15 Key Things For Marketers To Keep In Mind When Betting On Consumer Data

The trail of digital information a customer leaves behind on the buying journey is an invaluable resource for marketers, helping them develop the best strategies for reaching target audiences. However, with businesses facing an uncertain economic climate, ever-increasing concerns about data privacy and new rules that impact how third-party data is tracked, collected and used, betting on consumer data to make strategic marketing decisions in 2023 may be trickier than it has been in the past.

To overcome these challenges, there are some important things for marketers to remember to ensure that the data they rely on in their decision making paints a clear picture full of actionable insights. Below, members of Forbes Agency Council share 15 key considerations when using consumer data to inform their strategies for connecting with target audiences and prospects.

1. Constant Versus Changing Aspects

Consumer data may include some aspects that remain constant, while other aspects may change rapidly based on internal or external factors. Marketers who understand this difference can draw a distinction and base their strategic decisions on factors that are likely to remain more constant, leaving room for variability regarding those that are likely to fluctuate. – Greg Kihlstrom, GK5A

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2. Disruptive External Factors

Consumer data shows existing and historical trends. The data insights help point marketers in the right direction to understand the factors that impact consumer behaviors. Now, the past cannot predict the future, but it can help chart the initial course of action. That said, disruptive external factors are a reality. So the ability and agility to pivot in real time is key when executing any strategy. – Monica Alvarez-Mitchell, Pulse Creative, LLC

3. The Context Of Any Data Set

Context can make or break any consumer data set. If something went viral on TikTok for the wrong reasons, for example, or if a trend was created using a brand name that has nothing to do with the brand itself, these blips in data collection can completely swell your data. Left unchecked, they can cause you to make uninformed strategic decisions. Find out what the context of that data is before you make any plans with it. – Kelly Samuel, Snack Toronto

4. The Source Of First-Party Insights

We have found that consumer data is invaluable, but it doesn’t predict the future or inspire revolutionary changes. However, depending on what source you use and its quality, first-party insights can be very useful for marketers looking to close gaps between presales strategies and sales intent and action, as well as for showcasing persuasive factors throughout all stages of the user journey. – Yan Zhang, XYZ Advantage


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5. Extenuating Circumstances

Data in a vacuum is of little value. It’s essential to consider how and where the data was gathered and its relevance to the project. What were the extenuating circumstances occurring at the time the data was collected? For example, social media usage may have increased by a certain percentage last year, but it is a meaningless data point without understanding that people were socially isolated during Covid. – Jonathan Schwartz, Bullseye Strategy

6. Sample Size And Demographics

One important thing to understand is the sample size and demographics of the consumers captured. Often, consumer data is not representative of a large enough group to draw assumptions from it. Furthermore, the consumer data might represent online behavior and give no indication of retail or in-store engagement. As such, take the data with a grain of salt, and form your own hypothesis. – Geoff Crain, Kingstar Media

7. A Plan To Act On The Data

Use the data you collect. Countless companies invest heavily in customer journey research only to leave the data sitting on the digital shelf. Acting on the data you collect is just as important as gathering it. If you don’t already have an end-to-end feedback loop established to capture customer insights at your company, make it your top priority in quarter one. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

8. How Current The Data Is

The marketing industry, not to mention the landscape of the world around us, is evolving at record speed, which means data becomes outdated quickly. When rooting your strategy in consumer data, it’s imperative that the data you’re referencing is not just the latest available but truly the most current data so that you can make the most informed decisions for your brand. – Cooper Munroe, The Motherhood Inc.

9. Proper Translation Of Customer Niche Data

Customer profiles, clusters and niches are common—and valuable—pieces of data. Yet this information is rarely translated effectively for targeting. A brand may index highly with a particular niche but be unable to identify who in its file actually fits in that group. Focusing on that data point in targeting and creative strategies can alienate what is often the majority of the customer base. – Erik Koenig, SeQuel Response

10. How Timely And Accurate Data Is

It is critical for marketers to ensure that the consumer data they use is as current and accurate as possible. When data falls short in these areas, marketing strategies for audience building, personalization, campaign timing and much more can be negatively impacted. The answer is to perform regular data cleansing and to source third-party data from reputable providers. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.

11. Whether Data Captures The Audience’s Intent

The very first thing to look into is the source of your data and whether or not it captures the intent of your audience. With the marketing funnel becoming important for personalization, if your data does not shed light on the sentiment, behavior and preferences of your audience, it is no better than a vanity metric, such as having 1,000 likes on your page. – Vanhishikha Bhargava, Contensify

12. How The Data Is Created And Refined

At the top of the list is determining how the data is created and defined. If you are building major campaigns using consumer data from a reliable partner, such as a customer data platform, it is important to have a good sense of how it is built, maintained and refreshed—and whether those criteria align with your target audience and marketing objectives. – Maria Orozova, MODintelechy

13. UTM Parameters And The MER Metric

Marketers can utilize consumer data confidently when using UTM parameters. Doing this will paint a more accurate picture of data and provide better attribution points when you’re deciding what to scale, cut or edit. Using Google Analytics and third-party data to your advantage is also essential. For us, the marketing efficiency ratio is the best metric to use when making decisions. – Drew Urquhart, Banch Marketing

14. The Long-Term Strategy And Predefined KPIs

While consumer data is an excellent ally in defining tactical decisions, heavily relying on the same consumer data might not be similarly beneficial when it comes to defining strategic choices. A company’s long-term strategy and predefined business key performance indicators should remain the North Stars for strategic decision making. – Oksana Matviichuk, Strategic Forecaster

15. The Current News Cycle

One thing to remember is that changes happen to data based on current news and events. When changes happen on a regular basis, they can change the decisions people make and the ways that they spend their money. – Jon James, Ignited Results

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15 Key Things For Marketers To Keep In Mind When Betting On Consumer Data

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