Data are a key component of making decisions based on customer needs and leading relevant marketing campaigns. However, big data often become huge data, and marketers consequently have trouble identifying effective key performance indicators (KPIs) within the tremendous amount of data available on different marketing applications and services such as CRM, email, and web analytics.

Here are the six most important steps in implementing successful data-driven digital marketing campaigns.

1- Developing a global strategy

The first step of an effective data-driven marketing approach is strategy. At this stage, you need to put current KPIs and tools aside and consider your general objectives. Ask yourself, what’s the core of your business? What does your company look for—visibility, conversion, or prospects?

You need to establish different objectives according to your campaigns, products, or services. Additionally, remember that KPIs are not goals!

A crucial point is never to confuse an indicator for a goal. The number of followers on Twitter, engagement rate, or conversion rate are not objectives. They are simply KPIs, or a way to assess your progress and your goals. What is your real objective then? You need to be clear and specific.

2- Obtaining the most relevant KPIs

A company acquires data from many sources—from different departments to various applications. You need to identify the most suitable KPIs according to your goals, and if required, create your own KPIs.

Take a step back from standard indicators or vanity metrics (unique users, number of followers, bounce rate, etc.) and instead select smart metrics—the ones that truly measure your goal.

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3- Selecting the right tools (or the best way to use your current tools)

Services and applications have their own scope, dashboards, and KPIs. You need to define the exact scope of every service that you need and use, and then select those services that are the most appropriate to your context and requirement.

4- Integrating all systems and platforms

Data that are scattered across tools and departments are disadvantageous for a company. Therefore, try to merge and integrate all the data within the same process or application to obtain a big picture of customer needs and similar KPIs, even if the result is merely an Excel sheet!

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5- Publishing and sharing your data

Data are simply a tool that helps to drive decisions. If you have a real and global data strategy and the right KPIs for specific goals, then you’re on the right track.

Identifying and following KPIs constitutes an asset and a source of knowledge, but you need to share this knowledge with all the stakeholders in the company. This means that you have to develop accessible and understandable dashboards to help all the departments involved to obtain data when they need them.

6- Combining data and intuition

A data-driven decision-making approach involves making decisions that are supported by hard data rather than formulating decisions that are intuitive or based solely on observation.

However, discrediting the power of intuition is probably a mistake because data only concern the past; even the predictive models are based on past events.

Don’t disregard intuition; instead, take it to the next level: combine intuition with data, similar to the way design thinking methods are adopted.

Data science totally disrupts the marketing world, and master data analysis and interpretation has become a major and critical skill. Companies hire individuals for new jobs such as data scientists, data engineers, and chief data officers. All the marketing jobs also require the ability to work via a data-driven approach.
The MSc in Digital Marketing & Data Science run by emlyon business school fits this evolution and job market needs, making students understand the most innovative technologies and acquire the skills to manage the upcoming technological disruptions in marketing.