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Data Driven Marketing: Keeping it Relevant

Relevance is the key to driving marketing campaign performance: getting the right message to the right audience at the right time. But how do you make that happen? By leveraging what you already know about a prospect or customer and using the data you’ve collected to make the message you deliver important and topical to your audience.

Get the data together

Data-driven marketing requires marketing teams to collect, organize, and analyze data from various sources. Internal data can be sourced from disparate systems: identify where the data is, integrate and organize it into a useful database, and analyze it meaningfully.

Internal data can be made richer in content via progressive profiling. For instance, acquiring data over time, bit by bit, and teasing out additional, implicit information from your audience via short forms, surveys, polling, etcetera, can round out your profiles, allowing you to deepen your segmentation and targeting.

But even if your internal data is minimal, it can be greatly enhanced via external sources. Competitive intelligence reports, global market research, firmographics, cluster data, regulatory filings, credit ratings, off-site customer activities, and social interactions can be integrated into your existing data to create a much richer data set.

Segment the data

Next, divide your data into meaningful audience segments. There are myriad ways to divide your data, and your type of business will obviously drive those decisions. Segmentation can be very straightforward—for example, size of company, revenue, title, industry, locations for B2B, or gender, age, ZIP code, or income for B2C.

Layering on performance-based criteria will enrich your segments. Consider information such as size of purchase, frequency of activity, types of products purchased, average purchase amount, and profitability of transaction and factor it in to your analyses.

Behavioral criteria can be introduced as well. Note audience members who interact with your website or engage with your marketing efforts, those who shop via mobile, are active social media influencers and advocates, or are frequent cart abandoners, and leverage such behaviors for your segmentation.

Deeper modeling and segmentation through clustering can provide greater insight as well. Static clustering collects multiple characteristics observed to fit within one predefined group within a physical neighborhood. External sources, like Nielsen PRIZM, can provide static clusters grouped together under names such as “Movers and Shakers” or “Young Digerati.” The underlying assumption is that those customers are similar to everyone else in that cluster location.

Dynamic clusters, developed through data analysis, assemble customers based on their specific demographic, lifestyle, and psychographic characteristics at a household level. Dynamic clusters can translate into fewer segments than static clusters since the criteria are not location-specific, which simplifies the job of selecting the right marketing channel and the proper message and offer for that particular marketing goal.

Data-driven marketing campaigns

Now that you’ve captured and segmented your data, leverage it for targeting, for example, by industry, product interest, title, recent purchasers, cluster, etcetera. Data can also identify the best delivery mechanism—desktop, mobile, or location-based. More relevant, more compelling, and more convenient communications lead to better responses.

Persona-based communication is an excellent method for using segmented data in marketing campaigns. Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types of each targeted segment. For instance, a Baby Boomer email looks and sounds different than an email targeted to Gen X.

Data can also drive the “next best offer.” Offer management and lead nurturing efforts can vary by segment, allowing the marketer to develop cohesive strategies for telling a story appropriate for and relevant to that audience.

Like any marketing program, capturing metrics for your campaigns by data types and segments is crucial to analyzing and improving them. Use A/B and multivariate testing by segment to help optimize your campaign’s performance.


People change, companies change, data changes. It’s important to continually refresh your data, updating based on both internal behavior and activity and external sources. Keep it fresh and relevant.

Capturing and expanding data to drive relevant, high-performing campaigns results in improved results and ROI. It’s an effort, yes, but one well worth it.

Joel Lockwood is president and partner of Ozone.

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