It was fictional detective Sherlock Holmes who famously said “It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist the facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

Marketing Methods Driven by Data

The same can be said for solving marketing mysteries. Marketing methods need to be implemented to answer important questions like, what do your customers really crave? When do they want to be contacted? What can you do to find and keep them?

When you have this information, you are in the best position to engage with them in a way that makes them happy – and a satisfied customer will continue to use your business. This is known as data-driven marketing and it’s a tactic that businesses large and small should be using.

What are data-driven marketing methods?

Data-driven marketing methods gather information from your existing and potential customers that can be used in strategic marketing methods. It helps to expose customer behaviour patterns and characteristics that inform your marketing campaigns and predict future behaviour.

Used in a smart, strategic way, this data can be used to:

  • Help solve business problems by answering questions like:
      1. Where am I gaining/losing customers?
      2. How can I upsell and cross-sell?
  • Nurture long-term, sustainable relationships.

Example: Amazon customers who view the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg are informed that people who have purchased that particular book have also bought The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Not only is this helpful information for the buyer, it also increases Amazon’s chances of making more sales.



Why are data-driven marketing methods important?

When you have insight into what your customers desire most, you can personalise your marketing methods.

Using data to inform your communications means every message your customers receive is directly relevant to them. Customers are more likely to respond when they see an email, tweet, or advertisement that’s targeted and useful.

Example: Say you own a beauty salon. Have people sign up to your mailing list to receive special offers. Then send wavy-haired clients a deal offering 20 percent off your curl-boosting range. The next week you can send another email offering the same deal on strengthening shampoo and conditioner to clients who struggle with damaged locks.



How can you collect data?

First you need to understand what data to collect. Good starting points are:

  1. Name and email address
  2. Buying history
  3. Previous communication
  4. Spending habits (are they a sale lover, impulse buyer, regular customer?)
  5. Personal profile (birthday, interests, gender, profession, income, etc)

Some good ways to collect the data include:

  1. Online orders – ask for basic information when they create an account.
  2. Surveys and polls – this is a bit more invasive so offer an incentive. Perhaps a percentage discount off the next purchase to everyone who completes it; or a dollar value prize drawn at random.
  3. Online tracking – use Google Analytics to track habits and preferences.
  4. Purpose-built software – Xero has a feature called Smart Lists that lets small businesses put their customer data into segmented lists. They can then import this information into online marketing software Constant Contact, ready for use in targeted emails, newsletters and announcements.

Knowing who your ideal customers are can be extremely valuable. Learn how in this Customer Avatar Guide.



Where to start with data-driven marketing methods.

A good place to start is with something simple, like the targeted emails mentioned above. Plenty of small businesses have a range of customers that definitely don’t want the exact same message in their inboxes.

It’s also important that you only contact customers who are happy to receive your emails. Unsolicited emails cause customers to leave and never come back. It’s also a legal requirement that you make it easy for them to unsubscribe if they wish. Personalised emails result in happy customers that are more likely to engage with your communications.

Example: Loyalty programmes and mailing lists allow business to track which purchases individual customers have customer has made and use this information to keep their custom. If Sam has a history of purchasing designer jeans from Blossom Boutique, the store can email Sam when they get their new season’s range in. They can offer an exclusive presale of limited edition pieces to make loyal customers feel valued and increase their chances of a sale.

So what are you waiting for?

Making a customer happy is the easiest way to retain them – and after all, your business success depends on satisfied customers. Data-driven marketing methods are one of the easiest ways to gain insight into what your buyers are after and how well your own business is tracking.



Did you know Timely can help?

Timely collects a lot of customer data, like their birthday, occupation, last booking date, last class date, and more, which you can then use in your marketing methods. You can sync this information with your MailChimp account to send out personalised emails to your customers. As you update your customer information in Timely, it’ll automatically sync to MailChimp too.

Another way to use Timely to collect customer information is to grab a tablet and add notes to the customer’s profile while you’re talking to them. In a salon, you could note what colours they prefer, how much product you used, or anything else that could be important in the future. At a gym, you could note what exercise regiment they’re using or what diet they’re on. Timely collects a bunch of information that you might find useful in guiding all of your marketing methods.