Some people think we’re overdosed on data: that businesses gather more data than they can use and are shy about doing anything that they can’t quantify and test. There may be something to do this, but it’s important not to overcorrect. Data may not belong in the driving seat, but it’s certainly got a place in the car!

Marketing Without Data

The most striking, creative ad campaigns won’t do anything for your business unless your customers see them. Unless you can target them effectively, your ads will go unnoticed by the majority of people who might actually be inspired by them to make a purchase. You’ll need to spend a lot and place adverts very widely, whether that’s on social networks, search engines, newspapers or in posters along commuter routes, if you want to reach a reasonable number of people. This will lead to, at best, a low ROI – and potentially a negative one!

Effective Targeting

A digital marketing firm will focus on targeting: on finding out where your customers spend their time while they’re online and putting adverts there. They can even specialise by time of day and geographical location, to target customers where they live – or near your shops – and advertise to them when they are in a receptive frame of mind.

They can even target particular keywords to get you a better deal on your search engine advertising, finding the ones that customers with a specific intent to purchase use, which has less competition than less specific, more broadly focussed keywords.

The Place for Data

To do this efficient and effective targeting, you (or your marketers) need data. You need to know who your customers are. If you’re going to serve persuasive adverts to the social media networks they use, you need to know how old your customers; how much money they have; what devices they use and how they make their purchasing decisions.

Market researchers can help you here, by building audience segment profiles: that is to say, not merely telling you who your customers are on average, but developing detailed data profiles of the most important groups who make up your audience. You’re not selling to just one kind of person: you have multiple audiences, and if you understand them as distinct segments of a large audience, you can make better, more informed decisions about how to spend your resources!

By Richard