“Measurement is what makes marketing a science rather than a superstition.”

So says Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBloom. It’s no secret that proving marketing ROI is a top priority for marketers, as the role of data and analytics gains more importance. Despite this, according to recent statistics from HubSpot, over 40% of marketers cite proving ROI on their marketing activities as one of their biggest challenges.

So how can data help marketers make ROI a reality and drive creativity that delivers?

Start by outlining clear objectives.

Be specific about what your campaign aims to achieve. Are you trying to improve SEO rankings? Lengthen the average time spent on your website? Drive lead generation? Build brand awareness..?

Be clear about your goals. Only then will you know exactly what data you need when it comes to to measuring ROI.

Understand which data will provide the answers you need.

A number of marketing KPIs can be measured using first party data including email open rates from or leads generated.

But for a more in-depth picture – to understand how your display ads have impacted your brand metrics, for example, or which digital advertising impressions are reaching your target audience segments – you may need to work with a third party.

Getting more granular in this way will give you better access to the answers you need.

Identify which channels are delivering the results.

The consumer journey is complex, and understanding exactly what role your investment in search, display or content marketing has played in a conversion isn’t easy.

But this knowledge is crucial if you’re to understand which channels you should be investing in.

Marketing attribution helps to tackle this, allowing marketers to see which combination of events in which particular order have prompted individuals to engage with their brand, or to convert.

There are numerous attribution models out there – from assigning different percentages to the first and last interaction, to rewarding the touchpoints closest to conversion in terms of time – but all of these rely on accurate marketing analytics data.

Combining first and third party data can show you where channels overlap, and where more than one channel has played a role in conversion.

Use audience profiling data to inspire creative relevance.

“If we have new or existing personas to create for clients, we need a structure to build real insights behind them,” says David Preece, Senior Strategist at marketing and communications agency, Brilliant Noise.

“The data also gives us the quantitative proof behind our work, which allows us to make that case for strategic and creative solutions for clients.”

Putting the customer first relies on accessing strong data that enables brands to profile audiences effectively. Attitudinal and behavioral data, for example, can provide insights that inspire creative teams, or help them to support or tighten up campaign concepts. This ensures greater relevance to specific markets and target groups.

Our latest audience report profiling Generation Z consumers, for example, shows that they spend an average of one hour and eleven minutes watching online forms of TV – eleven minutes longer than the average internet user. This insight could not only help to identify which channels to invest in, but inspire creative ideas that play to the strengths of that medium.

As Preece says, “Data that points to a specific action or habit is really useful as these are valuable insights for clients.”

Use data to personalize and localize campaigns.

Putting data at the heart of a campaign to make it highly relevant to a specific town, city or region can make a significant difference with your intended audience – helping you to get more personalized.

Late last year, Spotify combined its own music-related data with Out Of Home advertising, displaying regionally-focused ads on billboards around the world.

In the UK, one poster tapped into the widespread disharmony following the EU referendum with “Dear 3,749 people who streamed ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It’ the day of the Brexit Vote. Hang in There.” 

One hyper-local poster in New York also read: “Dear person in the Theater District who listened to the Hamilton soundtrack 5376 times this year. Can you get us tickets?”

As Spotify CMO Seth Farbman told Creativity:

“There has been some debate about whether big data is muting creativity in marketing, but we have turned that on its head. For us, data inspires and gives an insight into the emotion that people are expressing.”

Find out what motivates people by building empathy.

“What marketers need to do in 2017 is to access data that actually tells them about the audiences they are interested in,” says Martin Adams, Co-founder and CEO, Codec.

Marketers need to move beyond intent-based data, such as driving e-commerce transactions, for example, towards building empathy to find out what particular audiences really care about.

There’s a wealth of data available on consumer perceptions, behaviors and attitudes – from how a specific brand’s customers behave on Instagram, for example, to why a certain age group uses ad-blocking software.

Today’s data gives brands the tools to drive meaningful creativity that delivers results.

Subscribe to blog

You’ve read our blog, now see our platform

Every business has questions about its audiences, GWI has answers. Powered by consistent, global research, our platform is an on-demand window into their world.