Small Business - How to Leverage Marketing Research and Data

by Barbara Beauregard
9/18/2017 9:25:23 AM

  

Leveraging Data-based Market Research to Improve Your Campaign

Big data is allowing even the smallest businesses to gain a competitive advantage through better targeting, segmenting and promotion. Here's how to adopt a data-driven approach for your marketing campaign.

Changing Perceptions

Years ago, effective marketing was more art than science. Nowadays, technology has become a fundamental tool for capturing insight. While creativity still plays a role in exploiting this insight, the artist is severely handicapped without hard data.

Unfortunately, there are some notable barriers that have kept many modern marketers from fully leveraging data. These include:

  • The huge amount of available data creates a sort of paralysis of analysis due to an overwhelming amount of available options.

  • Some marketers just don't have enough numerical literacy to interpret stats, mathematics and sophisticated analyses.

  • Many marketers stubbornly cling to the artistic side of marketing, preferring to rely on creativity over everything else.

  • Businesses often maintain a short-term outlook, which keeps them from dedicating the time and money needed to create a long-term, data-driven plan.

Even if you are late to the game, you can still start leveraging data to create more effective marketing campaigns. First, however, you will need to determine your reasons for leveraging data in the first place.

Strategy First

To effectively leverage data in your marketing campaign, you need to make sure it syncs with your company's strategies and goals. This will make the process much less confusing, because you will begin to see data in a different context. For instance, if your goal is to offer a satisfying customer experience, you can use this outlook as a lens through which to view data. On the other hand, it will be overwhelming to simply look at huge databases of numbers and try to figure out how to use them for some vague marketing strategy.

Collecting Data

While bigger businesses often choose to work with pricey consultants, others must go it alone. There are a number of ways for marketers to collect data themselves, including:

  • Orders: Obtain names and contact details from orders, and start building transaction histories.

  • Research: Analyze demographic-related reports in search of trends.

  • Surveys: Since they allow you to ask specific questions, surveys can provide direct answers to your most important questions.

  • Online analytics: Track spending habits, user preferences and locations. You can also use Google Analytics to analyze visitor behavior on your website.

  • Tap available resources: The Small Business Administration can help your company develop customer surveys. Your trade association will also be a good source for secondary research.

If you aren't sure where to begin, start by focusing on simple data, such as contact info, which opens the door to direct marketing and personalized communication. You can also learn a lot from transaction histories, which indicate customer value, while showing which products a customer is most likely to buy. Age, gender, income, profession and hobbies can also be leveraged to make marketing judgments.

Getting Started

Ideally, data-focused marketing should lay a foundation for long-term results. Even if you don't know how you will use your data, start collecting it; so you will have the resources you need when the right time inevitably comes. If you are just dipping your toes in this brave new world, start by determining exactly what you need to know about your market. After all, the more focused your research is, the more value it will provide. You should also prioritize your time, focusing on the data that will give you the quickest or most valuable insight.

Intelligent Office has smart business solutions that can help you small company compete with big competition. Contact us today.

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