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When it comes to marketing, data has completely changed the game. Marketers have access to more data today than ever before and it can help their activities to have a positive impact on the bottom line because it has ushered in a new age of accountability.

Campaigns can now be altered and adjusted in real time, and marketers can constantly experiment to adjust their approach and try to connect with their audiences across multiple platforms.

This represents a very powerful opportunity for dealerships looking to connect with customers.

But as with anything else in life, it’s definitely possible to have too much of a good thing.

As soon as a dealership begins to focus too intensely on marketing data their creativity can waver and they often fail to interact with their audiences in authentic and unique ways. This can mean that audiences are turned away and the data-obsessed marketer watches helplessly as their figures plummet.

Here are three things to understand when it comes to data in marketing. I hope that these will help you to balance your use of data to keep your marketing fresh and effective!

Don’t Play It Too Safe

Data is a great servant but a terrible master. You must remember that it is another tool to be utilised intelligently by a marketer rather than a guiding force. If not, you run the risk of having tired campaigns that become ineffective over time.

When a marketer focuses too intently on the data, their campaigns will begin to be shaped by it. A spike in a chart or a high CTR, for example, can signal to the marketer that what they did works. This will inspire the marketer to try and repeat their success, and before they know it, their campaigns begin to become very uniform.

It isn’t bad to pursue repeat success in this way. If you’re a football team, for example, and you find something that works you’ll want to continue using that tactic or formation. But when a team becomes too married to a certain way of thinking other potential tactics disappear out of the window. This means they become inflexible and tired over time.

You can’t let this happen to you.

You should break free from this trap by remembering to experiment constantly. Even though it could cause a blip in your statistics you’re still getting a useful idea of what does and doesn't work. Who knows, you might strike gold too.

Understand that Data Doesn’t Always Show the Full Picture

Data only tells part of a story and it has to be taken alongside a wide range of other sources to give you a full view of the picture.

Some marketers run the risk of focusing too intently on data and this means that they eventually close their eyes to other important information. As much as marketers might try, sentiment and feelings can’t always be quantified; these are squishy and abstract concepts that have to be felt by marketers rather than analysed.

If a marketer focuses only on the data they’ll find themselves chasing higher numbers and percentages rather than doing what they’re actually there to do: communicate with their potential customers.

Anecdotal insights gleaned from conversations and focus groups are worth their weight in gold and a focus on data should never eclipse these other important and organic pieces of information.

Don’t Become Transfixed by Data

How much marketing data do you interact with each day?

Perhaps you’ll begin your day with a cup of something warm while looking over how your latest posts performed on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other platforms you’re using. You’ll separate paid from organic results to see if there’s anything particularly interesting to see.

Next, you might monitor the performance of your landing pages to see whether the traffic brought about by your new AdWords campaign is converting. You could notice a slight difference between one variant over the other and make a call based on this data.

How is this new traffic affecting your organic traffic? You might delve into the data to see if there are any illuminating insights waiting. Oh, and you’ll want to assess the impact of the SEO audit you performed recently too…

The point is, there’s a hell of a lot of data out there. And it’s great. We’re not suggesting that this data is useless but rather, that you can’t become consumed by it.

Some marketers obsess over the numbers and become paralysed by them. A reluctance to disturb or negatively impact them keeps marketers playing it safe and stops them from pushing the envelope.

Remember that marketing data is an important tool that can provide input in the decision making process; it shouldn’t be the only determining factor and it can’t become your master. Don’t become consumed by it.

Conclusions

Remember that data is a tool to be used like any other and that it shouldn’t represent the beginning and end of your marketing strategy.

Carly Fiorina was the former President of Hewlett-Packard Co. and she said that “the goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight”. You should let a similar path determine your use of data so that at the end of the day it helps you do what’s important: connect with more customers and sell more vehicles.

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