It has been a tough year for businesses of all sizes across all sectors, but with vaccines being swiftly rolled out across the states, now is the time to look ahead and plan for growth.
2021 will undeniably be a tricky year, at least in the first few months if not into the later quarters. Economic output is lower than it was before the pandemic hit, although the economy is growing now, with a 15.3% growth between Q2 and Q3. Consumer uncertainty is higher than it was last year but people are still spending – and they are now spending more of their money online. Unsurprisingly, Amazon saw record growth over the course of the pandemic, and across the board online purchases rose across most product categories, even with consumer spending down as a whole.
While the death of brick and mortar retail has been rumored for years, the nature of the pandemic has accelerated the shift to online purchasing. Investing in your digital marketing has never been more important, and utilizing your data is the key to improving online performance and growing online revenue.
In this post I outline the steps you can take now to get more from your data and digital strategy in 2021.
The best digital strategy is one that is fully informed by how your customer thinks and behaves. Integrating your digital marketing technology platforms allows you to connect data and build up a holistic view of your customers and their paths to conversion.
Integrating the different platforms also prevents results from being double counted, allows a true picture of attribution to be built, and makes it easier to create a seamless digital strategy which aims to achieve overall objectives (such as growing revenue by %) as well as channel-specific KPIs.
We talk more about the benefits of connecting your full technology stack here, using the Google Marketing Platform as an example. However, you will benefit from integrating your tools (or the data you collect from these tools) no matter what platforms you use.
The customer journey can be long and complicated, with many touchpoints involved before a conversion happens. Some people prefer to research offline and buy online, while others favor the opposite.
Being able to properly attribute where sales have come from, and whether a lead ends in conversion, is crucial to making informed decisions about which channels to funnel budget into. With many business’s marketing budget being slashed due to fewer sales in the pandemic, it is more important than ever to avoid wasting budget and ensure your ROI reaches its full potential.
Linking offline sales (from your CRM) to online activity will help to build a picture of how well your digital marketing is performing. This is important for any business who trades offline and online, but even more so for companies which rely on their website to drive leads but only allow for sales offline.
The insights you gain from joining up online and offline activity can be used to optimize paid campaigns, inform your content strategy, qualify leads, and more. Our Head of Analytics and Data Science runs through how to use Measurement Protocol to join your CRM with analytics in this video.
First-party data is incredibly valuable – it is more accurate and relevant than third-party data, as it comes directly from your customers. Using first-party data insights to inform your digital campaigns gives great results, but in order to do this you need huge amounts of data.
If your industry is still struggling as a result of ongoing restrictions, look at ways to provide value to your audience while collecting their data – for example, downloadable resources such as whitepapers and webinars are a great way of collecting customer data and they provide value at a time where your potential customer might not have much buying power.
Once you have integrated and centralized your first-party data, you will be able to get much better insights on your customers and their value to your business.
Integrating your CRM and analytics data can help to build a better picture of who your customer is (as well as what their customer journey looks like). If you haven’t already, spend some time analyzing and segmenting your customers and creating a digital strategy around these audiences.
For example, audiences can be segmented by the value they provide (e.g. repeat vs occasional customers) and targeted accordingly by adjusting bids to spend more on high-value clicks, or using different CTAs and landing pages depending on what messaging they need to convert.
Tailoring your strategy to the wants and needs of each audience group uses budget much more efficiently and delivers better results than having a one size fits all approach.
Attribution allows you to see how much value each channel has in the customer journey, but with several attribution models available, it is important to choose a model which best fits your business needs.
If your business goals have changed as a result of the pandemic, it may be that your attribution needs have also evolved. What insights do you want to get from your attribution model? For example, if you want to understand what channels work best at generating new prospects, a first-touch attribution model may be right for you; if you are looking to cut some channels and want to know all channels which contribute to a conversion before you make that decision, a linear attribution model (where credit is equally distributed across all clicks) may work. Take a look at your attribution options and make sure the one you use truly reflects the business questions you want answering. Can’t see one that fits? Build a custom attribution model.
Different markets have been impacted by the pandemic in different ways, and some markets may provide more opportunity for your business both right now and in the future.
Analyzing your web analytics can indicate potential markets to move into; look for metrics which indicate high interest, such as traffic and conversions. From there you can carry out market research to understand user behaviour and interest, and if there appears to be demand, carry out small-scale PPC tests to gain further insights.
You can find our step by step guide to going global here.
It may be a challenging few months for businesses but taking action now will help to future-proof your digital strategy, ride out any economic uncertainty and pave the way for growth.
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