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Data analytics must be the foundation for B2B digital marketing in 2022

According to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing report, over 60% of marketers are measured their content marketing initiatives with sales, followed by web traffic (55%), social engagement (47%), lead generation (40%) and onsite engagement (40%).

In the same report, marketers were asked about their primary approach to marketing in 2021 and here were the top 10 answers:

  • Social Media

  • SEO

  • ABM (Account Based Marketing)

  • Content Creation

  • Targeted Paid Social AdS

  • Generating Referrals

  • TV Ads

  • Inbound Marketing

  • Tradeshows

  • Outdoor Ads

It seems that there is a slight disconnect with this data. These marketers claim that they are measuring content marketing and social media using sales. However, when looking at their tactics and approach, there is nothing at all related to data, analytics, or consumer insights.

There could be a few reasons for this.

It's possible that within the survey itself, HubSpot did not add data or analytics as a marketing approach for 2021. It's also possible that marketers just aren't using data to inform their marketing programs.

In either case, data driven marketing must be a strategic priority moving into 2022.

When looking at the above marketing tactics in 2021, there are several opportunities to use data to ensure that each one is more targeted and performs above expectations.

Here are 5 examples of how an audience analysis can inform more than one of the marketing tactics above.

An audience analysis can reveal very strategic insights to marketers about their target consumer. It can provide details about audience brand affinities, what channels they prefer to use and how they use them. For example, an audience insight might reveal which streaming music platform they prefer to use––Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music or other.

An audience analysis will uncover psychological factors when the audience is going through the shopper journey. For example, the data could show that they are influenced more by the utility of a product more so than a recommendation from a friend or colleague.

An audience analysis will tell marketers which media outlets they are consuming content from based on their sharing patterns and behaviors. For example, an insight might be that the audience prefers to read CNN when it comes to breaking news or politics but gravitates towards Fox Business for everything related to stocks, financial services, and the economy.

An audience analysis will uncover their sentiment around certain products, services, or societal issues. For example, an insight might reveal that the audience cares deeply about sustainable business and is more likely to share branded content when its aligned to their values and beliefs.

An analysis like this can also uncover the core topics, hashtags, keywords, and phrases that they are using within public social media conversations. For example, an audience insight might show that the audience uses #DigitalWorkplace when describing hybrid work and #DigitalWorkforce when describing bots and automation. Seems like a minor issue but it's not.

According to Gartner’s report, “How to Prove the Value of Marketing to the Enterprise”, marketers must define the mission-critical business outcomes required to achieve their marketing goals and link all marketing initiatives to business value. This accomplishes one of two things. It will help build a case to increase digital marketing budgets. And, it will ensure that you take the guesswork out of all marketing programs and initiatives.

This is a more complex way of saying that data, insights, social analysis, and measurement must be the foundation of all marketing in 2022. Hopefully, marketers will agree.


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