How to Become a Data-Driven Marketing Team

To build your team’s analytical efforts and become truly data-driven, focus on these three key elements.

Marketing has been in constant flux for the last 10 years. Fads, changing consumer expectations and new technologies like mobile devices have forced marketing teams to adapt regularly.

The best marketing teams can take advantage of their data to guide their organizations through these changes. Data itself is a major change in the past few years as teams can now easily track their campaigns and impact.  Here are three ways your team can build up its analytics efforts and become a truly data-driven team.

Your Team

Despite what you may have seen or read, data starts with people. There’s a tendency to start with technology, but this is a mistake. The software you use for marketing automation, A/B testing, and generating heatmaps is important but not the top priority.

Whatever technology you choose will be used by people – meaning your team. You need to make sure that you’re making the appropriate choices for them. When analyzing your team, think about the following dimensions.

  • Technical Ability – How technical is your team’s marketing team? Does everybody know SQL? Do you need to explain concepts such as A/B testing, or are they well understood? Highly technical teams can get away with more bare-bones technology choices, while less technical teams need interfaces that are easy to use. Neither approach is wrong, but there’s one that’s right for your team.
  • Structure – What’s the current structure of your team? Do you have enough members to even tackle data? If you’re a one-person team, you’ll be limited in how much analysis you can perform. If you have a 30-person team, you’ll need to determine how to train your team.
  • Time – Regardless of the size, you also need to look at how much time is available within your team. Most teams are already overworked, but you’ll need to find areas that could be put off for data. The benefit is that having the right data can save you time in the long run, but there’s an initial time investment.

Data proficiency – How comfortable is your team with data? Do they understand sample sizes, common charts, and how to extract insights? People don’t need to become data analysts, but a basic grasp of analytics is needed here. Depending on where your team falls on the proficiency continuum, you’ll need to run through training or coaching.

Your Process

The second area to explore is how your team analyzes data or the process. It doesn’t have to be complex, but think about how data will be converted into insights.

One common process is that, when you design new campaigns, you find the data that provides relevant insights and can help bolster your campaign. The key is to do it consistently.

The process within most teams can always be improved. Ideally, you should look at the data at the start of a campaign, in the middle, and at the end. When looking at reports, you want to find two or three insights or new ideas for your team.

Your Technology

When choosing technology, keep in mind your team’s unique makeup and the ideal process you intend to utilize.

Lean toward industry leaders when making choices — two to three players dominate every category, and that’s always a starting point. These companies are established, production-ready, and typically well integrated with other vendors.

Keep in mind that technology is meant to help you do more and not hold the team back due to improper setup or having made the wrong choice.

The only thing that you can be sure of is that change will continue to accelerate, even beyond the pandemic. Data can provide a stabilizing force for marketing teams, but you need to work on adopting it as part of your day-to-day strategy.

Author

  • Ruben Ugarte is founder of Practico Analytics, providing expertise in data analytics. He has worked with companies on five continents and in all company stages, helping them to use data to make higher quality decisions, boost performance, increase profitability and make their teams world-class. His new book is “The Data Mirage: Why Companies Fail to Actually Use Their Data. Learn more at rubenugarte.com.

Get our newsletter and digital magazine

Sales & Marketing Management

Stay current on learning and development trends, best practices, research, new products and technologies, case studies and much more.