We recently asked Martin Jones, digital marketing and social media strategist to share his insight on what it takes for marketers to become more data-driven when it comes to their efforts. Jones works with the Cox Communications social media team as its senior marketing manager, assisting in leading social and content strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution across each of the company’s social media platforms. He is also currently the editor of CoxBLUE.com, the Cox Business blog for business owners, leaders and influencers.

Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and customer care on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Google+. Read on for Jones’ secrets for success.

 

Q: What do you think it means to be a data-driven marketer today?

A: What part of our marketing efforts create positive business outcomes? That’s the ultimate question marketers must be able to answer, and data is the key.

Analytics tools and automation software provide a wealth of information about who’s buying and who isn’t—and at what point they fall off. Data brokers and other back streams can add yet another dimension to the emerging picture of the customer. Good marketers use relevant data to inform both strategic and tactical decisions, from product direction to customized offers.

As marketing and advertising has become better informed, buyers have grown accustomed to passive data collection and aggregation. They may dismiss the brands still marketing with broad brush strokes in favor of those offering richer, personalized, consistent cross-channel experiences.

Q: What insights should marketers continuously monitor?

A: Of course we’re always tracking revenue growth, conversion rates, and ROI, but there’s no universal remote for insight. It’s synthesized from multiple data sets without a unifying method for tying it together.

The better question for a marketer to ask might be, “What information is most important to my boss, and his/her boss?” Identify those KPIs, track them backwards to source data, and put your finger on that pulse. Take care not to develop tunnel vision, though, so you’re able to recognize pattern anomalies and emerging trends.

Q: What metrics earn marketers a seat at the table and why?

A: B2B marketers will do well to watch average lead close rate, monthly goal by channel, and calls-to-action clickthrough rate, to name a few areas. For B2C marketers, customer satisfaction rates, retention rates, and lifetime value are often key. The number of new customers and lost customers for a given time is valuable to both. Really, the most important metrics are whichever help you determine why customers choose your company over another. Knowledge of the customer is the lever to opening the C-suite door.

Q: How do you think marketing automation and other technologies are helping marketers swim in data versus drown in it?

A: Actually, there’s lots of drowning going on. The mass of technologies and data tools are sweeping many IT budgets and diverting a lot of attention away from strategic priorities. But smart marketers recognize the dangers of pursuing every new tool emergence in pursuit of the “dashboard of everything.” By using marketing automation and data to inform decision-making, not overtake it, marketers can bridge the space between customer experience and growth.

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