Good marketing is key to a business’s success. Without it, the business cannot hope to become profitable or grow. Marketing covers a broad range of activities associated with the promotion and selling of goods or services. A successful marketing campaign can make a huge difference to sales and visibility, and there are many different methods that can be used to achieve this. There are many factors that contribute to a successful marketing campaign, including the effective use of data analysis. Businesses are aware of the importance of data analysis, with large corporations employing teams of analysts to ensure that their campaigns reach their target audience.
What is data analysis?
Vast amounts of data are created every day, both online and in other forms of media. This data can provide valuable insights into people and, in particular, potential customers. It can reveal information about their habits, how they can be most easily reached, and what is most likely to appeal to them. Data analysts are skilled individuals who target their research to find relevant data and analyze it for useful information. When used for marketing, analysts can check for several factors that can affect whether a campaign is successful and track its progress.
Becoming a data analyst
Data analysis is a growing career and is an appealing option for those looking for good long-term job security and promotion prospects. In a global environment, businesses must become more competitive, and an effective marketing strategy is more important than ever. The amount of data being produced is greatly growing, and this is a profession that is likely to appeal to those who enjoy using both logical and creative thinking, who are skilled communicators and problem solvers and who are interested in using the latest technology in their analysis.
As a skilled professional, gaining qualifications in business, marketing, or data analysis will provide a thorough knowledge base for a marketing or data analysis career. Many universities across the country offer degree and post-graduate courses, such as a master’s in business administration (MBA). For those who want a more flexible method of learning, an online course is a good option. This can allow students to meet other professional or personal commitments while studying and negates the need for an expensive and time-consuming commute.
There has been a huge increase in online courses in recent years, resulting in a bewildering array of choices for potential students. It is not always immediately easy to assess if these courses will provide the professional standing needed or cover the material necessary to prepare students for their future careers. A good way to determine if the course is effective is to check if they are accredited and who by. For those looking for a career change into marketing, a good option is the MBA at St. Bonaventure University Online. St. Bonaventure’s School of Business is one of only 5% of business schools worldwide accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This is a firm endorsement of the high quality of the faculty, curriculum, and learning services available.
Data comes from a vast range of sources. Some of it will be found in the company’s records, such as financial accounts, receipts, and orders as well as any negative feedback, returns and complaints. There is also still a place for traditional data-gathering exercises such as surveys and questionnaires. However, a lot of digital data can be found without direct contact with the customers. This can include website data tracking to learn how many visits a website is receiving as both new visitors and repeat visits, as well as which pages receive the most traffic.
Product data can tell analysts which of the products are most popular, which generate the most profit, which products are often sold together, and other information that can be used when forming a marketing campaign. Analysts can also analyze how customers find the business, whether they are coming from social media interaction or searching specific keywords. Data analysts can look at this information and use it to discover how the marketing campaign is performing and how it can do better.
Knowing the customer base
When planning a marketing campaign, it is important to know the customer base before starting. It is vital for businesses to know who their customers are to avoid a campaign being too general. They should use a specific style depending on, for example, the average age of the customers. Analyzing past sales data from the company or the industry can indicate whether the typical customer is male or female, their age, their geographical location, and many other factors. Businesses may be able to narrow it further, finding that a lot of customers share a similar interest or are at a similar stage of life.
Once businesses know who their customers are, they can learn what type of marketing is likely to appeal to them. Perhaps they are more likely to respond to a TV advertisement or maybe particular imagery appeals to them.
It is also important to know where to target ads. A marketer planning a TV campaign must know which programs their customer demographic is most likely to be watching. Social media is a popular method of reaching customers and many demographics like the more interactive aspect. But with so many different forms of social media, marketers must know which form of social media their target demographic is likely to be using. There is no point in creating the perfect marketing campaign to run on Twitter if the customer base is more likely to be on Instagram, and vice versa.
Businesses also need to learn how widely spread their customer base is. A small company providing a service that is almost exclusively used by locals might find a marketing campaign that makes use of billboards, leaflet drops, and local media most effective. But a national or multinational company will need a campaign that can be easily accessed regardless of location and may be based solely online.
While there is no need to limit campaigns to just one form, with so many ways of marketing, marketers do not want to waste advertising budget on a method that is likely to be ineffective. Instead, marketers will want to focus on the methods that are most likely to spark interest and sales.
Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing method that uses the keywords people use online in an internet search to lead to a business. Data analysts can use search engine software tools to see the terms that customers are using to find a business and how likely it is to result in a booking or sale. SEO keywords and phrases can be used on a website or in marketing campaigns, including social media posts and paid ads. Keywords that are searched will usually include something about the product or service, and may include a geographic location, if relevant. Keywords can be both broad and very specific. So, a restaurant might have an SEO keyword target of ‘good restaurants’ in their town, but this will likely be more effective if it targets customers looking for a particular type of restaurant, such as ‘good Italian restaurants’ in their town. It could even be narrowed further, such as ‘best pizza restaurant’ in the town. Data analysts will have a lot of experience in SEO and will be able to analyze the data to find the best terms.
