What Does It Really Mean To Be Data-Driven?

Pulling Reports vs. Using Data To Drive Decisions

We’ve talked about the importance of data as it pertains to your website and marketing strategies, but what does it really mean to be “data-driven”? Let’s take a look at what that term truly means, including what it means for your business and how you can become more data-driven.

Using data in the decision making process

Data-driven organizations are doing more than pulling reports from Google Analytics. They go beyond looking at monthly visitors to a website, bounce rates, and other basic data points.

They use data to make decisions.

But why should you use data to inform marketing decisions? Here’s a (very) basic example of what listening to the data might look like:

A data-driven company might see that their newest website initiative for a product launch led to an increase in downloads of an informational PDF. Because they required an email address for this download, they’ll track engagement as they send email newsletters. Once a sale is made, they’ll know exactly where the customer originated from. Since that strategy worked, they’ll try it again with additional product launches. If the strategy didn’t work, they’d know that something needed to change.

Again, this is just the beginning of what a business can do with data. As you learn more, you’ll realize that it’s possible to track (almost) anything.

How to use data to make better marketing decisions

If you’re interested in collecting and analyzing more data from your website, follow this strategy:

1. What do you want to improve?

You wouldn’t dive into a pool without knowing the depth of the water, and you shouldn’t dive into data before knowing your goals. Which areas of your business do you want to improve? You could focus on increasing sales or streamlining marketing strategies, for starters.

2. Determine which questions you want to answer

Forget about the possibilities of data for now. Based on which parts of your business you want to improve, think about the types of questions you want your data to answer. This will help you choose what to focus on, saving both time and money.

3. Start collecting data

There are many ways to collect data, but most people will start with a tried and true, data-collecting staple: Google Analytics. Here’s a beginner’s guide to help you get started.

4. Analyze your data

This step falls squarely under, “easier said than done”. Understand that it will take some time to learn how to analyze the information you’re collecting. For example, you might run an email-only promotion for 20% off a service and see revenue explode. It’s tempting to say, “That worked, let’s keep doing it!” but don’t get too far ahead of yourself — were these new customers or repeat customers who would have purchased from you regardless of the promotion?

As you become more data-driven, you’ll learn to ask questions like the ones above. As a result, it will become easier to look at your data in new ways. Your critical thinking skills will improve alongside your bottom line, and your business’s marketing strategies will keep evolving.

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