Data-Driven Marketing: The Definitive Guide for 2023 + 4 Examples

By Nick Becker Last updated: 08.25.2023 11 minute read Marketing Guides

Many companies have been hearing about data-driven marketing and feeling like they are missing out.

This could be true and false at the same time. 

If you have altered any marketing campaign based on results from an existing campaign, you have engaged in data-driven marketing.

Does this mean you did it right? Regardless of the answer, there is always room for improvement.

In this article, we will talk about different kinds of data-driven marketing.

We will talk about examples of each to understand how to do it the right way.

We will also discover what problems you may encounter along the way. The different things we will talk about include:

  • Planning Campaigns with Demographic Data
  • Increase Email Marketing Effectiveness
  • Starting Campaigns with Information on Trends Gained from Another
  • Identify Goals and Successes with Small Steps

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    What is Data-Driven Marketing

    So what is data-driven marketing anyhow?

    This is a concept whereby you seek out data about your target audience.

    This data is used to market more effectively. This information-driven marketing concept is most effective in the modern era of marketing.

    What makes up your target audience?

    This is the group of people most likely to engage with your company.

    Different motivations may cause people to desire to engage with your company.

    Identifying your target audience allows you to better define your marketing plan.

    Historically, marketing has been little more than finding the voice to speak to the greatest common denominator.

    The message is then broadcast at times and places when your biggest audience might be in attendance. 

    With the onset of technology, it is possible to dial in marketing techniques specific to different segments. This is the heart of data-driven marketing.

    It is about learning about the different segments and how best to reach them.

    Planning Campaigns with Demographic Data

    The first thing you should know about your target audience is what they care about.

    For example, it does no good to try to market wealth management services to college students.

    In this example, you are better off marketing to those living in wealthier neighborhoods. The higher disposable income makes them desire wealth management more.

    Let’s take a look at DirecTV.

    The ad below is one that catches the eye of someone moving into a new neighborhood.

    While people are moving all the time, it is possible to seek out those most likely to desire new services. 

    To borrow from the example above, a freshman in college has little use for a DirecTV ad like this. However, those exiting college and getting their first apartment might find this more useful.

    This particular marketing campaign takes into consideration the data from what drives people to set up new services.

    According to Monetate, DirecTV found it was more effective to market new services as a move-in special.

    This was put against an offer to get people to switch with a $300 incentive.

    Simply by discovering the demographic most likely to switch providers, they knew how to create a marketing campaign that would be effective.

    The alteration in the marketing campaign was a huge success. Rather than having to pay off new subscribers to switch, people did it willingly. 

    Taking some time to get to know the demographic of those you mean to reach out to will make all the difference.

    Think about the DirecTV example here and apply it to your own business.

    Can you see where you would most effectively market? If the answer is no, more digging is necessary.

    The end result will be well worth the pre-planning.

    Increase Email Marketing Effectiveness

    Email marketing is still the most effective means by which you can reach your customer base.

    This does not mean arbitrarily sending out a copy and paste messages to a third party list.

    It means segmenting your email list that is carefully culled and sending out targeted messages at the right time. 

    As you can see from this chart, from Campaign Monitor, not even paid campaigns can have the same effect of email marketing.

    This is because of how highly personalized you can make emails. 

    This is why automated email follow up is a big part of modern marketing campaigns. By reaching out this way, you personalize the message.

    The follow-up email extension can be used to drive your marketing campaign even further.

    The question becomes, how do you segment your email marketing campaign?

    Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing campaigns can actually help you to gather data. This data is used to make your email marketing more effective. 

    Let’s take a look at this marketing campaign from Dunkin Donuts. This campaign works best by utilizing information about people who like to travel and use Facebook.

    It is possible for you to use Facebook to match data with the data you already have. You will learn which of your subscribers will click through to Facebook.

    The image below brings together information gathered through different elements.

    This image is something that can be sent out through email or linked to from an email message. The final section could highlight different prizes your target audience gravitates to.

    You may discover you get a higher click rate on a campaign utilizing one social media platform over another.

    You may find those in a specific age group focus more on Facebook whereas another age group may focus more on Instagram. The third section could be altered to represent this further segmentation.

    As you learn from your data, the marketing is altered. You will find there is no one finite answer.

    That is the beauty of data-driven marketing! You are creating multiple marketing messages to reach out to a wide variety of groups. Each has its own successes and challenges. 

    This campaign was from a 2009 campaign when the Coolatta was launched by Dunkin Donuts, according to Mashable.

    It was designed based on data-driven marketing whereby women posted 347 pictures in the month of January. Men, on the other hand, posted 179 on average, according to eMarketer

    The result of this campaign was Dunkin Donuts went from 23,000 followers on Twitter to 43,000 followers. Nearly doubling followers from one marketing campaign is a pretty effective turnaround. 

    When it comes to email marketing, never hesitate to ask for feedback. When subscribers feel their voice matters, they are willing to speak up. The data provided in this manner is genuine because it is not tied to any incentives.

