“The data is not going to tell you what to do. It’s going to help you make a better decision.” This was a comment that Kerry Cunningham, Research Director at Sirius Decisions, made during a recent webinar, when asked whether marketers needed to have a defined marketing framework if they were already using predictive analytics tools.
Here at Radius, we know that data is a powerful mechanism towards making better decisions and enabling better business outcomes. But we agree that using data is not like reading tea leaves. It’s not a divine force that foretells fortunes and tells the marketer exactly what to do and expect. A certain level of planning, order, and discipline is required to develop strategies before data can help marketers supercharge their campaigns.
The first stage of planning typically involves considering and deciding on a growth strategy. Kerry presented 5 major strategies for driving business growth:
- Entering new markets, such as new geographies or industries
- Targeting new buyers or personas
- Launching new product offerings beyond the current portfolio
- Acquiring another company or creating a new internal business unit
- Maximizing a team’s efficiency or effectiveness
In determining which strategy to pursue, marketers should go back to marketing basics, performing segmentation analysis to determine which scenarios present the most lucrative opportunities as well as the highest likelihood of driving revenue and business efficiencies. In the research that SiriusDecisions conducted, they found that over a quarter of businesses indicated that entering new markets was a major business initiative (28% and 26% respectively for small and large businesses). Second in importance was expanding their product offerings (26% and 25% respectively).
With any of these strategies, marketers should consider the problems that the company’s products can solve while also considering the different audiences for which these solutions resonate. Marketers need to know what each audience cares about and the struggles they experience, and then communicate how the product resolves these problems.
As marketers then begin to segment, select and then target prospects, most will engage in activities to drive prospects through the sales funnel and invest in tools to assess the likelihood of conversion or the predicted value of sales. While these are all vital steps in the sales process, it is equally if not more important to consider the quality and quantity of the prospects that first enter the sales funnel. This is where creating these strategies to determine who to target helps set the foundation for successful marketing efforts.
This is also where data can directly impact the effectiveness of marketing activities. Predictive analytics solutions can help marketers understand which prospects to target given a higher likelihood to be interested and ready to purchase products. Here at Radius, we focus on business signals beyond firmographics, such as geographies or industries, because the data shows technology adoption and other types of business behaviors can be better predictors of readiness to invest in new products to grow their business.
In this regard, data is almost like a magnifying glass—giving marketers a closer view of the things that matter and driving them closer to the things that they seek—but only after they have determined the general area in which the business is likely to find success.
Once marketers have determined where their products solve problems and which prospects to target, that is when they can move on to the tactics: figuring out the right messaging, marketing mix, products, channels and partners in order to communicate product benefits to the intended audiences.
Success, therefore, is dependent on a number of parts: development of a framework, insights to improve targeting and the right tools to effectively engage with prospects. Each part, and in the order described, is essential towards campaign success.
If you’re interested in watching the full on-demand replay of our webinar, you can find it here.