When you’ve got an important decision to make, there’s an old saying:
"Go with your gut."
Now, this advice is perfect for choosing movies, restaurants, and life partners. But when it comes to making decisions about your business…
It’s probably best to stick with the data.
In fact, companies that use data-driven marketing strategies have a huge advantage over their competition. And, those companies are six times more likely to be profitable year-after-year.
It’s no wonder why 20% of the $1.3 trillion spent annually on marketing is allocated toward collecting and using data to reach customers. But that leads to an interesting question:
If collecting and understanding data about your clients yields so many tangible benefits, why aren’t all companies doing it?
The answer is simple: It usually takes a lot of time.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to. So, in this article, I’m going to cover:
- What is data-driven marketing?
- Why data-driven marketing is necessary for running a business?
- How to choose between three companies who gather your data and make detailed marketing reports so you don’t have to?
My goal for this article is to simply get you thinking about why you’re making marketing decisions and how you can make them better. Let’s dive in!
Data-driven marketing is a term that has been getting a lot more attention lately, and for good reason. That said, the definition of data-driven marketing tends to become over complicated which is a shame because, at its core, it’s incredibly simple:
Collecting and analyzing data to make better marketing decisions.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to it than that when put into practice, but at a theoretical level, this definition is spot on.
When you have precise metrics on your audience and what they respond to, you’re able to identify trends and make predictions about future behaviors to increase your revenue.
Like I said, it’s not too complicated.
Let’s look at just one example of how data-driven marketing works in the real world:
DirectTV is a popular television provider in the U.S., but they certainly aren’t the only ones. They have some competition. And the problem with this business (installing satellite television) is that once someone chooses your competitor, they’re much less likely to switch over to you.
Why? Because it’s a huge hassle.
You have to call the service provider, set up an appointment, have someone come out to your home, hope they’re on time (they never are), pay a fee to cancel your old contract, and… well… you get the idea.
DirectTV decided to start using another tactic to find new customers. They took some USPS data and looked for people who had recently gone through the process of changing their address.
Once they had this information, they were able to create personalized campaigns to target homeowners in the process of moving because they’d have to go through the hassle described above anyway if they wanted satellite TV.
Guess what happened after DirectTV shaped their strategy from that small amount of USPS data? They saw a "double-digit increase in conversion rate."
And they aren’t the only ones. In fact, a simple Google search will quickly take you to 6 incredible real-life examples of data-driven marketing (it’s a killer article, by the way).
Before we get to our review, let’s take a minute to look at why data-driven marketing has been upgraded from a luxury to a necessity when it comes to your marketing strategy.
a successful business
The cool thing about technology is that it’s always changing. But here’s the tough part about technology:
It’s always changing.
Think about it. When Facebook first hit the scene back in 2004, it was just a goofy little platform for college kids to keep in touch. No one could have predicted how large an impact it would have on the business world.
If you’re trying to reach clients in 2020 and Facebook isn’t a part of your strategy, you’re likely leaving tons of money on the table.
But that’s not all.
Today you also need to have Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok (ok, truth be told, you really don’t need that last one...yet). The point is that these technologies started as one thing (entertainment) and evolved into integral marketing tools almost overnight.
And who saw the most benefits from that change? Early adopters.
It was the same with smartphones; it was the same with email; it was even the same with sticks and stones. Technology moves tools forward, and it’s the people who learn to use them most effectively who see the best results.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Data-driven marketing is not a new concept. Far from it. What IS new, however, is how data-driven marketing is done.
Every day, analytical tools are getting sharper, faster, and more precise.
The great thing about this is that it allows smart marketers to do a better job and increase their company’s profits. The hard part, though, is that it can be hard to keep up.
Knowing what data is essential, how to gather data from different platforms, and figuring out what any of it means is the tricky part.
Large companies have entire departments dedicated to this type of work. But what about the small/medium-sized companies? How can they use data effectively to make decisions that are just as precise as the big guys?
Many of them rely on 3rd party companies who specialize in creating marketing reports. In other words, they turn to services that will spend time creating valuable reports on their data so they can spend time running their business.
In this article, let’s turn our attention to three such companies and look at their advantages, drawbacks, and pricing.
DashThis is one of the larger Marketing Reporting tools on the market. They have an easily accessible dashboard that creates automated marketing reports depending on your needs.
