Data Driven Marketing: What Is It & How Can You Use It?

March 8, 2021

Marketing, it can easily be described as a ‘right-brained’ industry. As a practice, it’s focused on story-telling, it’s dependent on vivid imaginations and it attempts to understand the emotions of its audiences. On the contrary, think of left-brained professions and you’ve probably conjured up mental images of STEM researchers, software developers using complicated algorithms or statisticians filling out graphs.

Of course, it’s rare that anything is so black-and-white, so binary, so easily boxed. There is an undeniable overlap across the board. Just as creativity is found in technical professions, logic and systems are prevalent in effective marketing. Data driven marketing attempts to optimise brand communications using detailed metrics around customer information. It can personalise the customer experience, help target new customers and help improve campaigns in real time. Here at Reward, we break down what data driven marketing is and how you can use it.

What is Data Driven Marketing?

Put crudely, marketing has two main goals: to discover a customer’s wants/needs and to deliver them to said customer. Data driven marketing uses consumer data to better predict these wants and needs. It strives to provide a deeper insight into their behaviours, thus providing more thorough and personalised marketing strategies that generate a better return on investment. Where traditional marketing employs the use of market studies and user personas (often built on guesswork about core demographics), data driven marketing uses quantitative information. Data driven marketing uses data that’s acquired through customer interactions to gain a better understanding of their motivations, preferences and behaviours. It’s a strategy that’s based on the analysis of big data, collected from consumer engagement, to offer accurate results.

How Does Data Driven Marketing Work?

According to studies, 78% of organisations say that data driven marketing increases lead conversion and customer acquisition. A Forbes report states that for 66% of marketing leaders, data leads to an increase in customer acquisition. But how does a company leverage this customer-led marketing strategy? It’s all about how you collect and utilise user information. Gathering data may seem like a herculean task. When traditional marketing firms first adopt data driven strategies, they may feel overwhelmed by the idea of collecting information from their target audiences. Alternatively, they may feel paralysed by the sheer quantities of data that are already available. As with many tasks that may feel overwhelming, it’s best to start small.

Most online businesses, whether they’re eCommerce or B2B, will have a range of metrics that are readily available to them. Whether this is in the form of Customer Relationship Management tools, website analytics, advertising tools or even social media insights, there’s a host of software that can provide understanding of customer information. Let’s have a look at some of the most useful metrics for understanding your audience.


To put it simply, traffic measures how many times a particular webpage has been viewed. The number of visitors that a web page receives, the greater the number of opportunities you have to add new customers. Direct traffic refers to URL type-ins, bookmarks and untracked social media links. Campaign traffic refers to visits from ads, email campaigns and social media campaigns. Search traffic describes the visits that have come from search engines. Organic traffic is all the traffic that comes to your site as a result of unpaid search results. Traffic analytics will tell you which web pages your audience find most relevant and which could use improvement. On a deeper level, it provides insight on how different demographics behave, and reveals the terms and products that they are searching for.


Engagement actually encompasses many data points, such as bounce rate and the time spent on each page. Loosely put, you can understand engagement as a measure of how and how often people interact with your web content. Like with traffic, engagement can tell you which of your web pages are most valuable to your customers. It can provide insights on the types of products and content that should form the bedrock of your upcoming campaigns. Data around engagement can help clarify which pages are succeeding and which need work.

Open Rate

Open rate is a data driven marketing term that refers to email. There’s no two ways about it: companies that utilise email should keep a close eye on their open rates. What’s the point in creating a detailed email campaign only to have too few people open the email to qualify a solid ROI? It goes without saying – open rates are a good indicator of how successful your email subject lines are. If they sound too formal and transactional, if your emails are too frequent, then chances are, you’ve turned off your customer.

Click-through Rate

A second email-related data driven marketing term, click-through rates describe the percentage of people who clicked on a call-to-action versus of those who saw it. Click-through rates give a very useful indication on what captures the attention of your audiences, and so, should be foundational in how you sculpt your future marketing campaigns and how you decide on which products to promote to customers.

Leads Generated

Ultimately, effective marketing drives leads – it identifies people within your target market who may be interested in the products and services that you provide. Knowing how many leads that you’re getting helps you to understand the effectiveness of your marketing in doing its fundamental job: to grow sales.

Conversion Rates

A conversion rate details the percentage of users who take a desired action. It’s similar to a click-through rate but tends to describe the percentage of website visitors who buy something on your website. Conversion rates can help you optimize your web design, web copy, product pages etc. Like with all the metrics discussed above, it should inform how your future marketing strategies look. These are but a few of the data driven marketing metrics available. In particular, when reviewing the performance of social media content, there’s tons of valuable analytics data that’s specific to each platform

How to Use Data Driven Marketing

The true value of data lies not in measuring analytics, but in contextualizing the results. Whether or not you use automation tools, translating numbers into actionable steps are essential to generating a data driven marketing strategy. In order to truly benefit from data, results needs to be up-to-date and should be taken from various sources.

Establishing Goals

When putting together a strategy, it’s important to have very clear goals from the off-set. Many campaigns are centred on the S.M.A.R.T. method, so that any goals are:

  • Specific – for example, if you want to increase revenue or conversion, detail how much by.
  • Measurable – they can be quantified by a number.
  • Achievable – they must be attainable and realistic (a lot of campaigns go wrong here).
  • Relevant – the goals must benefit your company in a direct way.
  • Timely – there should be reasonable deadlines for each goal.

You may wish to launch a campaign that is centred in attracting new customers, revenue, enhancing customer experience or brand recognition. Each campaign will use data differently, will attempt to turn metrics into a fully-realised yet distinct buyer persona. Depending on the goals for any given campaign, you may be interested in different data.

From your analytics, choose the channels you’ll use to run your campaign. For example, you may choose PPC adverts, email, content or social media posts depending on your established goals. Let’s say you want to increase brand awareness – social media campaigns centred around bolstering your brand identity and core message are the way to go. Of course, it’s crucial to monitor the results of your campaign using the same analytic tools that helped create it. With data driven marketing, it’s important to calculate your ROI and take what you’ve learned to improve a campaign’s future iterations.

Data Driven Marketing – Closing Thoughts

If marketing was only about figures, it would be performed by bots. It takes creativity and storytelling to achieve dynamic results. Yet, without data, your marketing strategies are exercises in assumptions. The successful marketer uses analytics to flesh out and improve the effectiveness of their campaigns. Data driven marketing clarifies the best ways to do that.

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