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Published November 7th 2017

The Marketer of 2018: Make Data-Backed Decisions and Find Research Answers Fast

Over the next few weeks we'll be exploring what the marketer of 2018 should look like - we're starting by exploring how they'll make decisions. Get reading.

As marketers, we’re increasingly expected to wear many hats. In today’s digital world, we need to be marketers, data analysts, and customer experience experts all rolled into one expectation-defying package.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring the challenges facing marketers in 2018, and what the marketer of 2018 will need to do.

From learning how to do real-time marketing and proving the ROI of marketing activities, to improving the customer experience and making data-backed decisions, we’ll outline the tactics marketers need to make the most of 2018.

The new year brings nothing if not opportunity. Today, we kick off this blog series by discussing how best to make data-backed decisions quicker than ever for your team to keep up with the changing consumer landscape in 2018.

Data-driven research drives marketing results

All marketers work to bring in new customers, so we want every advantage to prove our results and stay on top of our game. We want the ability to quickly react to opportunities that have the potential to turn into leads. All marketers (and marketing executives in particular) want to improve customer experience with that same goal in mind.

For every one of these goals, taking a data-backed approach is the only way to successfully execute campaigns, find research answers, test new strategies, and react in real-time to take advantage of attractive opportunities.

With easier data analysis available to organizations via analytics tools than ever before, making data-backed decisions in today’s digital world seems like a natural fit.

So what’s the issue? For one, marketers still tend to depend heavily on intuition and experience to influence decision-making. About 59% of decision-making executives rely primarily on human judgment.

Past experiences are valuable, but relying solely on that knowledge decreases your ability to gain new insights to inform future campaigns and content.

Perhaps a more pertinent obstacle holding marketers back is that analytics is an involved task. Unless your company has a dedicated research arm, doing your own analytics research takes time that marketers don’t have.

So instead of investing time and energy to do better marketing, marketers go with their gut to answer questions coming from their bosses and coworkers. Problem is, they deprive their team of a data-backed solution that would lead to better results.

Using data to be a better marketer

Unless you’re part of an organization with ample resources to throw at every possible marketing opportunity, you need a smarter, more focused approach to marketing activities. Relying on a “spray and pray” strategy might seem time-saving, but the results are often not worth the cost of that saved time.

From content creation and SEO strategy to PR and advertising spend, marketers are increasingly pressed to demonstrate how their activities map to revenue. This means being more data-driven will be crucial in 2018.

Marketers should emphasize data as the primary means for uncovering marketing opportunities and running successful campaigns.

To start off, do an audit of your team’s resources. Your data-collection and analytical operation might be insufficient to answer the marketing problems your team is trying to solve. Or, you might be sitting on analytics tools you’re under-utilizing.

After you have an idea of the type of data you’re collecting, consider how it’s being used. Are you segmenting it out, running experiments, testing out the different ways you as a content marketer or social analyst could apply it to your work? If not, your efforts could fall short of your competition in the coming year.

Marketers can also make better, data-driven decisions about SEO and SEM. Analyzing how folks online discuss your brand and products better informs your keyword selection for both paid and organic search, as well as for pieces of content.

Email marketers also benefit by analyzing data collected from past campaigns to create better, more tailored content to send out to customers and prospects. Content writers can use that data to inform their blogs and long-form content.

How to make data-backed decisions faster

One way to make data-backed decisions faster is to identify tools and platforms that allow you to spend less of your valuable time collecting and analyzing data. These could be tools your team already has — you just need to review the options and commit to using them to their fullest potential.

For example, using a tool like Brandwatch’s Quick Search, any marketer can search through and analyze millions of conversations in an instant, without the need to create new queries, formulas or use spreadsheets to uncover insights and segment your data.

Having the ability to sort through your data instantly allows you to keep up with what your customers want and talk about. Being able to track and quickly sort through your data also gives you the opportunity to tell interesting and detailed stories, which means capitalizing on trends creatively.

Of course it’s a marketing cliche, but if they’re honest every marketing team wants an “Oreo moment” for their brand – seizing the moment and creating content based on real-time data helps you reach new customers.

Training your team to use these tools is essential to performing optimally in 2018. Making sure everyone has at least a baseline knowledge of how to collect and analyze data will ensure that insights can be discovered and shared by anyone on your team.

This also means that the task of analytics doesn’t fall entirely on just one person. Having the entire team involved in varying levels of data analytics speeds up the process of making data-driven marketing decisions. In 2018, your whole team should be equipped to apply insights to your content and campaign strategies.

Coming up: Shaping the marketing team of 2018 webinar

Using data to plan, create, and benchmark your marketing activities is just one piece of the puzzle.

Join our VP of Demand Generation Paul Giardina and Forrester Senior Analyst, Susan Bidel, this Thursday, November 9th to find out more about what your marketing team can do to develop smarter strategies to meet growing expectations and shrinking budgets in 2018.

(Can’t make it? Sign up anyway – we’ll send you the recording!)

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Susan Bidel

Senior Analyst, B2C Marketing

Paul Giardina

VP, Demand Generation

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