If you’re a forward-thinking brand, you know your success relies on how you collect and use customer analytics—the data you collect about your customers. But what most brands don’t know (or find out too late) is they’re draining massive amounts of time, money, and effort gathering and acting on the wrong data. And—like a brain surgeon trying to operate on a patient using the wrong person’s medical charts—that can be dangerous.

In last week’s post, 3 Tips for Digital Marketing Success: Understanding Data and Your Customers, we showed you how the survival of your brand hinges on your ability to evolve with your customers and their ever-changing digital behavior.

Which, if you’re like most brands, is evolving faster than a bullet train on steroids.

All this rapid change might seem overwhelming to constantly keep up with. But the honest truth is—there’s absolutely nothing to worry about when you know the right stuff!

As Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director of Econsultancy, explained: “Digital technology and changing consumer behavior have created a near infinite number of opportunities for marketers to reach and engage with customers, while also creating a whole host of new problems for marketing teams to wrestle with.”

See, when you spend your time getting straight on the right data—and stop wasting resources on metrics that won’t help you—it gives you an enormous advantage (along with daisy-chains of amazing insights) that will help you connect with customers and make generous contributions to your bottom line.

Where most brands get stuck is figuring out what data will give them these insights. So they capture as much as they can. And that’s a mistake. It’s entirely within your control to identify which data is most important before collecting it—to “trim the fat” and focus on what matters.

So what data do you actually need to be a step ahead of any sudden curve ball new technology hurls at you? How do you use data to ALWAYS meet and engage with your customers at the most relevant “digital level” they’re connecting at?

We’ll answer these questions by diving into the three biggest, newest mistakes brands are making with data—the ones that cost them big bucks and lackluster results—and what you can do instead to engross, immerse, and enrapture customers for added profits to your brand.

Mistake #1: Not Getting Value from Data

Collecting detailed data with a thousand different methods, platforms, and resources means absolutely nothing if you don’t know how to make it meaningful.

When you’re staring at those raw numbers and statistics in your spreadsheet or graph—how do you go about turning them into valuable insights about your market? Then, how do you turn those insights into compelling content that will engage and develop a connection inside the head and heart of the human staring back at their device?

Your customer’s journey exists across many channels and devices. Your brand needs to have a singular view connecting all of them. So start with the end in mind—the result you’re trying to achieve—and work backwards. That will help you determine what kind of data has the most value to you. (More on this below.)

Mistake #2: Internal Misalignment

Brands today are often misaligned internally on which goals are most important and how to best attack those goals. What results is a bunch of people working to achieve different things, with different data.

In order for your brand to have a competitive edge, you need to have a hierarchy of overarching goals and strategies to achieve them.

Base those goals on the most relevant data according to the tips at the end of this article. Make sure every single employee is clear on those goals from the top down.

Then make sure everyone’s actions come together to match the goals and strategies you set— and they’re all on the same page communicating with each other about it.

Mistake #3: Drowning in Data

Brands often splurge on all kinds of different software technologies that require never-ending on-boarding processes and colossal expenses…

Or maybe they’ll pour gobs of money into big teams with many data scientists to aggregate all the data…

…but by the time that report is complete, customers have already come and gone and the data is irrelevant. It took too long.

Next time, instead of doing that, just tell your team they all get a month’s paid vacation. Then walk into your bathroom, take a few stacks of $100-dollar-bills, and start ripping them into little pieces and putting them into the toilet. Then flush.

You’ll get the same results. And maybe your team will come back better-rested with more productivity.

Listen—if you’ve made this mistake, it isn’t your fault. Brands lack reporting done in real time. Reporting that’s understandable and provides immediately actionable insights on what’s happening RIGHT NOW.

You don’t need to be drowning in data or even forking over a ton of money to get the highest-value insights that bring your business the best results. You need the RIGHT data.

So How Do You Avoid these Mistakes & What Should You Do Instead?

With the right plan, you can avoid all three of the above biggest mistakes and focus on the data that actually matters.

That way, you’ll have brilliant customer engagement, grow, and be happy—all while your competitors are still wasting money on irrelevant data, being misaligned, and not knowing why their market share is dropping.

Tip #1: Give Your Digital Marketing PURPOSE!

As mentioned above, setting goals is imperative to align your company’s actions—especially for digital marketing. Brands who set the right data-driven goals and pay special attention them will win.

The right digital marketing data gives you concrete feedback on whether what you’re doing is working. No grey areas, no guessing. That will allow you to adjust your strategies to constantly get better and grow—both now and in the future. It gives your digital marketing a purpose.

What Goals Should You Set?

  1. Percentage of leads converted into paying customers
  2. Increasing the LTV (lifetime value) of your customers
  3. Winning back inactive and lost customers.

Your most profitable goals will center around increasing your number of paying customers, increasing the number of transactions per customer, and increasing the value of each transaction.

Tip #2: Data Detective Work

If you’re a brain surgeon looking at someone’s medical charts before an operation, I don’t have to tell you it pays to make sure you have the right person’s charts. That way you don’t cut open someone’s brain just to find out the tumor is on the other side of their head.

But if you’re using the wrong data, you’re doing something similar to that in your business. (Only you won’t get a medical malpractice suit for it. You’ll get undesirable results. Which is still pretty frustrating.)

So like we said above—start with the end in mind. Then do some detective work to figure out what data is most relevant.

If converting leads is your main goal, then measuring how much money you’re spending on each channel and comparing it with your conversion success rates is absolutely vital.

By knowing what data you need to collect, you can reframe your thinking to a “less is more” approach—you’ll stop wasting time, money, and resources on data that doesn’t matter. You’ll find the 20% of data that gets you 80% of results. You may even find the 5% of data that gets you 95% of results.

That’s like moving the fulcrum of a lever over so your actions get you more results for less effort. Win! That’s when your company grows much faster, in much less time.

You’ll be 10 steps ahead of your competitors who don’t know which data to focus on, so you can use the extra time to grow even more—and leave them in the dust.

…Or maybe you’ll want to use the extra time for those ballroom dancing or improv lessons you’ve been putting off. Choice is yours.

Tip #3: Measure Results & Adapt

Marketers are essentially the sales force in companies responsible for revenue. So you can be the super hero in your organization by measuring your results, recognizing what works best, and most importantly, ADAPTING.

Charles Darwin

After you’ve committed to your goals and determined which data will tell you whether you’ve met them, simply keep measuring that data and adapting your methods to what works, while throwing out what doesn’t.

The right data will help you zero in on the most effective actions for your goals. So do more of those actions and keep trying new stuff. But let your data be the guide, to tell you what works best.

When you keep iterating on this with the right data, you’ll maximize your precious time, effort, energy to directly grow your bottom line.

Once you have proof (i.e., the solid data) that you accomplished this amazing feat, you can ask for a pay increase.

Then throw a party to celebrate your pay increase, and invite us.

We’re cool, I promise. We’ll bring wine.