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Data-Driven Marketing for eCommerce Stores

Have you ever succumbed to a targeted ad? If a brand is nailing its data-driven marketing strategy, it's hard not to. Effective ads feel like they were made just for you; maybe they highlight a model who looks just like you, surface a problem you never even knew you had, or solve a complex use case you were just talking about with your coworker. So what's powering these killer ads? Data. 

As a result, data-driven marketing has been on the rise. Not only does data-driven marketing optimize conversions, it also helps marketers create more compelling campaigns and—most importantly—increase eCommerce revenue. In fact, 44% of marketers say that measuring the ROI of demand generation initiatives is their top priority for 2021. And yet, only 15% of marketers measure the success of their content programs by how many leads they generate.

To get and stay ahead of the curve, brands and eCommerce stores need to continuously update their data-driven marketing strategies. Below, we'll explain what data-driven marketing is, how brands can benefit from it, and walk you through the best practices eCommerce marketing agencies use to take companies' digital presence to the next level.

What is data-driven marketing?

Data-driven marketing is a method of marketing that revolves around information companies collect about their target customers. Rather than relying on an executive's best guess, data-driven marketers set their strategy based on cold, hard facts. Gathering and analyzing big data enables companies to learn about the demographics of their potential and existing customers, what those people might want and need, and how they prefer to receive communications. This is significant because 50% of consumers won't read or engage with content if it isn't relevant.

Equipped with customer intelligence, marketers can better tailor campaigns to particular user groups and prospects, resulting in higher response rates. Because consumer behavior shifts over time and varies based on a number of factors (the products they buy, what new competitors have emerged in the market, etc.), data-driven marketing is an iterative process. To stay competitive, marketers need to continuously monitor customer behavior to adapt their strategy and allocate their advertising dollars appropriately to acquire higher value lifetime customers. While more involved than traditional marketing, data-driven marketing pays off.

What are the benefits of data-driven marketing for eCommerce Stores?

There are several undeniable benefits to data-driven marketing, the first of which is simply having enough "specific" data. Instead of having a "one-size-fits-all" mindset, eCommerce digital marketers can strategically segment their customer base into distinct groups with different needs and characteristics. For example, some of these groups may be more likely to respond to various distribution channels at certain times of the day, giving eCommerce marketers an idea of when to post on social media, launch email campaigns, and publish new ads. 

In addition, data-driven marketing allows eCommerce stores to plan for new trends. For example, reviewing buying cycle data can surface seasonality or other product usage patterns, which allow marketers to anticipate and meet future customer needs. Armed with this data, eCommerce marketing teams can develop new styles and product lines, revamp their pricing structures, and budget and forecast accordingly.

By adapting to customer expectations, tailoring the shopping experience, and predicting new trends, eCommerce stores can show customers that they are doing their due diligence. Moreover, marketing specifically to individuals ultimately yields better sales results.

Using Data to Design More Effective Digital Marketing Campaigns

Digital marketing campaigns are a staple in today's marketing world. Without them, it's tough to make a name for your eCommerce store, let alone make sales. Data-driven marketing takes digital marketing to the next level, identifying the right content to catch people's attention and establishing the right cadence to keep people engaged.

Tracking customer behavior in every campaign and monitoring performance metrics illustrates what is and what is not working and how to tweak their campaigns for optimal results. For example, a high-performing campaign might signify that certain content resonates particularly well with one group and should be repeated or emphasized even more in the future.

Understanding customer behavior can also help marketers learn the best keywords for their company niche, enabling them to generate SEO-optimized content and successful paid search ads, driving the right traffic at the right time. Some digital marketers take this a step further, leveraging cookies or other demographic data to supplement their personas such that they can predict what customers might want to buy in the future.

But to get anywhere near this point, you need actionable data. As a result, many organizations turn to eCommerce marketing agencies that are specialists in digital marketing software like HubSpot. With the help of the right agency and the right platform, marketers can publish and measure the success of content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing all in one suite. By funneling all this data into a single platform, you can turn your marketing efforts into a well-oiled machine. 

Data-Driven Marketing Best Practices & Strategies

When it comes to data-driven marketing, there are a few hard and fast rules:

1. Collect the right data - To succeed in data-driven marketing, you need accurate customer data. Know where your potential and existing customers go for information and inspiration. Figure out their age and gender, what types of products they prefer, and when they tend to buy. Once you develop a buyer persona, determine what data might be most valuable to your company and how you might obtain it. Don't be afraid to ask your customers for help, either. Quick surveys to find out where customers heard about you can work wonders.

