Data Analysis for small and mid-sized businesses

data analysisIf you are new to using data and analytics for marketing, the task can seem daunting and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the quantity of data available. By using data you can make your marketing more effective and save money on your marketing budget. The term ‘big data’ has been used a lot recently, and the term itself can be intimidating. But big data does not mean lots of it; it’s about how you use the data and taking analytics to the next level, and looking at data in a way that you haven’t before. So, you do not need loads of data in order for it to be useful – when it comes to data quality is more important than quantity. So, where do you start? Here are some quick tips to use data effectively.

1. Set your goals

Before looking at data know what your marketing goals are. By focusing on just a few goals you can hone in on and look at just the type of data you need. By focusing on data associated with your goals you can ignore the portion of the data that’s not actionable.

2. Sources of data

Take inventory of the data that is available to you – your sales and customer data, email blast response rates, website statistics, social media, newsletter or other opt in lists, 3rdparty data, prospect and leads. From all the data that is available to you decide which data will help you accomplish your goals.

3. Reports and Dashboards

Once you’ve decided on the sources of data to look at you will need to set-up your reports. Examine the data fields available for each source, and choose only the fields that will help you achieve your goal and that you can action. You may find that you need more than one report to accomplish your goal. Once you have chosen your fields export your data into reports. Excel is one of the easiest format’s to export to and it allows you to rearrange the fields after you’ve exported it and look at the data in different formats. When looking at web statistics there are a lot of different areas to look at. Many of the areas won’t be relevant to your goal, so take your time and examine the different areas and determine which are most relevant to your goal – move those areas to your dashboard for easy access.

4. Monitor and standardize

Once you’ve gone through this exercise it becomes easier to look at data. You have your reports set-up for easy access and now you just need to determine how often you need to run your reports and analyze your data. Even if you have no marketing initiatives planned you should still regularly look at your reports. They will allow you to look for red flags, things that need to be addressed, or they may give you inspiration for a marketing initiative that you wouldn’t otherwise consider.

5. Cleanse and evaluate

In order to be useful your data has to be maintained. Look for incomplete or wrong information and fix it, and make sure you regularly update your customer’s information. If you are unable to fix incorrect information mark those records as invalid so you don’t waste your time and budget marketing to them. Also, this is an opportunity to standardize and be consistent in how you enter information into your database, as it may effect how your database extracts your data and how you can sort it later in your reports. As you went through the report building exercise you may have found that you haven’t been gathering information you need or that you are asking your prospects for more information than you need. This is an opportunity to amend your forms and gather the information that is truly useful for you.

Once you begin to analyze your data you can now build your marketing campaigns based on your new found marketing intelligence. For help on building a marketing campaign, click the button below to download our Marketing Campaign Process Flow.

FREE PROCESS BLUEPRINTMarketing Intelligence Automation Acknowledgment: Image of data (scrabble) by justgrimes used with permission under creative common license agreement.

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