Data Driven Ecommerce Marketing Strategy

A Data Driven Marketing Approach Has Replaced "Gut Feel"

Data Driven Ecommerce Strategy
Data Driven Ecommerce Strategy. Olena Timashova / E+ / Getty Images

Marketing departments are flooded with cowboys who operate from the gut – well more like shoot from the hip, actually. The best marketing managers have traditionally been those who just knew how to market; probably they were born marketers. The huge volume of data created by your online store does away with the need for these clairvoyant marketing folk. Today you can let evidence drive your marketing strategy.

Examples of Data Driven Marketing Strategy

Here are some situations where testing can show you the way:

  • Identifying the Best Landing Page Design

Your visualizers can create a large number of appealing landing page designs. The layouts, colors, navigation, iconography, and images would be interesting in every page design. But which one will actually sell? The best way to answer that question is to deploy all the shortlisted designs and figure out which ones work. That would lead you to choose "the one." An advanced exercise would be to choose different layouts for different customer demographics.

  • Figuring Out Communication That Actually Works

Which one would cause higher conversions, long product descriptions, or shorter copy? Does humor work? If yes, then in what product categories? And for what type of customers? Should you offer a text FAQ, or should everything be explained using videos? Does easy access to a toll-free phone number increase sales, or merely expense?

Do customers really want to rotate the object's image? Should you provide all the relevant product information – description, reviews, ratings, related products, variants, etc. – on one page, or should they be expandable sections? You get the idea, right?

A suave marketer would be quite happy to answer all these questions using expert judgment, the much-famed gut feel.

But would it not be better to be guided by data-driven evidence?

  • What Causes Customer Retention?

Is it low prices? Is it a loyalty program? Is it exclusive deals? How about discount coupons? Maybe your social media messages drive retention. Then again, maybe your email marketing is hitting the spot. Each of these usual suspects could be hitting the spot but to varying degrees. With ever-slimming margins in the ecommerce industry, shouldn't you be getting the maximum bang for your buck?

The line of reasoning I presented for retention could be as easily applied to conversions too.

The Era of the Gut Feel Is Over

Despite that ominous headline, I do confess that the gut feel might have some benefits:

  1. It might help narrow down the large list of hypotheses that you want to test.
  2. It might lead to radical rethinking in areas where data is not available.

Having said that, I find that this "gut feel" thing is presently doing more harm than good. Overreliance on what one already knows is preventing us from learning more. And there is so much more to learn, if only one uses the data that is already available.

It's Not Only About Google Analytics; It's Also About Testing Hypotheses and Behavioral Targeting

I laugh when I come across "data scientists" who only use Google Analytics to unearth trends and arrive at conclusions.

Sure, Google Analytics is omnipresent and does present some interesting visualizations of your ecommerce website data. Even if you solely use Google Analytics data, you should apply additional metrics and experiments to arrive at actionable conclusions.

As an ecommerce business, you should be constantly coming up with new hypotheses and testing them. You should closely monitor and evaluate all the information you have about your customer's behavior. Some of the gems you might unearth could be so counterintuitive that no amount of gut feel could have helped you arrive at the right conclusions.