2. Manage that data - Customer data must be clean and correct to have any value; as they say, "garbage in, garbage out." When building out your data-driven marketing strategy, institute data governance practices and consider enlisting the help of an eCommerce marketing agency to ensure you're designing campaigns off of the freshest datasets.

3. Segment your audience - Not everyone who buys your product will behave the same way, nor will they have the same characteristics. Therefore, it's crucial to define multiple groups in your target audience based on their attributes and behavior, and serve up content and ads that align with their preferences. Next, think about the best ways to divvy up your customer base in a way that allows you to compel them, specifically, to action. Some examples might be location, stage in the buyer journey, age, gender, or any combination of those features.

4. Learn from your performance - With every campaign, data point, and KPI, you'll learn something new about how your customers interact with your brand. Don't take that for granted. Instead, take the time to examine your past performance and inject your learnings into new marketing efforts. Over time, you'll be able to hone your content so much that it proactively answers customers' most challenging questions and suggests new products they are bound to like.

5. Retarget prospects and customers - Retargeting past customers or prospects is an excellent way to keep your company top-of-mind. They've already expressed interest in some aspect of your digital presence, whether that be clicking an ad, reading a blog post, or leaving a comment on social media. If you nudge them again, especially with an unbeatable offer, you will likely compel them to action. 

IronPlane eCommerce Digital Marketing Data-Driven Blog 2

Use Data-Driven Marketing to Nurture Your Customers

Veteran customers don't necessarily behave the same way as brand new ones, and your best customers won't behave the same as your worst. Over time, patterns will emerge among your customer base that you can use as warning signs. For example, you might learn that your best customers have a particular purchase frequency. If you notice customers starting to extend beyond that time between orders metric, you know you have an issue. Designing campaigns to reactivate idle customers can provide the reminder needed to push them towards a purchase.

Similar benchmarks might be metrics related to retention, churn, or free samples. This type of insight could transform your entire marketing strategy, focusing on getting customers hooked on that first product. But, of course, you'll also want to pay attention to the most valuable data and try to capture more of it. For example, perhaps you have a questionnaire when people sign up for your site. That survey may have several critical questions in it that are indicators of high lifetime value. Driving people towards that survey and tailoring automated email sequences to their answers can be a fantastic way to boost engagement and, eventually, conversions.

What data should your business collect?

An excellent way to learn about your customers is by observing their behavior on your website. How long are they spending on each page they visit? Which pages are they visiting? Are they clicking on any items you've suggested to them? Have they added anything to their shopping cart? Watching how customers and prospects navigate your site not only gives you ideas for improving your UI and UX but also shines a light on the content and products they care most about. Next time someone comes to your eCommerce store, they should see different products and content predicated on their browsing habits.

Website data shouldn't be the only input for your marketing engine一you need to mix in A/B testing results, as well. Emails, ads, and even Instagram posts aren't always written perfectly the first time around. Specifically, when it comes to your social media marketing strategies, test variations of the same content to help you hone your messaging and elicit better response and engagement rates. Thinking about all the potential data you could collect can be overwhelming. However, when you're first starting with data-driven marketing, eCommerce marketing agencies can guide you towards the most profitable strategies for the size and stage of your business. 

Data-Driven Marketing Tools & Analytics

With so much data to manage, you need tools that can interpret and visualize data for you. Google Data Studio is a data visualization tool that converts website data and customizable dashboards. It's free for individuals and small teams and comes with its own enterprise package. With little to no code, you can connect and report on datasets from various sources, like Google Ads, Search Ads 360, and Google Analytics. 

HubSpot's Marketing Hub is another resource for businesses pursuing data-driven marketing. It connects to many sources, including HubSpot CRM, so that you can integrate and deploy your customer data all from one place. Inside of Marketing Hub, you can better segment your target personas for email campaigns, produce optimized content, launch retargeting campaigns, and oversee social media activity. Interpreting data-driven campaign analytics can be a daunting task. However, hiring a certified HubSpot Solutions Partner and Digital Marketing Agency like IronPlane to implement your marketing campaigns can significantly increase conversions and boost eCommerce revenue. 

