“How would you help us to increase our focus on data-driven marketing and our customer communication?”

 “Do you do workshop facilitation?”

“Can you help us prioritise our data for marketing purposes?”

These are just some of the opening questions that clients have asked when discussing the need to transform their data-driven marketing approach.

So for this post, I thought I’d outline the 10 steps that I work through in assisting clients.

Hopefully these steps will provide you with a clearer roadmap to identify watch-outs and help prioritise opportunities.

1) Growth starts from within

The first stage is understanding how the business has got to the point that it has.

Hence, it’s important to identify the current state of play in terms of business strategy, how marketing is defined, what communication approaches have been and are currently being used, and ultimately what capability and level of processes are in place to operationalise the activity (ie: team capability, technologies, platforms, data being captured, where the data is being stored, levels of permission, how data flows between systems, and how activity is measured, optimised and reported on).

But it’s not all about the data at this stage.

It’s more about understanding what foundation marketing has been built on. And what level of internal efficiency and alignment has been achieved between staff and processes.

And more often than not, it’s the realisation that band-aids, work-arounds, sub-optimal, and optimal activity is occurring.

2) Business growth objectives

Then it’s about identifying where the business is going, what the management team wants to achieve, and how it has differentiating itself from the competition.

In today’s hyper fast business world, business growth can only really be achieved by top line growth (revenue growth by selling more), or bottom line growth (improving net profits for example by reducing expenses or working smarter). But of course, there are a myriad of ways of going about achieving these objectives.

For marketers, it’s about mapping strategies to help deliver on these objectives.

3) Human objectives

Equally important are the human objectives.

Successful businesses have realised that growth starts from within – from people, practices, solutions and connections.

Modern workplaces are building new behaviours around authenticity and transparency, and are harnessing a greater understanding of brain patterns to build a more empowered work culture. Creating more human leadership.

This is summed up in a process that I call ‘behaviour commitments’. This helps identify the culture that exists within and across marketing teams.

4) Inside out marketing strategy

Now if I had a dollar for every post that mentions CX, then I’d happily share the wealth with you.

But when it comes to customer experience, I start by mapping the internal marketing journey, through to the B2B journey, through to the end customer or consumer journey, as well as decision-making influencer journey.

This allows a clear picture to be identified of any pitfalls and road blocks, plus identifying opportunity areas for demonstrable change.

I then facilitate a process that helps identify the inside out approach to marketing strategy. This involves identifying the foundational mission (what’s wrong with the world), vision (what success looks like) and purpose (how a business delivers on the need), along with the values and personality that creates a business’ unique culture.

5) Employee social success framework

This is a step that many businesses miss. It’s a chance to harness the power of employees for marketing, rather than focussing continually on external media (paid, owned or earned).

The process involves using employee data and people analytics to help identify the employees that can assist in social advocacy. Clients are often surprised at how much data exists within their business that isn’t being harnessed for marketing purposes.

I look for data and insights though staff reviews, staff assessments, scoring programs, feedback loops, social networks, social interaction analysis, and learning and development training. And have recently added a layer of leadership neuroscience to identify differentiated levels of self-leadership and staff potential.

6) Creating authentic human change

When it comes to developing transformational brand, nurturing, acquisition, onboarding, loyalty or advocacy strategies, I believe it’s critical to focus on behavioural change.

This helps turn data-driven marketing into human-change marketing by identifying the behaviours and habits that need changing. This gives a far greater level of authenticity to marketing than simply talking about data. Data in itself is merely the representation of a behaviour that has occurred.

At this stage I help facilitate workshops to prioritise variables that identify consumer segments, clusters and behaviours.

As well as help teams identify, and answer, the most critical questions that occur throughout a decision-making journey from discovering, delving, deciding and enjoying a product or service.

7) Harnessing technology and systems

As technology starts to rule our world, this has been the standard starting place for data-driven marketing discussions.

Clients have requested that I look at their approach to automation and targeting, assess the level of utilisation of a technology (like Salesforce, Adobe, and social and collaboration tools, amongst many others).

However, when we reach this discussion at stage 7, conversation shifts to determining the level of data-driven maturity within an organisation along with external tech vendors or agency partners where used).

Some people call this crawl, walk, run scenarios.

I tend to focus on a ‘ladder of learning’ with 4 stages. It’s based on the well-known Conscious Competence Matrix.

  • Level 4 (lowest level of maturity): unconsciously unskilled. This is the old saying ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. The comparison of your current state, as outlined above, is compared to where you want to go as a business and gaps are identified.
  • Level 3: consciously unskilled. This is where you focus transformation efforts around the prioritised areas to close the gaps identified.
  • Level 2: consciously skilled. This is where you have the systems and skills in place. In essence, you’re applying the new data-driven marketing approach, testing, learning, and knowledge-sharing back across the marketing teams and wider business.
  • Level 1 (highest level of maturity): unconsciously skilled. This is where you are achieving mastery. Performing data-driven marketing activity becomes effortless in terms of the people, processes and technologies utilised. And continuous learning becomes a cornerstone of success.

Clients have Iiked this methodology because it brings an emotional dimension to the utilisation of technology and the overall transformation process as marketing teams evolve their level of data-driven marketing maturity.

8) Identifying the success factors

Success factors (KPIs) need to underpin your transformation effort. Most of my work is focussed around firstly identifying all the success factors currently being reported on. And then prioritising them in order of importance.

Once this has been done, they can be mapped back to the overarching objectives.

This sounds simple, but I’m constantly amazed at how most marketers are drowning in a sea of stats and reports across their teams.

I wonder how many KPIs your team has? 25, 50, 100, more?

9) Establishing unified KPIs

Once the KPIs are prioritised, then we step back and identify which ones can be shared across teams.

Unifying success measures is one of the greatest opportunities for marketers to not only achieve obvious alignment, but to actually deliver efficient and effective outcomes.

10) Return on investment

And lastly, I assist in projecting the return on investment calculations.

Do you have a return on your technology investment?

Do you have a return on your data-driven marketing investment?

Do you have a return on your customer communication investment?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above, then maybe we should have an initial conversation.

It’s not rocket science. But with a bit of science it can all be worked through relatively quickly and painlessly to achieve greater clarity, identify the watch-outs, and help prioritise the opportunities for better data-driven marketing.

Drop me a direct message if you like to discuss