One of the biggest challenges of marketing anything online is integrating data (i.e., managing, interpreting, connecting and efficiently acting on all data) you have access to in the quickest way possible to make the most of each of your investments. The challenge in managing online marketing lies in being able to connect one insight from one source to another insight from a different source to devise the best strategy possible.

Disjointed Data Creates a Jumbled Picture

Imagine you have high engagement for a twitter campaign in which you invested X dollars. You’ve acquired new followers on your Twitter account, so that’s one KPI, but what about clicks to your campaign’s landing page?

You can also see that Y number of people landed on the website by way of that Twitter campaign, so you’ve also increased traffic—another KPI.

But who are those people that visited? Have they visited before? What’s more, how do you retarget them? Via an email campaign? A message on LinkedIn or Twitter? Finally, how do you filter through the noise so that you do not waste resources on dead ends? And how do you do that without spending hours figuring it out?

There are a lot of tools out there that claim to do everything, and many of them have very complete systems—particularly when it comes to managing marketing automation. In many cases, however, such software carries pricey licenses, making it unfeasible for both small and large companies.

Moreover, most tools focus heavily on one particular strength—whether it’s listening, content curation, amplification, social media management, tracking users’ activity, identifying users or facilitating and automating email marketing.

So, as a marketer trying to build an efficient system whereby you’ll get the most out of your communication and marketing investments, how do you address these issues? Whether your company has a large budget to invest in a completely integrated system or you have to make due with previously purchased tools and build a system piece by piece on your own, the questions are the same:

  1. Where are you hemorrhaging data?
  2. Are you under-utilizing available resources?
  3. How easy is it to connect data from one tool to the next?

1. Make the Most of the Data You Have

No matter what type of campaign you’re executing, you need to track all the data associated with each element of communication for every channel you utilize.

Can you answer the following questions for each new content piece you create and distribute?

What kind of content works?

What are the tone, topic and format of your best content pieces? The answers give you an indication of which subjects are the most interesting for your audiences so that you can produce more in the same vein.

Where did you receive the most conversions?

Was it a social media campaign, AdWords or a display campaign? Paired with sentiment analysis above, you can discern two things: X content is really effective on Y channel. Next time, you will know what kind of content to promote and the best way/platform to share it.

Who did you attract?

This is the most challenging part, so you’ll need to rely on tools that combine tracking and databases to give you the best idea about who is coming to your site. The real challenge is figuring out which one best suits your business needs.

At the most basic level, you should track IP addresses to identify the companies visiting your site. If you have an internal database, you should also track at an individual level to further understand who they are (e.g. the CMO at Company X) and how best to reach them (e.g. email, social media or phone).

What was the reaction to your communication?

Listening tools are a powerful way to learn what’s trending and determine which topics to touch on in your content strategy. It’s also a nice way to gauge whether you are making an impression (positive or negative) within your target communities.

2. Encourage Employee Advocacy

Employee advocacy boosts your content marketing strategy by:

  • serving as a test pool for your contents’ appeal
  • increasing the organic reach of your content without spending more on paid media
  • increasing the trust associated with your content (because it is a form of word of mouth marketing)

Whether you are already engaged in employee advocacy or just getting started, the following steps are crucial to get the most out of your efforts: track, track and track. Make sure your employee advocacy tool can do the following:

  • Track the kinds of content being shared among employees, as well as end user audiences. This allows you to compare listening tool data with sharing data. It can also help refine the topics in your content calendar.
  • Track the reach and engagement generated by your employees.Celebrate the work of employees who continually write engaging posts that gain a lot of traction on social media. This not only rewards those who are succeeding, but also helps educate employees on the best tactics and practices.
  • Target your content to the right employees. Employees are more likely to share content that is relevant to them. Each business unit that is engaged in your employee advocacy initiative should be creating and sharing marketing content that makes sense to them and their respective job functions.

3. Connect the Data Dots

Before you take the time and effort to build a workflow around tools and the data they help manage, it’s essential that you understand how (if at all) they integrate with one with another.

Total integration isn’t always possible, but if you can at least connect a group of tools (e.g. social media campaigns that feed into lead tracking tools and CRM systems or listening tools and content marketing databases that connect with employee advocacy and amplification platforms) then you are almost there.

The idea is to track content from its point of origin to the point of engagement, which then triggers an outbound marketing treatment or kicks off a lead nurturing cycle. It’s better to determine that integration isn’t possible early on and avoid the tool altogether than to be knee-deep in a campaign with mountains of data that you can’t take action on.

Focus on the Big Picture

The most important point to draw from all of this is to make sure you build a system that makes sense for your workflow and your company’s current capacity—whether it’s in terms of human resources, budget or scope of marketing activity.

Don’t over-invest in tools you do not need, but rather look at what you are doing now and find out where you need to plug the data leaks. Power your current marketing activities by making sure you are making the most of every single click and potential lead by finding a way to collect, connect and evaluate your data. That’s the aim of the game.