Data, data everywhere. You know your company is collecting tons of data on your customers' actions, but it's stuck in places you and the rest of your marketing team just can't access. Gone are the days when you can use this excuse or make decisions based on hunches. The responsibilities of marketing teams are becoming increasingly technical in nature; they are expected to collect data and analyze it without needing to rely heavily on a dedicated operations manager. While this sounds daunting, there are tools, like Xplenty, that help simplify the process and have a low learning curve, making them ideal fits for the entire marketing department.

Leveraging this data is more important than ever. With the recent shift from a one-size-fits-all message to highly personalized campaigns (we're talking about more than adding FNAME to an email), not making use of data is just not an option. Customers demand more attention and they want to know that you are listening. If they feel that you are just sending them cookie-cutter campaigns, you risk alienating them. While this is true for every type of business regardless of whether it's B2B or B2C, the statistics for e-commerce online stores are astounding.

Magnetic's 2015 Personalization Consumer Survey found that half of all consumers desire their personal information to be used to coordinate a better overall shopping experience. According to a 2014 report from Janrain and Blue Research, sending something as simple as mistargeted emails can have serious consequences. Of those surveyed for this report, 94% of consumers who have received emails which didn't take into account their personal preferences take action. A whopping 68% report they automatically delete emails, 54% automatically unsubscribe, 29% said they are less likely to buy products from that company, and 10% decide they will never visit that website again.

The bottom line: If you want your business to compete, and come out ahead of the competition, you need to use all of your data to deliver personalized messages that resonate with your customers through an emotional response.

Let's take a look at how you can leverage data to create personalized campaigns and, more importantly, how you can gather, access and compile all of the data into usable, actionable insights to increase ROI.

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The Right Message at the Right Time

Timing and relevance are the bedrock for any marketing campaign, regardless of whether it's pushed out via email, social media, native advertising or other. Most, if not all, companies collect data from multiple channels (the company website, CRM system, marketing automation software, social media sites, call center software, etc.). All of this data, when used effectively, will give marketers insights that can be leveraged to create more profitable advertising campaigns. For example, if an online shoe store knows that a potential customer has been searching for a pair of hiking boots, the company can show a one-to-one retargeting campaign promoting "Hiking Boots on Sale."

With data more accessible, marketers can judge the effectiveness of content down to an individual Facebook post or Tweet, allowing them to further optimize content based on topics that compel and engage customers. Leveraging real-time data from social signals such as likes, follows and tweets can give you much more relevant and valuable insights into an individual's intent rather than only relying on factors like purchase history or standard demographics.

For example, you could identify a set of people who are engaging with a Facebook post about the best places to hike and send them an email featuring your most popular hiking products rather than blasting this to the entire database and ruining the relationship with those in your database who are not interested in that particular offer.

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New Customers

Finding potential new audiences was previously based on identifying common factors such as geography, age or marital status, and assuming that person who shares these similar traits had similar interests. But, this type of generalization doesn't account for people's individual preferences and behaviors – the factors which are much more relevant to their decision-making processes. Being able to see how your potential audience engages with specific content can lead to a valuable new pool of customers you never knew about.

Customer Retention

Let's go back to the online shoe store example. The last time your customer visited your site, they bought a pair of hiking boots. As a data-driven marketer, you can take advantage of knowing this information and the fact that they recently commented on a hiking-related article posted on Facebook to serve up additional items that this customer would likely be interested in purchasing. You could also deliver a personal campaign that offers the customer a specific deal based on past browsing sessions.

If you follow the process, and the data, what kind of ROI can you expect? The research from Kinsey's latest ebook, "Big Data, Analytics, and the Future of Marketing & Sales," reveals that personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales 10% or more. If that stat alone doesn't convince you, the report also found that ‘companies which use data-driven personalization as the core factor for marketing and sales decisions can improve marketing ROI by 15% to 20%.'

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The Data Challenge

With companies collecting millions of points of data across multiple platforms and tools, marketers are going to face barriers, but all are solvable. In the example we have been using, a marketer needs to get both operational data and social media data (and maybe data from even more sources) to craft the perfect personalized campaign. Most modern e-commerce sites store their operational (sales) data in an operational store like MySQL and their customer data in a CRM such as Salesforce. To make things more complicated, marketers can have their online campaign data in Google Analytics and Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads and maybe even in a marketing automation service like HubSpot. To get a complete picture of your customers, all of the data from all of these sources needs to be integrated.

Tools to Simplify the Data Integration Process

Each platform that a business uses has reams of marketing data, but that data is not helpful if it stays in a silo. Xplenty lets you bring all that data together already prepared for analytics so you can slice and dice it in hundreds of directions to guide actionable business decisions. With the help of a data integration tool like Xplenty, marketers can integrate their data from various platforms to gain a focused field of view across all their marketing efforts and right down to individual consumers. Xplenty's no coding platform makes data integration way less of a hassle to deal with than other options, making it ideal for marketers.

Integrate Your Data Today!

Try Xplenty free for 7 days. No credit card required.


A Final Thought

Getting all of a company's data into one place isn't going to turn a loss into a win. After all, it is just data, and data can only show you trends and validate your hunches. Data will, however, help take the guesswork out of the decision-making process, ultimately leading to improved ROI.