The Benefits of Using Past Data to Plan Out Future Marketing Campaigns

Posted by | April 13, 2016 | Marketing Automation | No Comments
The Benefits of Using Past Data to Plan Out Future Marketing Campaigns

It’s that time again! Your last campaign just wrapped up, and now you’re mapping out your next marketing campaign. Ask any marketer — they’ll agree that there’s nothing better than starting out with a clean slate. But despite working on an entirely new initiative, past campaigns shouldn’t ever be forgotten. Sure, if you’re just starting out (with no previous campaigns to your name), lots of experimentation is to be expected to see what works and what doesn’t. If, however, you have a sizable amount of work under your belt (or even a small amount of work), the data from those past campaigns can prove to be mighty helpful going forward.

Taking even just a brief look at the performance of previous campaigns can make all the difference. Working in the world of auto dealer digital marketing every day, I can attest this is true. Elements of a previous campaign that had high conversion rates could be replicated; and elements that didn’t perform well would be eliminated from your overall strategy. Here are some of the benefits to using past data for future marketing campaigns:

Developing Stronger Marketing Automation

One of the first benefits you’ll likely notice from checking out past marketing data is that you’ll get to develop a stronger marketing automation process. Let’s use Customer Lifecycle Marketing as an example. When first starting out, you’ll develop pretty standard lifecycle stages: Awareness, Attract, Convert, Onboard, etc. You know the stages each prospect has to go through in order to make a sale; but at this point, you’re unsure of what stages will prove “easiest to cross.”

As your campaigns roll along, you’ll create, promote and share content with prospects in different stages in the funnel. When those campaigns wrap up, you’ll likely discover from past reporting that prospects are consistently “stopping” or “slowing down” during certain stages of the lifecycle. Let’s say your prospects hit the “Attract” stage easily. However, they have a tendency to stall on downloading gated content, so they don’t move into the “Convert” stage. Since several reports (from past campaigns) indicate that this happens consistently, you can draw a few plausible conclusions — one of them being that your gated content isn’t relevant to prospects in that stage, or that it simply isn’t interesting. Data from past campaigns allows marketers to develop actionable goals that allow for future campaign improvement. If certain eGuides, webinars and tools aren’t working in one stage, you might be able to move them to another stage and develop relevant content for the stage you’re focusing on.

Writing Better Emails & Marketing Copy

Speaking of content, another benefit of leveraging past data is that it can help you write and design better emails, as well as write better social media copy. Although uninteresting and irrelevant gated content might be a major culprit for your prospects not moving forward, your prospects might just be ignoring or disregarding your emails and social media posts. Even if you’re positive that your eGuide or webinar is the best thing since sliced bread, your copy (and for that matter, your imagery) might not be catching their attention. Your copy might be too long-winded, or it might not convey the benefits in a concise fashion. Regardless of whatever is wrong with your marketing copy, past campaign data can help alleviate many of those issues going forward.

Assuming that your organization uses Customer Lifecycle Marketing, you can look back at past marketing emails and social media posts from the lifecycle stage that you’re currently struggling with. As you’re filtering through all those marketing emails and social media posts, find the ones with the most engagement, clicks and conversions. Next, separate the marketing emails and social posts that were considered unsuccessful. Once you’ve laid them out side-by-side, look for patterns in both the successful and unsuccessful sets of posts and emails. Are they using certain terms (Adjectives like “Amazing” are eye-catching)? How are your posts structured? You can take the elements of the successful posts and emails and continue to use them in that lifecycle stage going forward.

Better Understand Your Consumer Base

Now that we’ve covered the benefits to marketing automation and email/social media copy, it’s time to discuss what’s, arguably, the most important benefit of looking at past marketing data: learning more about your consumer base. Looking at each individual lifecycle stage of past marketing campaigns, you can get a really good idea of what prospects like, what they want, and naturally, what they need. Although looking at consumers on an individual basis requires filtering through your CRM, there’s a lot that past lifecycle information can reveal about your consumer base as a whole.

Here’s an example scenario of how past data can prove helpful: If you grab data from 2 different campaigns, you can compare the success of the two campaigns — assuming that both campaigns are targeting the same audience, of course. By comparing the 2 campaigns, you can draw educated conclusions based on the things that enticed them and deterred them. If your eGuide about “The Basics of Online Advertising” performed better than “Social Media Management,” you can probably assume that: A) they have an advertising budget and B) they’re not so much interested in long-term audience growth, as much as they’re interested in a quick return. That said, eGuides pertaining to long-term marketing strategies (Ex: SEO), aren’t going to interest your audience. As a matter of fact, they’re probably like an eGuide about reaching new prospects through multiple channels in order to get the quickest revenue.

The best news is, these 3 great benefits for looking at past marketing data don’t even begin to scratch the surface. As time goes on and your business continues to grow, you’ll discover more and more reasons to keep looking at statistics from past campaigns.

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Skip Lyford

Marketing Manager at PERQ
Skip Lyford is a Salesforce.com Certified Administrator & Marketing Manager at PERQ, an engagement technology company that provides solutions that connect consumers to brands. With over a decade of marketing expertise and 8+ years working with CRM systems, Skip helps facilitate PERQ’s lead generation, lead management and marketing automation efforts.
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