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How to Use Big Data to Develop a Marketing Plan

By Jenna Bruce on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 @ 10:00 AM |


If you’re like most business owners you’re probably always thinking of different ways you can get ahead of the competition. Well, a study by McKinsey & Company found that organizations with more advanced marketing capabilities achieve revenue growth 30% greater than their peers.

Now you might be wondering what exactly constitutes “advanced marketing capabilities.” For that answer we’ll turn to another study, this one conducted by Bain & Company, which found that those companies who jumped on the big data analytics bandwagon early have gained a significant lead over their competition.

This doesn’t mean that all hope is lost if you weren’t one of those early adopters. It simply means that now is the time to get with the program and begin making big data work for you. And it’s not as complicated as it seems.Business graph with arrow showing profits and gains

In this blog post we’ll look at the different ways you can collect data, and then exactly how you can use it to develop a marketing plan.

Where to Find it

In order to gather intelligence, you’ve got to consider everything a possible resource. During analysis you can drill down to specifics, but in the beginning, you simply want to collect any- and everything you believe can give you insights on how to better reach your business goals.

There are internal sources of data, such as transaction and machine log data. There are also external data sources such as social media stats and business aps. Start digging.

Connect the Dots

Once you’ve gathered your data, it’s time to study it. You can either use automated tools like Google Analytics to help you make sense of your data, or, if you work with a media planner, they can help you extract actionable insights from it.

One of the most important things to do is to separate your data into types. This will help you eventually develop your marketing plan.

What do I mean by types?

Customer behavior is a type of data, but it is not the only type. There is also simple demographic information, income levels, age, hobbies, etc.

Go through your data and parcel out all of the different bits of information. Once you have it all categorized, it’s time to begin looking at developing your marketing plan.

Create a Data-Driven Culture

A marketing plan can only be as good as the team members behind it. For best results, create a data-driven culture where intelligence is easily shared between all business units. Get management on board and encourage a strategic approach for data to be adopted across your organization.

Pay special attention to the synergy between your IT and marketing departments. Break down any silos to allow the connection of critical touchpoints. A strategic partnership between your IT and marketing departments should be a priority.

Be Specific

Marketing is a lot like baking. If you want to bake a loaf of bread, you first gather all of your ingredients, then carefully measure them out, mix them just so and bake for a very specific amount of time. If you simply wing it, you’ll end up with something inedible.

Now that you’ve gathered your data and separated it into specific actionable insights, you’ve got to be specific with your end goals, or you’re apt to end up with something unappealing.

What do you want your campaign to do? Increase revenue, brand recognition, retention, or equity?

If you want brand recognition, use your data to uncover the best channels and times of day to reach prospects. Where do they hang out? When will they be the most receptive to your message?

Be very specific with your overall objectives and only write down SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals.

Identify KPIs

How will you know if your campaign was a success or utter failure? What will you measure and how will you do it? If launching an integrated marketing campaign, create an evaluation plan that will identify and measure all channels in both short- and long-term.

Analyze and Adjust

Once you start leveraging data, you soon realize you’ll never stop gathering or analyzing it. You’ve gathered data and used it to create a strategy as well as relevant content for your audience and select the channels with which to share this content. Now you’ve got to put those KPIs to work to gather some more data and see if your overall marketing plan worked. If not, make adjustments (new channels, new landing pages, new time sending out emails, etc) and analyze… rinse and repeat.

Scale up

Once you get your campaign settings just right, you can scale up operations and invest more money. When you understand what works and what doesn’t, it’s much easier to make marketing decisions that will result in greater ROI. You won’t get to this understanding without big data.


While the process of gathering, analyzing, and using data to create an effective marketing plan isn’t as complicated as some people first assume, it can be incredibly time consuming. No one knows your business or objectives as well as you do, but hiring a media planner to collect, organize and leverage data can be your ace in the hole.

If you’d like help making sense of big data, get in touch with us today.

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