When marketers talk broadly about data, the conversation is often about connecting data sources or determining a single view of the customer, but at a Circle mastermind session last week, I was reminded of some other practical uses of data that marketers need to keep top of mind. Beyond using data to improve interactions with customers or refine campaigns for best results, there are two other important ways that marketers should be using data on a regular basis:
  1. To influence decisions for the business
  2. To demonstrate your value
Let’s look at these in more detail.

Influencing decisions

When decisions need to be made internally, either in your team, or in conjunction with other teams, data can be used to influence a decision and is a useful tool to prove your point. If you are trying to alter a process, change how you work with other teams, increase the size of your team or start using a new technique, having data to back up your recommendation provides a convincing way of presenting your case. And data doesn’t need to be the big data we hear so much about, it can be looking at competitor information, sales stats, reviewing the numbers on average response rates, looking at utilisation of a team or considering past metrics to make a decision. The important thing is that you identify the right information to collate and spend the time to interpret the data to identify how it should guide the situation. Presenting data to back up your recommendation will put you in a much better position then having a discussion based on how everyone in the room feels. Think about what decision you would like to influence at the moment and consider how data can support you.

Demonstrating your value

With the ROI of marketing so transparent, it’s important we also use data not just to measure activity for the business, but also to demonstrate the value you are bringing to the team. Make sure you keep track of key metrics related to your role, (ideally tied back into your key performance indicators) and report on them regularly. Don’t wait for your manager to ask you how you’re tracking, build it in to your catchups to detail progress and make sure you highlight the role you’ve played in improving the numbers. Everyone’s personal numbers they track against will be different and could vary from the number of website conversions through to the amount of content you’ve created. Find the numbers that matter to your team and track them. If you don’t do this, no one else will and when the time comes for a promotion or opportunity, you are already on the front foot in proving your worth.

Final thoughts

Remember data is only as good as the interpretation and decisions you make as a result of it. So don’t just record the numbers, take the time to think about what those numbers tell you and to interpret them into some tangible next steps. I’m sure we can all use data like this in better ways that will guide big and small decisions and help to keep us on track.