How to use data to maximize your marketing automation investment

3 minute read

We have an ever-increasing number of digital solutions at our fingertips to connect with our customers in real-time. As our options for mass communication have increased, so has the importance of personalization. For this we need intelligent use of technologies like marketing automation.

Data has become a crucial part of marketing automation. Companies regularly collect, store and analyze large amounts of data on their customers every day. Every browse, click, and action enriches your database.

But here’s the catch: data is not the same as information. If you gather data but don’t analyze or use it effectively, it doesn’t really accelerate your marketing efforts or provide the ROI you were after.

When used well, data helps you to better understand your customers’ needs and desires. It serves as the basis for personalization, better customer service, and customer value. It teaches what works and what doesn’t work. It is also the foundation for automated and repeatable marketing processes that help you to scale your operations.

Utilize data architecture for marketing automation

Can you access and use the data that your company already has? It is common for organizations to have several places where they store their sales and marketing data. This could mean different CRM systems, marketing databases, or even Excel spreadsheets. There may also be several other sources of data that need to be integrated (such as websites, mobile applications, purchase data).

Without clear knowledge of and access to the data you have, you can’t fully utilize marketing automation or create actionable insights about your customer.

A good data model streamlines the data flow. Start planning your data model by answering the following questions:

  • What are our current and future use cases for marketing automation?
  • Where is the data located?
  • How can we access that data?
  • Do we need real-time data?
  • What do we want to measure and analyze?
  • What data do we need to extract from other systems?

Data transparency and good data privacy also create trust. With proper data architecture in place, you can communicate to the customer what kind of data you collect and for what purpose. Your use of data also needs to be GDPR compliant.

Employ the right skills and knowledge

Technical and analytics skills are as crucial to marketing automation as data is. Also, cooperation between Marketing, IT, Sales and Analytics becomes more and more important.

The digital marketing field has changed remarkably in the past five years and continues to change all the time. New skills and knowledge are needed as marketing practice evolves. Do you have the right roles and specialists in your marketing automation organization?

Technically-oriented marketing specialists and analysts will better understand the data and data models: where the data is located, how it is used, how it is updated, how it is kept clean, and how it is handled in a way that meets the current privacy and personal legal requirements.

The right talent can be part of your in-house marketing team or you can use an expert agency for it.

Automate personalized — or even hyper-personalized — communication

Today’s customers expect personalized communications. According to Gartner, companies that use personalized communications to help their customers can expect 16 percent increased commercial outcomes than those who don’t. Use your opportunity well.

Personalization means offering content on different channels based on customers’ profiles. Hyper-personalization — made possible with marketing automation — means the customer gets an experience tailored just for them whenever they interact with the company.

Segmentation classifies customers or prospects into homogenous clusters to better understand how they behave and to identify the most valuable customer groups. But remember that a customer’s needs are constantly changing: a customer in a certain segment today might belong to a different segment tomorrow. This means you can’t rely only on historical data, but need real-time behavioral data for marketing automation as well.

When you have actionable customer data you can create personalized content and deliver it to the right customers at their preferred time. You can create real-time actions based on your customers’ behavior and engage them better. With the help of large amounts of data, marketing automation, and hyper-personalization you can even predict behavior and respond to your customers’ future needs right now.

Strategic Guide to Marketing Automation

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