6 types of data to build your digital marketing foundation

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Written by: Gabrielle Perham
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As a marketing professional, you know that the crux of your organization’s digital marketing strategy is forming authentic relationships with your audience. When you take the time to get to know your consumer base and appeal to their preferences, you’re rewarded with the prize of higher customer loyalty. 

But how can you get to know your customers better when you’re just getting your digital marketing strategy underway? The key to fostering better customer relationships is data. 

Data refers to any informational points you gather about your audience that tell you more about who these individuals are, what they do, and what they want. Data marketing is the process of using quantifiable information to develop a targeted marketing strategy based on what you already know to be true.

If you’ve never tackled data-driven marketing before, it might sound intimidating. But the truth is, if you’ve already established your online identity and digital presence, you’re already collecting data. Every customer interaction you have yields valuable information that you can use to strengthen future strategies. 

Here at AccuData Integrated Marketing, we equip brands, agencies, and data resellers with the data marketing tools and practices they need to understand their target audience better. Through this work, we’ve identified data points that provide the framework for a comprehensive marketing strategy. In this quick guide, we’ll explore six different types of data on which to build your digital marketing foundation:

  1. Demographic data
  2. Customer contact information
  3. IP address information
  4. Firmographic data
  5. Website analytics
  6. Propensity data

Keep in mind that you may not want to use every type of data on this list. On the other hand, you may be interested in tracking additional information. You’ll have to examine your organization’s goals to determine which pieces of information are most relevant to your ambitions. However, if you’re starting from scratch, these figures provide a good starting point. 

1. Demographic data

Demographic data provides a fuller picture of who your audience members are as individuals. It includes information such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Level of education
  • Marital status
  • Presence of children in the home

This demographic information allows you to craft marketing messages that are personalized to your audience. You can tailor your brand messaging to better capture their attention. 

For example, let’s say you’re a dance studio marketer. You’re looking to connect with families in the area that have children ages 3-17 to promote your dance classes. You can invest in third-party data to access the names and mailing addresses of families who live within a 10-mile radius of your studio who have children in the home. Then, you can market your studio to those who are most likely to actually engage with your brand and take a look at what you have to offer. 

Demographic data is highly valuable to not only for-profit organizations but nonprofits as well. As Double the Donation’s wealth screening guide explains, nonprofits use demographic data— such as income information— to identify donors who have a greater capacity to contribute a large donation. They then use this information to reach out to prospective major donors and create communication plans that strengthen relationships with these individuals. 

If you already have access to a comprehensive, well-organized database of your customers and leads, you can create customer personas based on this demographic data or simply use it to fine-tune your outreach strategy. And, a data marketing firm can make this process easier by providing data enhancement services to add missing information to your existing dataset or cleaning your data so you’re prepared to use it more effectively. 

reporting in digital marketing

2. Customer contact information

When it comes to digital marketing, you not only need to understand who your customers are but also how to get in touch with them. Accurate contact information allows you to focus your outreach efforts on phone numbers and email addresses that are actually being used. 

Throughout your various online marketing efforts, you may have started collecting customers’ phone numbers and email addresses, but you may find yourself with missing or incomplete information from time to time. This is where data append services come in handy. AccuData defines data append as “the process of supplementing the information within a brand’s internal database with additional data from external sources.”

Using phone and email append services, you can add contact information to incomplete customer records. With reverse append services, you can add other information, such as customers’ names and mailing addresses, to records that contain just their phone number or email address. 

Let’s look at examples of what these services look like in practice:  

  • Data append example: Let’s say you’re working with a nonprofit that’s looking to personally invite top donors to its annual gala event. Your organization is in the process of cleaning your donor database, and you’ve discovered that several donor records are missing phone numbers. Having accurate phone numbers is critical so you can personally reach out to major donors to invite them to the event. With a phone append, you can compare your existing records to an external database to discover and add the missing information.
  • Reverse data append example: Perhaps you’re a marketer for a new art gallery that’s looking to expand its marketing efforts in the local community. You go to a weekend craft fair and gather email addresses using a sign-up sheet. You look at the list at the end of the day and notice that several visitors just wrote their email addresses but not their names or phone numbers. Using a reverse email append, you can match supporters’ email addresses with other identifying information, such as their names. This allows you to personalize your outreach and send information on multiple platforms. 