A key mark of determining how successful a marketing campaign has been is its profitability. Marketing is often a costly business and so it is vital that there are good returns. When running a marketing campaign, there are many decisions to be made such as when, where, and how it should run, as well as how much to invest in it. Good data analysis can help with these decisions.
Using data from past marketing campaigns, analysts can see which tactics have been successful and which have fallen short. This can also indicate whether investing more money is needed to reap the rewards or whether a campaign can be just as successful with a smaller budget. Having this information to aid marketing professionals in their decision making frees them up to better develop creative campaigns.
Business is more competitive now than ever and in a global market, businesses find they are no longer just competing with businesses in the same city, state, or even the same country. Getting to know the competition will help businesses better understand their industry and find ways they can occupy a unique niche.
While data analysts will not have access to as much data on the businesses of their competitors as they do on their own, they can still analyze what marketing campaigns they have run and whether they are reporting a greater profit as a result. This can also help marketers find areas that the competitors may have neglected, allowing the company to get ahead.
Above all, this can help identify exactly who the main competitors are and any signs of further competitors emerging.
Checking ongoing progress
Data analysis is important when planning a campaign, but it does not stop when the campaign starts. Instead, data analysts are needed to monitor progress. They need to determine whether the campaign is hitting its target market and if appropriate, such as in a social media campaign, whether it is received positively.
As the campaign progresses, they can track how the campaign is translating into sales, looking, for example at whether there is increased footfall in their businesses, whether their services are seeing bookings, or if online sales are taking off. If this is not happening, they need to look at the data to work out why. For example, if a website is seeing increased traffic from a campaign but this is not translating into sales, the data analyst can analyze if the campaign is targeted at the wrong demographic or whether it is misleading potential customers in some way.
The work continues even once a campaign ends. A marketing campaign produces a lot of data, and this can be used to analyze the performance. By analyzing which aspects of the campaign were successful and which were not, data analysts can make recommendations to inform future campaigns that can build on the positive aspects and negate the negative ones.
Like all aspects of life, the future of a business is uncertain. Regardless, businesses must make reasonably accurate predictions about the future to make decisions about where the business is going. For example, if a business is growing and successful, it will face decisions concerning hiring more employees, increasing production, and expanding premises in advance to take full advantage of that growth. This prevents needing to wait until they are turning down customers because the current setup is unable to cope.
Data analysts can look for patterns and trends both in the company’s history and in the wider marketplace. This can help them make predictions for the future of the business with a fair degree of accuracy. If, for example, a business is seeing increased positivity, the CEO or managers will need to decide how to react. Historical data can indicate if there is precedent for this. It might be something that happens regularly at that time of year, resulting in the company deciding to hire seasonal workers, or it might be part of a steady long-term trend of growth which may mean that the company needs to consider expansion.
Unexpected events can still occur, just as in recent years the COVID-19 pandemic had a very sudden impact on businesses for the better in some cases and the worse in others. It is unlikely that six months before the pandemic anyone could have predicted it. But the crisis creates vast amounts of data that analysts can use that will allow them to respond better to any similar events in the future.
Among the aspects the analyst will need to look at is what part of a marketing campaign is likely to play well and how to use campaigns to offset any negative predictions. Additionally, they can make the most of the opportunities they expect to occur.
Using data analysis
With all the information provided by skilled data analysts, a business develops the wealth of knowledge to operate effective marketing campaigns. By monitoring previous performances, it can identify what marketing methods are most successful or point the way to where further research and analysis are needed.
It can also identify the latest trends, allowing the business to stay ahead of the curve rather than always trying to catch up. It may even be able to predict trends before they happen, helping to give the business a reputation as a trendsetter.
Beyond marketing, this analysis can determine which areas the business needs to focus on. It might show that a particular range of products is popular and should be an area to focus on for development and marketing. For businesses looking to improve their marketing, employing good data analysts is an investment well worth making.
For those looking for how to get ahead in a business career, qualifications that include data analysis are worth acquiring, with the time and money invested in these also likely to pay off well via a career with excellent job security and good long-term prospects. While some may choose to take time out of work to study, it is not always necessary. Online courses in this area are offered by top accredited universities and colleges, and these allow students to study more flexibly, honing their analysis skills while continuing to meet financial and social obligations. Qualification will provide an array of job opportunities both now and in the future.
The amount of data being produced each day continues to grow and within that mass is valuable information that can help businesses market effectively to improve their reputations, customer numbers, sales, and profits. With skilled data analysts, finding the valuable information in the vast range available is not as hard as expected.