Data Mastery: What Marketers Need to Know
According to Statista's research on big data, 181 zettabytes of data are expected to be created by 2025. One zettabyte equals 1 trillion gigabytes. That’s 1,953,125,000 iPhone 14 pros. Multiply that by 181 and you get a clear visual of just how much data this is.
As huge as this amount is, it’s good news for marketers. Data is central to successful marketing strategies. It provides insight into customers, marketing practices, and team productivity that you can use to make decisions that drive consistent marketing results.
However, processing and analyzing huge datasets can be challenging without individuals who specialize in data analytics on your team. In addition, before you get to the analysis part, you must collect the right kind of data. And that starts with understanding the different types available.
There are various types of data that marketers should leverage to make better marketing decisions and fuel consistent results. We’ll cover five of them below. But first, more on the importance of data in marketing.
The Importance of Data in Marketing
Data-driven marketing uses data to help create marketing strategies. You use the insights you pull from the data about customers, content, trends, patterns, and results to inform the decisions you make about your marketing direction.
It’s one of the most popular approaches to marketing for good reason. Instead of relying on a hunch or what you and your team think is best for the marketing strategy, you can count on accurate data that tells you for certain what’s happening with your customers and marketing tactics.
For example, let’s say you want to start a presence on social media. You think your target audience frequents Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. After looking at the customer data you’ve collected thus far, you see that your target audience is actually on TikTok, YouTube, and Pinterest the most.
If you would’ve gone with what you thought, you would’ve wasted valuable time and marketing resources on channels that your target audience isn’t on. But with the help of customer data, you were able to pinpoint the channels your audience is actually on and can spend your time and resources where results are likely to happen.
Marketing that leans on insights from data is the smartest approach. That said, you must know which types of data are worth collecting and analyzing first.
Five Different Data Types Marketers Should Prioritize
Before we share five different data types that are most significant to marketers, there are a few things to consider to ensure proper use of data.
First, there’s a risk of bias in data collection and analysis. The individuals who program your data collection tools and analyze the information gathered may exhibit biases like:
- Confirmation bias: you use customer responses to confirm a belief you already have
- Expectancy bias: you subconsciously impact participants' perspectives and responses in your market research
- Implicit bias: an attitude you possess about a specific group that you aren’t all the way aware of
- Recall bias: how you recall information is different than others
You can overcome these biases through competitor and SWOT analyses. Gather information from diverse sources and study market trends research to ensure accurate and fair data collection and analysis.
Second, data security is essential. The last thing you want is to collect all of this private, important data and it fall into the hands of a cybercriminal. Keeping your data safe in a highly secure cloud storage system is a must.
Lastly, you need a system for collecting data. There are many data collection methods available, including automated data collection software, interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Choose the methods most appropriate for your team and goals, and create a workflow that allows you to constantly collect data and filter it into a central system.
Now, on to five different data types marketers should collect and take advantage of for insightful decision-making.
Internal and external data
Most of the data you collect will fall into one of these two categories: internal or external data. Internal data is specific to your company and comes directly from your business’s systems. Sales data, financial data, and human resources data are good examples of internal data.
External data is available to the public and comes from sources outside of your company. Examples of external data include government data, social media data, and information gathered from search engines.
Collecting both kinds of data is important because it gives you a well-rounded view of your marketing. You can see it from your team’s perspective as well as the public’s perspective.
Qualitative data is data on the qualities or characteristics people possess. If you think about it in terms of customers, it’s essentially the “why” behind what they’re doing. You can gain insight into how your customers think and behave.
With this data, you can create marketing content and calls-to-action (CTAs) that align with customers emotionally and psychologically, improving the chances of them engaging with your marketing the way you want them to.
Quantitative datasets are comprised of hard facts, statistics, and numbers. Quantitative data can show you what your customers are doing, the content they’re viewing the most, how often they’re opening your emails, or which links are getting the most clicks.
Pair quantitative data with qualitative data, and you can get a 360 view of who your customers are, what they’re doing, and why.
Demographic data is one of the most common types of data marketers collect and analyze. It’s the personal and geographic information of your customers. You learn data like your customer’s age, marital status, where they live, employment status, and skill sets.
Although you won’t get a ton of in-depth information, you get a base for who your customers are. You can use this data to make ideal customer profiles that you reference whenever you create marketing materials to ensure they’ll appeal to the customer base you’re targeting.
Psychographic data gives you insight into things about your customers that are beyond basic demographic information. You can learn the following with psychographic data:
- Pain points
- Core values
- Life experiences
- Spending habits
- Hobbies and interests
- Lifestyle behaviors
Psychographic data will help you create an emotional connection with your customers that inspires them to make purchases and further interact with your marketing.
Data is one of the most important tools to have in your marketing toolkit. Without it, you rely solely on your and your team's perspectives to create marketing materials that generate consistent results. And doing this almost guarantees you miss the mark with your audience.
Instead, you should rely on information that tells you exactly what your customers are doing and why and what marketing tactics are working. Collecting the data types we mentioned above through various data collection methods gets you on this path.