The append process relies on the use of external or third-party databases to compare your existing records. This is another task that a dedicated data marketing provider can help with so you can access the most accurate information available. 

3. IP address information

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is the unique identifying code associated with a device whenever it accesses an internet network. 

According to this guide, IP addresses are used in marketing to reach constituents on a specific network by sending digital ads to the IP addresses using that network. This tactic is called IP targeting. 

IP targeting is useful in a variety of situations such as:

  • When marketing an event within the same general area that the event will take place. This can increase ticket sales because you’re sending the event details to people who are more likely to actually buy a ticket since they live nearby.
  • When boosting traffic to a local business. Similar to when you’re marketing events, you can use IP targeting to increase intrigue surrounding a local business. 
  • When reaching a certain demographic. For instance, maybe you’re trying to reach an audience of college-age students or young professionals with your content. You can send targeted ads to IP addresses associated with a college campus or apartment community to reach those you’re trying to connect with. 

A great way to use IP targeting is to deliver ads digitally to supplement more traditional strategies like direct mail and email. Using customers’ unique IP addresses, you can tailor your digital ad strategy to reach a highly targeted audience that’s more likely to engage with your content. 

4. Firmographic data

Some businesses don’t interact with individual customers, but rather other businesses or organizations. If this is the case for your organization, firmographic data offers highly useful insights into the businesses in your target market. 

Firmographic data points include business-specific information such as each firm’s:

  • Industry
  • Revenue
  • Internal Structure
  • Size
  • Market Segment
  • Location
  • Key Contacts and Contact Information

This information simplifies the process of getting in touch with the decision-makers at each business prospect and tailoring your pitch to apply to the unique characteristics of each firm. 

For example, perhaps you work with a company that sells payroll software to other businesses. Using firmographic data, you can understand the specifics of businesses in your target market to narrow down that market and only pitch to those most likely to invest. 

5. Website Analytics

Website analytics are an extension of your email marketing and IP targeting efforts. If you use each of these channels to guide audience members to your website, you can gather valuable web traffic data using a platform like Google Analytics. 

Depending on the success of your marketing efforts, you can use your website to drive conversions. It’s the place where your audience members can buy your products, sign up for your newsletter, sign up for your events, donate to your organization, or take other desired actions. 

Analytics to consider include: 

  • Overall website traffic: How many visitors your website receives in a day, week, month, year, or any other period.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of website visitors who enter your site and leave without clicking on any other pages. 
  • Time on page: The amount of time a visitor spends on a certain page before clicking on another one or exiting your site. 

Your web analytics also provide insight into the success of your organic and paid search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. As you continue building on your digital marketing foundation, keep an eye on your website analytics to assess which tactics are working and which could use improvement. 

For example, let’s say you’re using your digital ads, email marketing, and SEO tactics to highlight your product pages. However, these pages are seeing a higher bounce rate than you’d like. To improve time on page, consider incorporating multimedia elements to improve page engagement. You could add an infographic or video to the page to make it more visually appealing. 

These strategies can boost the amount of time visitors spend browsing your website, which boosts the odds that they’ll decide to purchase your product or take the action you want them to take. 

6. Propensity data

It’s hard to predict the future of what will happen with your business or organization, but with propensity data, you can start to get close to this elusive objective. Consumer data that is based on predictive models, also known as propensity data, provides an inside look at the likelihood for members of your audience to take a specific action. 

Using propensity data, you can identify information like: 

  • Where your prospects and customers like to shop
  • What they like to buy
  • What motivates them to make a purchase
  • Which brands they prefer
  • The communication channels they use
  • Their spending and saving habits

You can use this information to craft highly relevant and personalized customer appeals. You can also identify which of your prospective customers are spending their dollars on your competitor’s goods and services. This lets you know who to focus your marketing efforts on. 

These six data types provide a comprehensive foundation on which to build any type of marketing plan, campaign, or long-term strategy. Remember, if this is your first time looking at data categorically, a dedicated marketing firm can help steer you in the right direction to make the most of your data and introduce you to new leads. Good luck!

Gabrielle Perham
Gabrielle Perham
Gabrielle is the Director of Marketing for AccuData Integrated Marketing. She joined the organization in 2017 and possesses more than 15 years of experience in strategic marketing, branding, communications, and digital marketing. She earned a B.S. in Marketing and an M.B.A in Marketing Management from the University of Tampa.
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