Analysing client and prospect data gives you an understanding of who you are targeting and their buying behaviour, ensuring your firm’s marketing efforts are more effective. Data analysis will prevent time wasting in areas where your prospects aren’t engaged–as you’ll know what they’re responding to and you can replicate the efforts where you’ve had success. Whether you’re communicating with prospects who’ve never heard of your firm, or those further down the sales funnel, your varied approach should be informed by your data.
Data analysis will reach new levels in the next 4 years, with the introduction of exascale supercomputers. The creation of an exascale supercomputer will mean we reach new limitations for humanity, and the opportunity to potentially solve our world’s most pressing problems; cancer treatment, weather predictions and space exploration.
The exascale supercomputer has the ability to run one quintillion calculations per second—that’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations in one second—currently there are computers which can run at one quadrillion calculations per second (that’s just fifteen zeros after the one, instead of 18). Our ability to handle this massive amount of data will drastically improve the way we currently analyse data, helping us to understand human behaviour in greater detail–and consumer buying behaviour.
54% of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) believe that Big Data and analytics will be essential to their marketing strategy over the long-term. (Source: Spencer Stuart, Big Data and the CMO: What’s Changing for Marketing Leadership?)
The use of data analysis has become vital across all industries, which is why there is such big investment into finding more efficient ways to analyse the ever growing stores of data. But, the supercomputer won’t be developed until 2021, and it may even be 10 years before it becomes commercialised. So, until then let’s focus on the many ways you can currently use data analysis to better understand your target audience, in order to reach them with more relevant and better placed content.
1. Client Data from Previously Purchased Services
Look at each service you provide—who has previously bought the service and when did they last purchase it? Look at the demographic—what industry is the company in; how long did it take you to convert them from prospect to client; where are they active online and across social channels?
If you find the target audience for one of your core services takes an average of 4 weeks from initial contact with your firm, to a stage where they’re ready to buy, then you can create your campaign to work within this timeframe. If there is a pattern emerging which shows that previous clients return to use your IT services a year after their first purchase, then you can create an automated campaign which retargets those clients 11 months from their purchase.
Analysing your client data is important, these are the companies who want to use your services—learn from their behaviour and experiences. If you don’t already, run a satisfaction survey after the completion of each service. Collecting this data will give you more insight into ways you can improve your services. Listen to what your clients have to say, because your brand isn’t what you tell your clients, it’s what they tell each other.
2. Email Engagement
Email is a strong communication tool for your business—86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes (Source: HubSpot 2017). Firms that don’t analyse their email output—i.e. what’s working and what isn’t—generally don’t see positive results from the emails they send. When looking to analyse your email output, each email marketing platform has its own dashboard for analytics, with some more in-depth than others. Typically, you’re provided with: open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribes, bounces, and replies.
In order to learn more about your target audience, you need to split-test and trial your email marketing campaigns. You can segment your mailing list—by services purchased, geographic location, job title and industry—and send emails to test different send times or subject lines. Trialling different segments/elements (such as the content, style, action, time of day it’s sent etc.) of your emails will tell you how best to engage with prospects for different services. Read more here on how to measure your email marketing success.
3. Social Media Advertisement
Posting on social media organically (not paid) looks good when a prospect searches for your firm online, as it shows your firm has an active presence. However, to generate business from your social media accounts, you need to invest in paid campaigns. When you invest in paid social media advertising, you’re putting your firm’s services in front of its ‘right-fit’ clients, as you can specifically target users based on their shared account information, for example the industry they work in, their seniority in a firm, years of experience, interests, brands they follow, etc.
When running social media ads, you need to continuously analyse the data, look at the number of clicks, click-through rate, cost per click, cost per conversion, and number of conversions. Impressions can be useful when compared with other data but as a stand-alone statistic they are pretty superficial.
A great way to test campaigns is to segment them by industry, or geographical location, and run multiple campaigns to the same piece of content or landing page to compare their performance. Depending on your objective from the social ads, it is better to put more money behind fewer campaigns so as not to stretch your budget (this won’t apply to time sensitive campaigns such as limited time offers or event filling). After a while the performance of your ads will level off, so look to refresh the ad copy or image being used.
4. Website Analytics
Google Analytics offers a dashboard on your website activity, you can see: pages visited, average time spent on your website, pages not visited, people who visited one page but missed a related page, videos they watched and how long for. Google Analytics is a vital tool in understanding the behaviour of your target audience. When running email, social or other marketing campaigns, you can see the influence the campaigns are having on your website activity. As well as using the analytics provided by email or social tools, you can compare conversion rates or click-through rates with the average time a prospect spends on your website. Your website is where all your campaigns should lead to, whether it is a piece of content, contact form, or case study—your website analytics are impacted by all other marketing efforts. Use Google Analytics to monitor your website to better understand what campaigns are working, and what pages on the website lead to more conversions.
Analysing your marketing efforts will not only help you to better understand your ideal clients, but it will also save your firm time and money, making your spending on these efforts more efficient. Data collection and analytics are important processes for every industry—from medicine and sports, to marketing and finance—as they assist in finding new ways to improve processes and meet objectives. Though it seems futuristic, the exascale supercomputer stems from a drive within today’s society for instant knowledge and answers. Analysing huge amounts of data on an extraordinary scale will lead to advancements in technology that we can’t begin to imagine today.
If you want a better understanding of your target audience, and how to get your firm’s services in front of your ‘right-fit’ clients, get in touch with Kelly via email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 020 3369 6844.
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