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Do you make your decisions based on data or are you among the 89% of marketers that make their customer related decisions based on factors other than analytics?

A recent CEB study of nearly 800 marketers at Fortune 1000 companies found the vast majority of marketers still rely too much on intuition, while the few who do use data aggressively for the most part do it badly. 

According to a another recent study, 77% of CEOs have trouble linking marketing efforts to tangible results, such as revenue, shares and conversions.

Unlike its more traditional counterparts, digital marketing offers valuable metrics for measuring ROI. As the hype surrounding social dies down, the demand of business leaders for greater accountability and decisions based on accurate data will have a profound and transformative impact on the future of digital marketing, including social media marketing efforts.

So how can you ensure that you can show the results of your marketing execution to your CEO?

There are certain things you can do immediately to ensure that you are using the data you have to deliver an outstanding customer experience online and increase conversions.

Gather the right data

The challenge of big data is how to reduce it down to the level at which it is applied to the individual customer. You need to know your audience’s values, identities, and needs, and how your brand fits (or does not fit) into these.

You should collect data that will give you insights into your customers’ behaviour and their buying journey. 

As online audiences and communities become ever more fragmented, understanding digital cultures will become an ever-greater priority and challenge.

Knowing the cultures, such as the characteristics of your visitors who browse your site via a tablet in the evening, is what will allow you to add value by adapting the content to suit. So make sure you are set up to gather the right data. 

The data can come from your own digital assets, such as your site, and from communities. Asking the right questions that will help you make data driven decisions increases the chances for conversions.

Make a habit out of A/B testing pages that you want to convert. Then let data decide which option to show your visitors. You will be surprised how often you are wrong about what really converts. And keep testing, pit winning options against yet other versions to see if you can push up conversion rates further

Think omni-channel and use contextualization to your advantage

Once you have identified your customers’ values and needs, ensure that you are supporting engagement and greater customer experiences across channels.

This means that not only should your site look good on multiple screens, you also need to deliver personalised messages in each channel, based on the context. Your Facebook page may have a different tonality to your onsite language, for instance, but let the content adapt to the medium, not vice versa. Duplication of effort should not have to take place.

Traffic from mobile devices provides you with unique opportunities. Encourage visitors to go from anonymous browsers to identified visitors by engaging them with location-based offers or just information that is useful when on the go (think flight statuses while in the airport).

Your site also needs to adapt to this context once you get the chance to interact with the audience.  This is a huge  opportunity for targeted marketing where ads can be delivered based on a set geographical radius or to people based on their travel and location.

By serving the right content to the right people in the right context, customers are receiving a consistent experience across touch points, and the result is increased engagement and improved conversions. 

Aim for real–time and seize the conversion opportunity

How fast can you react to analytics data? If it takes you more than a day to launch a new campaign and contextualise it based on browser behaviour, you’ve missed the boat. 

Once you have the customer there, you will need to ensure that they can convert. This can become challenging unless you have a site that is optimised for this, able to detect where the user has come from and contextualise the landing page then and there. 

H&M experienced an example of where this can be improved in failing to see how its target audience was using Pinterest. Had the retailer spotted this, and been set up to react, it could have been capitalising by delivering relevant content to visitors from Pinterest and encouraging them to convert . 

Smart content for improved speed

Ecommerce sites have been working with smart content for a long time, and it is time that we embrace that in order to improve speed and agility for other sites as well.

Think about it as unbundling content into smaller items, and then placing relevant items next to each other to create a new picture depending on whom your visitor is and how they behave on the site. Your content can be used the same way as merchandisers are linking products together on ecommerce sites.

Make an inventory of your content assets. Find a way to work with it so that you do not have to manually update it all the time, but instead let the content be collated and presented to the visitor based on the behavior that they are exhibiting on the site.

That way, your content can work a lot harder for you then when it is static

We are all interested in increasing conversions and results. Use the data that you have and optimize your online assets in real time and you will be in a good position to  get the results you want online.

Maria Wasing

Published 21 March, 2013 by Maria Wasing

Maria Wasing is VP of Marketing Europe at EPiServer and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

24 more posts from this author

Comments (2)


Jean H. Blanc

Interesting - I've always thought that Pinterest audience is a TOP conversion source for my business.

over 3 years ago

John Smith

John Smith, Marketing at ABC

Great points here. While I think intuition still has its place in setting the ball rolling, it needs data to confirm and optimise those assumptions.

It's both easy nowadays to collect data and be overwhelmed by the massive volume of information out there, so you either have to invest in the necessary capabilities, or adjust to what you can handle.

over 3 years ago

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