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Small Businesses Need to Balance Data and Instinct

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Small Businesses Need to Balance Data and Instinct

Data can come in many different forms, such as numbers, trends, profiles, and statistics.

But in its raw form, it’s not an actionable insight. The insight comes from the interpretation of that data.

For example, if a business sells skin cream and has data showing a growing percentage of customers are women, then this is valuable information. But the business would need to ask:

“How can this knowledge be utilised in a marketing campaign to produce the best results?”

With that being said, it’s important to be aware that some successful businesses like Apple have created effective marketing campaigns without data, meaning that marketing can be effective both with or without data.

And this is something every business owner or startup should be aware of because data is valuable, but sometimes instinct can be just as incredibly powerful in this new modern era.

Marketing campaigns without data.

Before the rise of modern data analysis tools, marketers ran successful marketing campaigns without data.

Given this, the following are some ideas of how marketing campaigns can be run successfully without the use of data:

  • Small scale businesses – If your business is small, you might talk to customers all the time and have a clear sense of what customers want and how their preferences are changing. This means you can market to them without having hard data.
  • Data isn’t essential to all businesses – Data isn’t vital to some types of businesses. For example, if you’re a specialist and you manufacture one product to a fixed group of buyers, you don’t need to be constantly checking on trends and customer preferences.
  • No growth goals – If you have no plans to expand your business and your customer base, you could probably market without data.
  • Strong product instinct – You might have a strong gut instinct for what works in your market. A great example is Steve Jobs, who seemed to have a sixth sense for what customers wanted.

You can still implement successful marketing without data, but it’s less common in today’s environment and could potentially be risky.

The role of data in marketing campaigns.

The ideal role for data in your marketing campaigns is to build insights that shape your marketing strategies. Every business should use data to track and test marketing campaigns to accurately profile and define their audience. This is particularly important if your competitors are already using data to build their campaigns.

However, as mentioned previously, raw data itself isn’t enough. That’s why it is always a good idea to segment customer data.

For example, if a Small Business creates an email automation sequence, it should be personalised, relatable, relevant and segmented into different audience groups. As a result, this will allow your business to amass meaningful data that can be then used to create automated triggers in email campaigns. This will boost engagement, sales, and lead nurturing.

Insights that come from working the data can help you build a superior user experience, greater personalisation, on-point buyer personas, and better content. Doing the work can also pave the way to more marketing opportunities and meeting your audience where they are.

Balancing data and instinct.

Valuable insights can come from any source, and a successful marketing campaign is rooted in understanding the humans you’re selling to, so you need to be able to interpret data and also apply qualitative abilities.

These qualitative abilities include understanding and triggering human emotions, knowing what a customer wants, and even occasionally having the gut instinct to go against data.

The best marketers understand the importance of data and have the ‘creative ability’ to know when and how to best use it.

Data analytics is ubiquitous in the marketing world, but as we’ve seen, there are situations when marketers can still succeed without data.

While data is most probably a vital element in your marketing campaigns, it’s important to recognise your creativity and gut instinct; the qualitative skills are just as critical.

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