Marketers are always looking for ways to drive engagement with their customers. In the current era of big data - with more data generated in the past two years than in the entire span of human history before that - brands can leverage a vast array of information on their target audiences to deliver personalized experiences and build meaningful relationships.
However, many businesses are struggling to do this. There may be a world of data out there, but that doesn't mean it's easy to gain the insights you need and put them to practical use. In fact, the sheer amount of information now available can make it harder to get results from your data gathering and analysis.
Finding analytics solutions that work for you can make a huge difference to your marketing and engagement efforts by helping you do something that resonates with your customers: telling a compelling brand story.
Marketers often cite gaining and maintaining engagement with customers as one of the biggest challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.
Research by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has suggested that one of the reasons for this is the growing consumer mistrust in organizations - especially tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter - to use their data responsibly.
This can present a problem for marketers working to better understand their customers and to make positive, emotional connections with people, particularly in digital channels.
According to Jessica Graeser, director of marketing at Signal, there are four common challenges that hamper brands' efforts to turn data into positive customer outcomes:
- Organizational inefficiencies
- Skills gaps
- Outdated technology
- Lack of real-time capabilities
One of the biggest advantages you can expect to gain from getting a handle on your data and making sense of it through analytics is the ability to tell a stronger brand story.
The power of data-driven storytelling
Storytelling has become an increasingly important part of the marketing landscape in recent years as brands have looked for new and more effective ways to distinguish themselves from the competition and make a lasting impression on their audiences.
The ability to tell a story allows you to move beyond the fundamentals of your product or service and talk about deeper issues, often connected to emotions, ideas and your brand's underlying principles. This is evident in the success of companies like Nike, which has steadily built its brand with marketing campaigns that explore themes such as aspiration and overcoming adversity.
Data is a fundamental part of effective brand storytelling, because it's through data that you can build an in-depth understanding of your customers and identify the topics and messages that will resonate with them.
Furthermore, collecting and analyzing data on audience behavior will give you a clearer picture of your customers' common pain points, the questions they have and their expectations. Armed with these insights, you can increase the effectiveness of your storytelling by making it contextual and relevant to your prospective buyers.
Some brands have even taken the approach of making customer data a central part of their marketing. Airbnb, Spotify and Google have all created content that uses data to capture people's interest by telling a story.
Understanding digital body language
Another way to utilize data to better understand your customers and deliver a more personalized, relevant experience is by studying digital body language.
This refers to the behavioral and psychological indicators that users display across various touchpoints they use to interact with your brand. Analyzing this data will give you a more nuanced and accurate view of your customers' priorities, motivations and feelings at various points along their purchasing journey.
You can create a picture of an individual's digital body language by collecting and analyzing data like:
- Email communications they've signed up for
- Interactions on social media
- Visits to particular pages on your site
- Content they've viewed
Getting to grips with digital body language can help you extend your existing personalization efforts, enabling you to make relevant, real-time interventions and tailor your messaging to truly engage with your customers.
This level of understanding is particularly valuable in the wider context of brand storytelling, since a more detailed view of your audience will make it easier for you to construct a narrative that cuts through the noise and connects with people.