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Using Data to Drive Your Startup Marketing Strategy

  • Written by Brigitte Evans


Startups are curious entities, born out of innovation, but continuously battling competition and fickle market moods to succeed. In order to survive all the instabilities of any industry your startup comes from, you need some sort of structure and stability you can rely on, so that you can build strategies for growth and success. More often than not, marketing strategies for startups need ample creativity and innovation much like the business itself, but they also need hard data and the latest, most relevant information to fuel that creativity.

Be it customer behavior data, the latest industry trends and insights, or competitor analyses, your business heavily depends on a constant influx of data. How you collect and analyze it, as well as how you interpret and implement it will define the future of your startup. Here, we’ll deal with how you can use data to build and drive your marketing strategy, and thus enable your startup to grow over time.

Choose your KPIs carefully

Data is everywhere. From your social media pages, your website, all the way to those paid ads, neatly offering all kinds of information about the interest your customers show in your business. However, before you start collecting all that data, you first need to understand what you will use that information for, and what bits of data truly matter for your business. Not everything can be treated with equal care, otherwise you’ll waste hours of your time collecting and sifting through piles of irrelevant information that doesn’t get you anywhere.

So, your first step to use data to build smarter marketing campaigns is to select key performance indicators (or KPIs) that will specifically help you reach your marketing goals. Depending on your goals, you’ll be able to choose specific KPIs to measure your success rate and spot opportunities to grow. In addition to, let’s say, calculating your ROI, you should also consider monitoring your ROAS, or return on ad spend, to see if your startup will really benefit from ads, or if you should reallocate that ad budget towards influencer campaigns. 

Build buyer personas

Getting to know your customers by collecting the right information about them will not just enable you to provide better customer service, but it also helps you tailor your web presence to improve customer experience and inspire greater customer loyalty. The piles of customer data from all of your digital outlets should serve to help you build buyer personas: data-backed profiles of your customer groups showing you just what your customers want and need from your brand.

Although these profiles might be fictional, they are based on real-life behavioral patterns, such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and the like. The more detailed they can get in terms of customer preferences, hobbies, interests, key demographic features (age, education level, location, etc.), the easier it will be for you to market to those specific groups of people and to understand their greatest challenges, and how you can resolve them. 

Streamline reporting

The risky thing about collecting and analyzing data is that it’s prone to human error. People look at data with all kinds of bias without being aware of it, and they will make mistakes as simple as a miswritten percentage, which will end up wreaking havoc on your marketing strategy in the long run. Fortunately for avid marketers, there are tools to help you leverage data without the hassle and the risk of human error. For instance, you can use comprehensive SaaS reporting tools to collect, filter, and analyze your most vital metrics into actionable reports.

Automation in reporting helps you save time and effort on such menial tasks, while at the same time enabling you to reap the many rewards of marketing-essential data. Instead of manual copy-pasting and chart organization, you can leverage well-structured reports to build effective marketing campaigns for your startup.

Compelling surveys

Another way to collect customer-specific data that can help refine your startup marketing is to send out surveys and questionnaires. It’s not just about understanding who benefits from your product or service, but also about why people come to you in the first place. Understanding your customers’ main motivators can be extremely helpful for your marketing campaigns, as you can use that material to appeal to your target demographic in more specific, targeted ways.

Look at how your customers’ behavior changes

No matter how brilliant your business is, no market stands still, so your business will have to adapt to these changes. However, the market actually changes based on customer behavior and preferences, which is reflected through different metrics such as revenue, loyalty, and intricate on-site and social media behavioral patterns. 

In addition to monitoring short-term data for the sake of refining your campaigns regularly, you also need to conduct long-term customer research to recognize emerging customer trends. You can then craft smarter landing pages, adapt your tone of voice, and choose the right people and influencers to work with in order to position your brand better.

Although your metrics might change to exclude some and include new forms of data to make more accurate forecasts for your marketers, some standard principles remain relevant across all industries and all eras. For startups in particular, finding that firm ground on which to build your marketing presence will become vital to ensure your business stability, anticipate market fluctuations before they occur, and turn yourself into a trendsetter that you are. 

No matter how much you already know about your audience and competitors, retaining this learning mindset will allow you to persevere and build a startup that will outlive its competitors for years on end.

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