Databox is another marketing analytics platform that allows you to integrate cloud-based data like Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, Moz, and HubSpot, view key performance indicators, and generate reports. Databox users can import data from their databases using Databox's REST API and SDKs as well. The Databox mobile app gives executives real-time access to KPIs via alerts, scorecards, and weekly summaries. A certified databox technology partner like IronPlane can help your company make data-driven marketing decisions based on your analytics, campaign metrics, and KPIs.

Each of these platforms empowers you to turn user data into strategies for eCommerce digital marketing. Data insights around campaign performance, customer behavior, and customer attributes can expose emerging trends and help you stay ahead of the competition. With the help of an experienced eCommerce marketing agency, you can uncover new target populations and opportunities to get them to convert and, most importantly, increase online revenue. 

3 Examples: How BigCommerce Customers are Making Data-Driven Decisions

To stay ahead of the competition, companies that invest in data-driven marketing to boost eCommerce revenue have seen some dramatic results. Let's dive into a few examples of customers who have used BigCommerce Web Development to improve their data-driven marketing in significant ways.


Origin is a nutrition and apparel brand that needed a tech stack that could maintain its channel growth. With Google Data Studio and BigCommerce, the Origin marketing team was able to merge consumer data from multiple sources in an accurate and actionable way. By unifying their insights, Origin can make sustainable content and advertising investment decisions. 

Garrett Wade

Garrett Wade makes woodworking and hand tools for people's gardens. Like Origin, Garrett Wade's marketing team consolidated their customer data manually, leading to user error and data lag. However, with a digital marketing platform, Garrett Wade was able to reduce the time they spent cleaning and normalizing their data and testing the accuracy of their data before pushing it into production. In addition, analyzing the shopping behavior of Garrett Wade users has led to greater insight and personalization of their marketing content, producing results that far outweigh the cost of their data-driven marketing solution.

Fore Ladies Golf

Fore Ladies Golf sells high-quality golf clothes for women. Several years ago, while the business was still small, the CEO knew she needed to invest in a data-driven marketing platform to scale her company. With BigCommerce, the CEO and her staff could immediately identify gaps in their Facebook and Google Ads strategy. What is more, Fore Ladies Golf could more efficiently manage their product stock levels, offer VIP customers the best discounts, and manage their digital marketing budget.

Top eCommerce Platforms to Boost Sales with Data-Driven Insights

In addition to using data-driven marketing to optimize your website for conversions using BigCommerce, the Magento development platform also offers several robust tools to measure data-driven insights. Learn more about Adobe / Magento Open Source and the top features of Magento development for eCommerce stores

Challenges with Data-Driven Marketing

Data-driven marketing isn't a walk in the park. In fact, 91% of organizations report that they struggle with improving their use of data for business insights. One of the reasons is that there is so much data out there, and you need the right data to make the right decisions. Therefore, knowing how to filter through your data and understand what questions to ask is key to a sound strategy. Plus, you'll need to normalize your big data. Sometimes this means splitting large datasets into smaller ones and normalizing for time, date, and other variables that may differ from individual to individual.

Interpreting data is one of the most significant advantages and biggest challenges in data-driven marketing. You need to know how to define relationships between data points, link them together, and interpret them in the context of your holistic marketing strategy. What is more, you need to understand what's happening to these data points in real-time and why changes are happening. Equipping yourself with the right marketing tools and using an experienced eCommerce marketing agency is essential to tracking, optimizing, and translating data into actionable steps.

Conclusion & Next Steps

To create a stellar ad that drives conversions, you need to know what to feature, whom to target, and when to target them. Then, with customer personas and their behavior in mind, marketers can update their campaigns to be more personalized and meaningful.

While it's clear that implementing data-driven marketing can help your eCommerce store optimize conversions, gain valuable insights into product development, and track the customer journey, the hard part is the actual implementation. With so much data to sift through and so much potential for error, many eCommerce companies turn to a digital marketing agency to help them monitor, report, and interpret data-driven analytics.

IronPlane is an eCommerce marketing agency and eCommerce Solutions Partner that provides integrated services tailored to your business goals. IronPlane hires only the most seasoned experts in HubSpot, BigCommerce, and Databox, delivering integrated marketing strategies across channels to increase brand awareness, website traffic, and revenue.

Beyond traditional digital marketing services, IronPlane also specializes in social media marketing, helping brands amplify their reach, increase engagement, and drive eCommerce revenue. Up-level your data-driven marketing game by scheduling a free consultation today.

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