They even segment your needs on their homepage as they get you started depending on what type of business you’re in (marketing team, marketing agency, small business, freelancer, etc.).
They have loads of helpful integrations so you can gather all the metrics you need in one convenient location. That means you can gather reports from Google Analytics, Social Media, PPC Ads, SEO, Google My Business, and so on.
- A large company with a lot of options to choose from when it comes to collecting the data that you need.
- Reports can be exported to a PDF to be shared with the company or during presentations.
- The benefit of DashThis is also its drawback: Many of its options would be overkill for small/medium-sized businesses, but pricing doesn’t change depending on which ones you need.
- All the reports are located on the site’s dashboard and are not, to my knowledge, able to be emailed directly to the client without using a separate PDF attachment or link to a web page.
- There are no features to set up quick-response alerts for when data shows some problem or issue.
Price: Pricing ranges from $40/month for individuals to $600/month for enterprises with a few options in between. The price drops to $33/month and $500/month (respectively) if you take the annual subscription.
Here is a breakdown of their pricing and features.
AgencyAnalytics is another big player in this space. They have over 40 integrations, a customizable dashboard, and some cool SEO tools. You also have the ability to send reports to clients via email in a PDF format.
I am impressed with the number of their integrations, and they seem to have struck the balance between keeping things simple while also offering an extensive amount of tools.
- Lots of integrations
- Has some cool SEO capabilities included in their pricing plan
- Packages are somewhat limited. If you don’t need SEO or Site Page Audits, you’ll still be paying for them
- Related to the last point, most of the features offered would be over kill for small/medium-sized business
- Like DashThis (again, as far as I know) there are no features to set up quick-response alerts for when data shows some problem or issue
Price: A "Freelance" account starts at $49/month and moves toward the largest package at $400/month. Annual subscriptions bring those down to $39/month and $319/month, respectively.
Here is a breakdown of their pricing and what is included in the packages.
Obviously, I’m a bit biased here. I built Metrics Watch because it was the kind of product I would want to use. That said, I will try to be as objective as possible.
Metrics Watch works in the same manner as both DashThis and AgencyAnalytics in terms of reports. We have some great integrations for all of your needs (Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram… all the usual suspects) but we send them via email.
I like the idea of a dashboard, but felt like it was simpler to send my client’s information directly to them. Plus, it would allow my clients to customize their email presentation so the brand Metrics Watch doesn’t need to appear at all. That way, if my clients share their results with colleagues, I don’t feel like I’m hijacking their brand.
Finally, I’ve worked to strike the perfect balance between price and features for small/medium-sized businesses. The goal is to get people the data they need, when they need it, directly in my clients’ inbox with ZERO redirects or PDF attachments.
- The reports are emailed, and the data is in the body of the email; it's not a PDF or a link to some web page
- We can tie in the process of marketers and they can receive a preview, add a message/note and then (and only then) send it to their client
- Reports include most major integrations with more coming
- Alert system to quickly stop any major problems with your site
- Customer support is personal, and I take a lot of pride in speaking with my clients (and potential clients) in person via chat and/or video
- Pricing is more competitive
- We are continually adding integration. While we have most of the major players, we’ll be adding more soon. Here is a full list of our integrations for Reports.
- Customer support is personalized, but we have a much smaller team. Sometimes it can take a couple of hours to respond to general inquiries.
Price: This needs to be broken down into two categories:
i) Reports: Our Reports packages range from $29/month for our starter package and $100/month for the premium plan (we also have enterprise plans with more reports and an API to create reports. If you sign up for the yearly subscription, you get two months free (dropping the monthly fee down to $24,17)
ii) Alerts: Our real-time Google Analytics Alerts packages are priced at around the same as our Reports. Smaller plans start at $29/month and top out at $225/month (which includes SMS alerts with faster real-time checking). Again, yearly subscriptions can be purchased which gives you two months free!
Honestly, all three of these companies have their good and their bad. What’s important, though, is that you start making your marketing decisions from data, not your "gut."
So no matter which marketing report tool you finally decide to go with, I certainly hope this article inspired you to improve your data-driven marketing efforts.
If you have any questions, you can contact me at [email protected] or sign up for a live demo (I’m not big on sharing the pre-recorded stuff because it doesn’t allow me to address your unique questions!).
Finally, if you liked this article, feel free to pass it along to anyone you think would find it valuable. I’m always here to help and super appreciative of anyone who takes the time to read about how to improve their marketing flow!