It’s an exciting time to be a marketer, but it’s also a challenging time in the industry. Knowing what mediums to focus on and where to spend your marketing budget is no simple task. If you publish content on the wrong platforms or advertise to people who are never going to buy, then your marketing dollars won’t be an investment; they’ll be a waste.

Instead of guessing, marketers need to gather as much “intel” as they can. Leveraging the power of consumer analytics is critical for modern digital marketing and can make the difference between a successful campaign and one that might not break even. Some marketers are still resisting the shift to data-driven marketing, but it’s become clear that successful customer analytics equals successful digital marketing.

Data’s Role in Marketing

Data has become the world’s most valuable asset. Big data has made it easy for organizations of all sizes to gain new insights into the habits, priorities, and preferences of their customers. Using data, it’s easier to make informed decisions and create more effective campaigns.

While marketing continues to be based on creative elements like narrative storytelling, artistic choices, and tailored messaging, the use of data in marketing is blending art and science for better results, something that digital marketers need to embrace. Marketing success will always require knowledge of psychology and an element of creativity, but successful digital marketing now requires an additional step: the ability to use data to not only speak to customers’ needs but to determine how to reach them in the vast digital world we all rely on.

Marketers who aren’t yet using data analytics in their operations are leaving money on the table and making it easier for their competitors to outperform them. Regardless of a company’s size, consumer analytics should play a role in its overall marketing strategy.

The Basics of Customer Analytics

Customer analytics today involves using digital data to make strategic decisions. Data can be collected from different sources, including social media sites, search engines, and a company’s own website. Internal data can be extremely useful, but it generally needs to be combined with other sources to understand how a customer made their way to the company’s website.

Once the data is collected, it must be analysed for insights and patterns, in a process sometimes known as “data mining.” Marketers can ask questions, such as “when do we make the most sales?” or “how many people are referred to our website from Facebook vs. Instagram?” These kinds of questions can help marketers understand which platforms are popular, when to run ads or other content, and which tactics perform best within the target market for a product or service.

Customer analytics can also be used to test different strategies. Different versions of a landing page, for example, could be created and launched at the same time to see which version performs better. This kind of testing can help marketers choose a direction for their campaign and allow them to better understand what appeals to their ideal customer.

Just as an organization needs a solid marketing strategy in order to be successful, they also need a clear data analytics strategy. Marketing managers don’t necessarily need to be experts in consumer analytics themselves, but they need to have a solid grasp of the concepts and the ability to oversee people who specialize in data mining.

How Using Customer Analytics Can Help Marketers

Data can be used for a variety of business goals. It can help predict demand for a product to optimize inventory, help streamline daily operations to reduce costs and prevent errors, and inform decision-making. In marketing, data is used to better understand the customer’s behaviour and motivations and to help make strategic choices.

Customer analytics can get extremely complex, but the basic point is simple: analytics help marketers connect with their ideal clients or customers at the right time. This will look different depending on the goal of a particular marketing campaign, since not all campaigns are designed to bring in direct sales, but analytics can help marketers reach their goals more efficiently and boost their return on investment (ROI).

Knowing your customer is incredibly important, and data can help you get inside their head more objectively. People think they know themselves much better than they actually do, in most cases. Data doesn’t lie and it can help marketers understand how people behave when they’re online. This can help with everything from timing to messaging tactics.

Good marketers still need to have good instincts, but customer analytics can be used to help verify those instincts. Data won’t always predict the success of a campaign, but it’s more likely to be accurate than a gut feeling. It can also be used persuasively, to help convince company leadership of the need for a larger investment in digital marketing.

Investing in Analytics Helps Boost ROI

If your marketing budget is on the small side, you might think that consumer analytics isn’t worth the additional investment of time and money. However, using data to inform your marketing decisions can actually result in better ROI overall because you won’t be relying on guesswork and you’re likely to waste less money.

Over the last several years, big data analytics have gotten much more accessible and affordable. It doesn’t have to be expensive to start using consumer analytics in your marketing plan. Truthfully, today’s digital marketers can’t afford to ignore the role of data in successful marketing campaigns and an organization’s overall marketing strategy.

Investing in analytics is the best way to plan your marketing strategies and evaluate their impact. Without quality data to leverage, it’s much harder to understand why your campaigns succeed or fail — and this makes it more challenging to be successful in the future. With customer analytics, knowledge can turn into more brand awareness, better sales, and a more successful company overall.