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30 ways to get better marketing results by using your data better. Part 1

Using data in marketing and fundraising activities has never been so important. Never have we had so much of it, (in its various guises), nor the means to understand, manipulate and use it.

With an ever-increasing amount of data at our fingertips, it’s important to be both effective and efficient in using it to best effect. So, here are…

30 ways to get better marketing results by using your data well. (Part 1)

  1. Keep it clean. Duplicate records, mis-spellings, corrupted uploads.  All of these waste time and money. Set regular times to check and de-dupe your lists.
  2. Keep it real. It’s no good if your information’s out of date. Again, you’ll just waste time and money. Plus if you address people with the wrong name or title, they’re going to get upset and switch off from your activity. Learn more about improving your data’s quality here 
  3. Use it to drive your campaigns – not justify them.  You can get some really good intelligence from your data, so use it to support a campaign proposal or to stop you launching one that’s based on a great idea without any hard fact.
  4. Know what’s good for you. What data do you have available to you? Financial? Web analytics? Email broadcast reports. Social Media metrics? Contact information? Profile information? Whatever you have, learn what is going to make the biggest difference to your work. Spending time reviewing how many re-tweets you’ve had is only going to help you if you can connect them with conversions to income.
  5. Know what you want. Set goals for what you want to learn from your data. Have a vision for your data use and write a plan to follow and monitor progress with. Make your database work for you. Learn how to get reports that only contain information you need, in timely fashion. You’ll be able to spot trends and cross-reference information much more easily.
  6. Know the difference between data and intelligence. Effective use of your data will only occur if you understand what the information’s telling you and how you can use that to your advantage. If you’re not sure, seek expert advice.
  7. Protect yourself. Know the law. The EU are becoming more and more concerned with privacy and data protection issues. Don’t get caught out using poor quality lists, spamming people, mailing people who’ve signed up to the MPS  (Mail Preference Service), targeting children… Cookies law ? The last thing you need is a fine, become blacklisted or damage your brand’s integrity by upsetting your supporters.
  8. Remember. Data doesn’t have all the answers. You’re unlikely to have information about every action that a donor has taken when responding (or not) to a campaign. Don’t read too much into results; consider all the likely reasons behind what the data’s telling you and weigh up all the possibilities with all the information available to you.
  9. Take advantage of technology #1. Use software tools to collect, aggregate and provide analysis of data. Online data-gathering tools like Google analytics , Facebook insights , Hootsuite , twentyfeet  (and plenty of others) can tell you a lot about various realms of online activity. They can save you time and money and deliver insights with which to plan your next campaign.
  10. Take advantage of technology #2. Get people online. It might be a bit ‘Big Brother’, but once people start clicking away in cyberspace, you can learn a lot about their behaviours and activities. Connect the online and offline world. Use QR codes , SnapTags , MS tags and Personal URLs  to move people from printed materials into the online world.
  11. Think about behaviours not profiles. Your data sources can tell you what your audiences are doing, when they’re doing it and often, why. We’re no longer limited to thinking of donors as ‘profiles’, stereotyped and put in boxes of age, geography, gender, income etc. Now we can gather specific information about them as individuals; in terms of behaviours, characteristics, likes and dislikes. AND more than that, we can respond to them as individuals, not merely as profiled groups.
  12. Your data’s only as good as the user. Analyst, insight expert, data-miner, in-putter; we’re all people. We’re only as good as our skill and experience and we  make mistakes. Check any analysis, cross-reference and benchmark against industry or historical standards and activity before making key decisions. Remember, one wrong symbol crashed a NASA rocket

It would be boring to split this into three equal parts, wouldn’t it? Part two to follow…

Not sure you’re getting the best from your data? Talk to Phil today.

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