Content complements of:

A Teradata survey unveiled that 87% of marketers see data as the most underused asset in their cohorts, and 50% desire to extend the use of big data to support their digital marketing efforts.

However, ecommerce marketers are still experiencing difficulty with gaining insights from analytics. They struggle with integrating data into their everyday operations, like competitor analysis, branding strategies, and sales techniques.

Instead of suffering from analysis paralysis, marketing teams should focus on the bigger picture. Major gains are made when marketers concentrate on creating a better customer experience.

So, stop disregarding the data. Move forward by sharpening the following four key areas:

1. Monitor the Competition

Data gives SaaS teams an inside track of how to strategically outdo the competition. With keyword tools, you can measure your methods amongst other market leaders.

SEMrush monitors your competitors’ strategies in display advertising, organic and paid search, and link building. Knowing the competition’s unique keywords will help you discover unknown search terms.

Moreover, by improving your content with new keywords, there’s a greater chance to emerge in the SERP next to your competitors.

Image Source

Social data also offers an inside track of how competitors interact with customers. Platforms like Rival IQ and Mention can help you size up the competition.

Image Source

For example, on Twitter, observe other brands’ mentions, followers, and engagement rates. Know when they outperform you, and vice versa. Then, analyze the content promoted.

What content stands out? How many times was it promoted? How did customers respond?

The purpose is not to mimic your competitors but to learn from their successes and failures. If a particular tweet does well for them, it may have a similar result for your business.

Keep the following points in mind when measuring your brand’s presence:

Identify insights that can contribute to your plan.
Learn what and when to post to produce more engagement.
Pinpoint substantial spikes in impressions.
Distinguish between what’s working and what’s not.

Mold your strategy with benchmarks, and build marketing campaigns that outwit your competitors.

2. Craft a Personalized Brand Message

Data helps ecommerce marketers create customized buyer personas. Knowing your audience means more personalized messages to segmented groups.

Forrester’s report on Competitive Strategy in the Age of the Consumer emphasizes moving away from consumer historical data. Rather, focus on the here and now.

Try conducting customer surveys, and use open-ended questions. That way, you gain actionable insight beyond the constraints of yes/no questions.

The goal is to understand customer behavior, including the roadblocks that hinder them from making a purchase. So, seek outside the usual interests and needs, and aim for actions and reactions.

Conversion copywriter Jennifer Havice suggests asking these survey questions:

When did you realize you needed a product/service like ours?
What problem does our product/service solve in your life?
What doubts or hesitations did you have before buying?

Your team also may want to gather data from phone interviews. While time-consuming, you will capture specific keywords from your customers. And that may be worth your efforts.

Just be mindful that these customer interviews aren’t sales calls. Instead, listen attentively.

“This is an opportunity to gather symptoms and a prospective customer’s perspective on their needs with respect to a specific problem or capability,” says Sean Murphy, CEO of SKMurphy.

In addition, enlist aid from your online community managers. These folks are pros at finding the most important conversations. Your community forums could uncover new clues about your consumers.

It’s up to brands to offer experiences that cater to their customers. To do so, businesses must look at the real-time data to match customer motivations with personalized products.

Get inside your customer’s heads. Create accurate buyer personas.

3. Acquire Sales Leads

Want to fill your sales pipeline with qualified leads? Use data to produce targeted lead generation campaigns.

But in order to do that, sales and marketing teams must be aligned. A common issue amongst these departments is disagreement about lead qualification. Without a set definition, some organizations witness a stunt in their growth.

Research tells us that “highly aligned organizations achieved an average of 32% year-over-year revenue growth – while their less aligned competitors saw a 7% decrease in revenue.”

Image Source

Marketing and sales centers around lead quality. So, to start a rewarding partnership, use consumer behavior data.

Marketing automation tools were essentially created for this purpose. Work with sales to select which leads deserve a follow up. The data will determine which prospects need to be nurtured and handed to the sales team.

The key is to eliminate missed opportunities. The collaboration should help both teams address the right leads at the right time.

Also, remember to clean your databases. Archive or delete prospects that don’t meet the lead qualification criteria.

Quality trumps quantity. Three super-qualified leads will always surpass 20 disinterested leads.

Set up your parameters. Then, filter for things like:

Fake email addresses and phone numbers,
Information-seeking job titles, like “student,” and
Low annual revenues.

Failure to properly process data is one reason companies don’t generate more leads. Be better. Move data to the forefront to boost sales leads.

4. Retain More Customers

Data identifies holes in the customer experience that may lead to high churn rates. Extend your customer lifetime value by predicting consumer behavior patterns.

By analyzing data, marketers learn their customers’ needs and preferences. Leverage those insights to understand why customers discontinue their services or try other brands.

Is there a disconnect in customer service? Or is your onboarding process complicated? Look for patterns and discover the reasons for your churn issues.

Researchers found that “96% of unhappy customers don’t complain; however, 91% of those will simply leave and never come back.” That’s why it’s so important for your team to be proactive.

Keep an open line of communication between your company and customers. This means promptly addressing concerns and following conversations via social media.

Effective data-gathering doesn’t have to be difficult. Below is an example of how new users sign up for Pusher. The company received a 16% reply rate.

Image Source

The real challenge begins when your customers start responding. How will your team correct mistakes? Will you add more value to your services?

Incorporate customer comments into your retention strategy. Find new ways to deliver on your promises, like initiating a rewards program.

Examine the data points that increase your churn rates. Then, develop programs to exceed customer expectations. Build a brand loyal customer base.

Heed the Data

Data is your friend. Shying away from analytics will do more harm than good.

Use keyword tools to monitor your competitors. Develop customer surveys to help with buyer personas, and align marketing and sales to create more qualified leads.

Data is valuable. Think twice before you ignore it.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.