI is to sell a set number of products, you will likely choose a channel that can directly convert your marketing actions into sales. Alternatively, if you’re selling a service and require direct communication with the customer beforehand, your KPI will be the number of leads. Therefore, organic traffic acquisition might be the best course of action, followed by paid advertising.
Such KPI tracking requires constant data monitoring. Not just tracking KPIs, but looking for sudden changes in trends, foreseeing potential avenues for your ads or posts to become viral.
What Kind of Data Monitoring is Vital for a Marketing Agency?
As mentioned before, KPIs are determined by the nature of business you’re running. FMCG will always have different KPIs to services. As a marketing agency, your KPIs can be put into two different categories.
Client KPIs. These are indicators that track the success your clients are enjoying based on your efforts. As discussed above, these can be sales numbers, lead numbers, etc.
Agency KPIs. These are YOUR KPIs: the performance you set yourself to deliver in a given time interval. This depends on the focus your agency has chosen. If you’re running a social media-based agency, your KPI could sound like this: raise new customer’s engagement by 20% accross all platforms. Or if you focus on organic marketing, your KPI could sound more like this: raise organic traffic by 30% in 3 months since acquiring a new client.
Depending on your approach to business, as an agency, you can set your own KPIs that you can monitor constantly and adjust your stragegy based on performance.
How to Set KPIs Effectively?
Naturally, picking the correct KPI is the first step of effective tracking. Involve your team in the process of setting those goals. You’d be surprised how much insight team members can offer when given the opportunity. Plus, it will build trust and promote team spirit among coworkers.
The next this to do in the name of KPI efficiency is monitoring. Set up processes for uninterrupted monitoring. Establish time intervals to check the progress. It also allows for KPI-contributing tasks to be completed and results to show.
Lastly, choose a tool that would help track these KPIs without hindrances. It should be intuitive, user-friendly and accessible for all team members. That way, you will have a constant overview of the goal tracking and will be able to adjust accordingly, when you see performance dropping or overachieving. For this purpose, you will need good dashboards.
Best Types of KPI Dashboards?
Everyone uses the term dashboard pretty loosely, but what they all mean by it is information on a single screen. A truly great dashboard will allow you to build your own information sequence and display it in the same format, using many different sources of data.
Take Whatagraph – a reporting tool for marketing agencies with a focus on social media and organic traffic campaigns. They offer two ways of tracking KPIs set internally, or by the client.
- Reports. These are automated, pre-built assemblades of key metrics, best showcasing returns on investment. These are generated automatically at a given time interval and can be used internally, or delivered to clients. Pretty nifty.
- Dashboards. These are meant exactly for KPI tracking. Whatagraph’s dashboards show goal completion and are perfect for tracking long-term KPIs.
Whether you report regularly, or inspect the situation constantly via dashboards – a good tool will help you keep an eye out for potential issues.
Data-Based Digital Marketing Tactics
So, you have your KPIs, you have your data monitoring tool. What next? It’s the journey towards the destination. Every KPI behind it has a series of projects and tasks that will contribute to achieving those goals. It’s worth remembering that the best way to plan said tasks is in this exact sequence: strategy, goals, tasks.
Strategy is where you want your agency to be in the next 5 years. To do that, you need goals, like signing a certain number of clients or taking a percent of the market. And to achieve these numeric goals – you will need tasks. These tasks must also come with adequate deadlines, proper tools and most importantly – competent team members.
Only when you lay down your agency’s strategy, set goals and populate the timeline with tasks can you decide what kind of team you will need to achieve those goals. Will you need more designers to keep up with the pace of content? Will you need more project managers or sales professionals? What could be outsourced to freelancers? What seniority level you need? All team-related questions can only be competently answered once you have the scope of your strategy laid out before you. Then you calculate financially how much you can invest and what returns you can expect and when.
And that is data-based marketing decisions in a nutshell. It’s a process that goes around, and when the goals are achieved, bigger ones can be set in the next cycle and so on.
Data is everywhere. It is all around us. Even this article was written using qualitative data. Not everyone can be a data scientist, but everyone must have a basic understanding of data analysis. The world of marketing has long since moved away from the creative-driven approach and is now trying to figure out WHICH creative approach it should take. It’s a bit of an oxymoron – trying to quantify creativity. But more often than not, it’s completely plausible to do, given the right kind of data and using the right kind of creative people. Finding the balance is the key.