    Resist the urge to ask for feedback for every encounter. Limit this to occasional mass surveys as well as follow-ups to purchases. It helps you to learn how you can do better in the future.

    Starting Campaigns with Information on Trends Gained from Another

    The last thing you want to do is to start a campaign without any information.

    It is the equivalent of diving into water without first looking. While there is a chance of being successful, the greater likelihood is it will be a disaster.

    If you are starting from the ground up, you can still cull information before launching a marketing campaign. Take a second to think about PPC campaigns. The data these campaigns provide cost money, but they deliver results. 

    Even better, it is possible to pay attention to the results of campaigns other companies have launched to learn from their success.

    Looking into keywords for optimization is a strategy that has worked for many marketers. You identify which keywords people are looking.  Your message is created surrounding the keyword.

    In this example, we look at a marketing campaign from Rue Lala. This is an ad that was sent out through an email marketing campaign. It reintroduces a shoe made popular previously.

    Information gathered from the previous campaign was used to drive the message for this campaign.

    They were able to identify familiarity with the product. Rather than wasting a lot of effort to describe the shoe, they simply show it and provide important information about when it will be available. This is followed by a call to action. 

    Past purchase behavior was factored into the marketing campaign. This email provided Rue Lala with a unique way to tap into the preferences for purchases. The new campaign is created with simplicity and precision targeting.

    Even if you do not have any purchases to date, it does not stop you from gathering information.

    Learn about the people who typically engage with products or services like what you offer. Discover what marketing techniques they respond to. Develop a marketing strategy based on this.

    As you start to see results from one marketing campaign, the data received will help to create the foundation for the next. Always build on your successes and learn from your failures so you will not repeat them.

    Identify Goals and Successes with Small Steps

    A good marketing strategy is trying to do more than just sell. There needs to be a quantitative method for setting goals and verifying successes. One method that works well for this is called S.M.A.R.T., or:

    • Specific — set your goal for increasing revenue by 9% in the second quarter rather than just to increase revenue.
    • Measurable — goals should have a number that is easy to measure.
    • Achievable — in order for a goal to be effective, it must be within the realm of possibility. 
    • Relevant — if the goal does not directly benefit the company, it has no meaning.
    • Timely — put an end point by which the goal can effectively be met to measure your success.

    In this example, let’s look at Sephora. The email marketing ad below offers a discount for a short window of time.

    This gives a timeline in which they can identify whether their goal is successfully met. The time span of a week is small and easier to quantify in terms of marketing success.

    The message is filled with suggestions and a call to action. They provide the ability to use the email or to use a code to receive the 15% off.

    This way, it is possible to identify and quantify when the email has a direct effect on sales. The effect is putting the SMART method to complete use.

    There is a specific goal in mind for the sale with measurable numbers for the relevant increase in sales for a time span. This achievable goal was put into action by sending out this email to those who have purchased from Sephora in the past.

    Examples of how Sephora implements data driven personalized email marketing

    It is possible to utilize this type of marketing campaign on your own. Take a look at where you are in terms of revenue now.

    Now, look at where you would like to be and when you would like to be there. By taking a look at the past performance it is possible for you to evaluate whether this is an achievable goal.

    Set a timeline for your goal to be achieved and you are off to the races.

    It is always best when you can utilize a code or have a PPC campaign that tracks which marketing methods are having the best effect.

    This provides you with useful data you can build on.

    Final Thoughts

    As you have seen, data-driven marketing is a marathon, not a race. It takes time to build up your understanding of the people you are marketing to and how best to reach them. 

    Not every campaign is going to have the success you want for it to have. This in and of itself has value. It is important to never see a less than effective marketing campaign as a failure. See it as a part of the learning process. It is an investment you are making into the future.

    Always incorporate email marketing into any campaign you are launching. As mentioned above, it has the greatest chance of success. Make sure to link from your emails to social media, web pagesand videos. 

    Data-driven marketing is not only better at delivering results; it is also more cost-effective. In many cases, you will be earning money from one marketing campaign while learning the data needed for the next one. Taking a pause to analyze your data between each campaign offers you the best chance for your next campaign to be even more successful than the last.


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    Author bio:Michael Habiger is a content marketing specialist with over 6 years of experience, currently head of the marketing department at FollowUpFred. He is a marketing nerd and front-fighter for big data and automation.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is Data Driven Marketing?

    Data-driven marketing is a concept whereby you seek out data about those you seek to market to and subsequently utilize said data to market effectively. It is an information-driven marketing concept most effective in the modern era of marketing. Read the full guide for more details.

    How is data driven marketing helpful?

    Data-driven marketing allows marketers to identify what works and what doesn't, by crunching a lot of consumer data. This way they can optimize their efforts for best results. Check out our guide on this for more details.

    How to create a successful data-driven marketing campaign?

    For a successful campaign, you need to define your goals and target audience, prepare the right data, choose the correct marketing channels, and create effective content.