You Ask, I Answer: 2021 Data-Driven Marketing Strategy?

Magdalena asks, “How have decision-making processes changed as we look at marketing in 2021? What’s your data-driven perspective?”

As we plan for the year ahead, we have to look at three sources of data:
– macro data such as the pandemic
– audience behavioral data
– our first party data

The challenge with all three is that we still have no baseline. The environment we’re operating in is still very fluid and unpredictable.

We cannot rely on past data earlier than the pandemic. That world is gone and isn’t coming back.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, Magdalena asks, how have decision making processes changed as we look at marketing in 2021? What’s your data driven perspective, it’s that time of year where we’re doing 2021, planning and trying to do our forecasting and stuff.

And as we plan for the year ahead, we have to look at a bunch of different things in order to make any kind of decisions.

And I’ll tell you upfront, it’s gonna be harder than ever, this year to do any really effective forecasting no matter what business you’re in.

Because of the macro environment, we are still, as of the time of this recording, not only in a global pandemic button, a worsening one, and that is changing a lot of the environment that we operate in, it’s just the way things are right now.

And so for the year ahead, we’re gonna really need to look at three different classes of data.

The first class of data is macro data.

So this is macro economic data, societal data.

The most obvious thing here would be, for example, with regard to the pandemic, the severity of it, in terms of all the data around the pandemic is relevant and important.

It will guide a lot of our decision making.

For example, as of yesterday, the United Kingdom announced a lockdown.

So they are changing how they’re operating parts of Europe, Spain, etc, have gone into lockdown.

And so that changes the business environment, right.

Depending on the phase you are in and your your regions reopening will dictate what kinds of business you can and can’t do.

If you represent, for example, restaurants, things.

A lockdown is a very different operating environment than a partially restricted environment.

So we have to pay attention to that data, we have to pay attention to other macroeconomic data, things like here in the United States, we have the Federal Reserve Bank publishing data like household savings, unemployment, and underemployment, household income, all these data points that give us a sense of what’s happening in the broad world out there.

Because what’s happening at the macro level, obviously changes every business.

In the beginning of the pandemic, it was very much b2c data that was heavily impacted.

But now, you know, eight, nine months in, we’re looking at the ripple effects of those challenges on the b2b supply chain.

So every business without exception is being impacted in some way.

The second thing we have to look at is audience behavioral data.

And this helps us clue into what’s going on with our target population.

This is stuff like social media data.

How interactive is our audience? how engaged is our audience? Not with us specifically, but just in general? If you have already put together like a focus groups of your ideal prospects, and you’re monitoring them on Twitter as a Twitter list, you should be looking at the activity level.

What are they talking about? What are the topics that are top of mind? Again, as the time of this recording, we’re about to head into an election in the United States, it is one of the biggest topics of discussion right now.

It’s kind of drowning out everything.

That has been for quite some time.

So we need to keep that in mind.

What is our audience searching for? So search data is absolutely vital.

If we don’t have good access to search data, to what our audience is searching for, we’re going to be blind, right.

And again, we have to be very careful that we’re using data that is current.

And then the third pool of data is our first party data.

This is our web analytics, our marketing automation data, our CRM data, and decision making processes for building a data driven marketing strategy have to look at all three pools of data, have to look for correlations in that data, and then, to the best of your ability run any types of tests of causality to figure out if there are the changes that you’re seeing in the larger data sets are reflected in the smaller data.

So big changes in behavioral data.

And when it comes to organic search for your industry sector.

Do you see that impacting your company’s SEO, that’s something you have to establish.

The challenge with all three sets of data is that we don’t really have a baseline.

We have not had a baseline since March of 2020.

The op the environment we operate in is very fluid, very unpredictable.

It is constantly changing.

And it’s constantly changing in ways that impact our businesses.

There’s always been, you know, a plethora of data there’s always been a bunch of things happening in the world but never to the this extent.

In modern times in modern data driven marketing times have we had this much disruption all at once.

And so we have to do two things.

One, when it comes to 2121 planning, do not rely on data earlier than the pandemic start.

Right? If you are looking at, you know, trying to forecast based on the last few years of data, it’s gonna be really risky to do that.

At least not without a lot of data science and statistical work to D noise, some stuff in trying to accommodate for changes can be very difficult to use pre pandemic data, because fundamentally, the world itself, the underlying structure has changed.

Right? There’s things that we don’t do any more even, like, if you are a lipstick company, guess what, you got people wearing masks, not as many as I would like, personally, but and that probably has impacted your your sales, right? So we can’t rely on data earlier than the pandemic, that world is gone, it’s not coming back.

Even after the pandemic ends, even after we have vaccines distributed, and it’s reasonably safe to be out and about, again, some things are not going to change companies have discovered that, you know, having at least some part of the workforce work from home as a cost savings.

So telework got a big shot in the arm.

conferences and events are not gonna be the same for a while.

A lot of businesses have closed, a lot of businesses have opened.

And so the world itself is that used to be prior to March 2020, is isn’t coming back.

So we have to acknowledge that we have to acknowledge that in our forecasting.

The second thing we need to be doing is, from a data driven perspective on 2021, you’ve got to have really good near real time data, and be doing near real time analysis, you’ve got to be looking at your analytics way more frequently they happen if your company culture has been the sort that you know, runs quarterly reports, that is much too slow, much, much too slow.

Your cadence should be at the pace of the I personally think should be at the pace of whatever the top couple steps in your marketing operations funnel are right, if it’s seven days from process, you know, from audience to prospect on your website, or wherever your systems are, that should be your monitoring interval, if not shorter, because things change.

And things are changing so fast that if you’re not tracking and analyzing and watching data, you risk you really risk missing things that could either be substantial advantages, in terms of trends that you could contribute something meaningful to, or substantial risks, and other ground changes under you.

And by the time your sales, people pick up the phone and say, Hey, marketing, you know, the the number of leads has really dropped off, it might be too late to make a change, right, it might be too late to pivot.

So you’ve got to be looking at data at fast intervals.

Use the tools that you have available to us, you know, Google Analytics use social media data, you search data to see how your audience is changing.

Maybe even think about putting together like a near real time dashboard, a daily dashboard.

And just looking for those those odd little drop offs and things that tell you hey, something’s up.

Something’s not right.

So that’s sort of my perspective on how our decision making has to change for data driven marketing.

And as we go into 2021 look at those three sorts of sets of data.

Don’t rely on data before the pandemic and really look at increasing the cadence the frequency at which you analyze your data.

If you have follow up questions, leave the comments box below.

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