5 tips for powerful data-driven brands

We’re only in Q1, but we’re going to ask anyway: how are sales targets doing? For both marketing and sales, this is a question that ends up on your plate as a regular expense. With love you realize that quick win to meet your target, but it is sometimes with pain in the heart. That target is not everything.

Because you know: costs come before profits. Especially when it comes to branding. But what has happened to brand awareness in recent times? Are data and branding incompatible? Or do they exist in harmony? Below we give 5 tips to make sure you market yourself powerfully with ironclad marketing. Let’s go!

Tip 1: always think long term

As long as the marketing communications team keeps the company’s long-term goals in mind, data can be perfect support. The question ‘who is buying what’ and more importantly ‘what else would they be interested in’ can be answered in an instant with data. 

Such hypotheses get closer and closer to reality as more data becomes available. In this way, you arrive at valuable insights into the needs of your customers. But beware of price promotions: before you know it, your margins will spiral downward until there is nothing left.

Tip 2: make sure every form of communication is drenched in your brand's style

A unique tone-of-voice, where do you find that anymore? Hopefully in every expression of your brand! You can never go wrong if you stay close to your brand. With your tone-of-voice, you put a unique spin on how you solve customer problems. Think of IKEA or Coolblue, their tone-of-voice is very strong and fits perfectly with the personality of their company. If you do this in a pleasant way, you not only stimulate sales, but also boost how you are positioned in the market as a brand. 

Your tone-of-voice works as a branding mechanism at the same time. If you use it in every expression, you can never go wrong. Make sure your branding comes out clearly in every form of communication. Make sure you don’t just talk about yourself; hopefully you don’t do that on your first date either! Above all, emphasize how your customers benefit when they use your brand or services.

Tip 3: Stop when a human argument is lacking

Sometimes data can’t be explained. Did you know that there is a strong correlation between the number of drowning deaths of people who fall into pools and the number of movies Nicolas Cage plays in? Smart people among us immediately point out to me the difference between a causal relationship and a correlation. 

Only in a causal relationship, do we speak of a clear cause. For the record, of course there are not more drowning deaths because Nicolas Cage has been in more movies. But even if you know that there is a causal relationship, should you always blindly trust what the data tells you? 

Of course you like to show your boss or client that you have achieved an impressive ROI. But when you open that black box of data, sometimes crazy things come up. Blindly following the data can lead to marketing where you structurally exclude groups. The use of data-driven correlations is possibly discriminatory. That really is not acceptable in this day and age. Show your human side!

Tip: only implement a new feature if it is significantly better than the previous version. For that, you first need a dataset of about 500-1000 users.

Should we take an example from Amazon?

The website of data giant Amazon looks like crap. So, that’s out. This is a typical website created not by humans, but by robots. A/B tests are run on the assembly line. If the test shows that A works better than B, it is immediately implemented. Amazon is now so big that competing on price is virtually impossible. And even though Amazon does not have aesthetically pleasing looks, it does convert. Thanks to data and analytics, sales of items go through the roof. But to what extent is this desirable?

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Tip 4: Make sure the data is interpreted correctly

Perhaps an eye-opener, but when and what kind of interpretation is given to the data is crucial. This also involves an age difference. Data is second nature to young marketers, where it doesn’t come as naturally to seasoned marketers (with significantly more winters). Decisions are therefore made more on Fingerspitzengefühl than on data. Shame! Following up on what rolls out of the data can result in a completely different approach for two generations. 

Therefore, keep a strict distinction between causal relationships and correlations. The best way to test whether there is a causal connection is with an A/B test. Unfortunately you can’t do much with correlations. Except that it serves as input for possible causal relationships. 

Are you going to work with programmatic buying?

Programmatic buying in short is the automatic buying of online advertising space. Algorithms analyze consumer behavior through cookies and big data. The “right” person is then shown the “right” ad. In an ideal world, that algorithm hits the right chord immediately. In reality, that algorithm needs direction. Keep a finger on the pulse when you get started with programmatic buying. Again: long-term branding goals are more important than short-term sales.

Read here how we use programmatic buying.

Tip 5: Use a Customer Data Platform

Have you ever heard of a Customer Data Platform (CDP)? If not, buckle up. Have you? Then stay tuned anyway. With a CDP, you build holistic customer profiles based on events. If someone watched a video for 10 minutes, the customer journey looks different than if they were briefly on your homepage. A CDP helps you build a personalized, relevant and branded customer journey. Through this personalized customer journey, your conversion rate also gets a boost.

A CDP collects all (yes, all) data from your available data sources. Think of your website, advertising channels, CRM and email marketing tool. You then use this data in a smart and personal way. For example, with dynamic blocks on your website. How does that work? If someone looked at pillows on your site and a few days later comes back to the homepage, there will be, yes, pillows!

Resist the temptation of data

What weighs more heavily in the decision? Building the strength of your brand or short-term sales promotions? If you go with the latter, you’ll probably end up with a brand name that’s not worth as much. Today, it’s harder than ever to resist the temptation of data. You have the tools in your hands, why not use them? 

Okay, we get it. Without conversions, your brand doesn’t exist at all. Data and your brand definitely support each other: nothing is more irritating than irrelevant targeting. Suggesting a pepperoni pizza to a vegetarian is obviously not going to work. And remember kids: consumers are willing to pay more for a strong brand. So does this mean you can’t use any data at all? No! Shame on you! This article argues for a correct interpretation of data and that your brand should keep both feet on the ground.

With the above tips, hopefully you’ll have a better handle on your data and can build your brand further. In short, it is important to create strong, unique and, above all, favorable associations with your brand among your target group. Such associations are created through communication and branding, where you should never – ever – lose sight of the long term! 

Are you unable to find your way through the maze of data or would you like to strengthen your proposition? Or both? 

Get in touch with us!

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