There are many benefits to using data in your marketing strategy to help communicate with your audience. It helps to add credibility and authority to your marketing content and can often be used to explain complex topics, points or concepts in a way that is easier for your target market to digest.
Everyone loves a statistic. You just need to take a look at an average day’s news headlines and it won’t take long before data makes an appearance. Statistics are seen as trustworthy and factual, so are valuable assets for marketing if they back up your messages and can be used to help validate the stories you’re telling.
However, the downside of data is that it can be difficult to find or generate in the first place, time-consuming to dig through to find the bits that are relevant to your brand or story and there is also the challenge of how best to communicate the data to your audience too, in a way that’s easy to understand and engaging.
We offer some tips on how to overcome these challenges.
Finding or generating credible data to use in your marketing
Depending on your industry, there are often publicly available free statistics and datasheets that can be used (with due credit given to the source, of course) in your marketing activity. Governing bodies often have downloadable stats, as do most public services such as the NHS. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) regularly publish stats on all kinds of things, including local stats and government figures.
You can also simply do desk research to find existing stats online, but be wary of the sources you use to make sure they are credible.
Your own data
Another kind of data that you can utilise, which is even more valuable because no one else has access to it, is your own company-held data. The specifics of this will vary widely, depending on the nature of your business, but creating data stories from your own statistics can be a great way to gain press coverage, provide a useful tool to your customers and bring people to your website. For example, if you’re an ecommerce brand with years of sales figures at your disposal, you can use this data to identify trends or changes to the ways in which people are shopping online.
Generate new data
There are a few ways that you can generate new data, depending on your budget and how much time you have for this activity. These include:
- Commissioning a PR survey – where an agency surveys a set number of people on your behalf, using questions you provide, to deliver stats that can be used in your marketing campaigns
- Submitting Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to public bodies and use the data they respond with to form stories
- Commissioning an academic study – where you partner with an academic institution to perform rigorous research on a topic
Tips for visualising data in your marketing activity
The key to effectively visualising data in marketing is to tailor the kind of visual to the specific audience you want to reach and the mediums or platforms they are going to find your story on/in. For example, if you’re trying to reach people with your data story on Instagram, a complicated infographic really isn’t going to cut it, but a short Reel flashing up relevant stats and images is much more likely to hit the mark.
You can choose to visualise the same data in a variety of different ways if your audience can be reached in multiple ways or you have a very wide scope for your target market.
Keep it top line, but provide extra detail for those that want it
A headline stat is going to capture someone’s attention, and that is all that many people want. However, there will be those that want to dig further and find out more, which is why it’s a good idea to provide a webpage where people can find out more about the data and any further detail you want to provide. This might even include downloadable copies of the raw data (anonymised, of course) or the full stats broken down into regions/demographics etc.
Match your visual representation to your audience’s preference
Whether it’s a pie, line or bar chart, a gauge, a text video or even a map, the data you focus on needs to be attention-grabbing and meaningful for your audience, visualised in a format that you know they are likely to engage with.
Develop an interactive tool with the data to get maximum impact
While this option usually requires some development time as well as the other elements that go into a marketing campaign, you can reap the rewards for years to come if you create an interactive tool with your data that people find useful. It can mean that they come back again and again, link to the tool from other websites and recommend it to their own networks – all definite wins for your brand!
A great example of this is the BBC’s NHS tracker. Pop in your postcode and you can see visual representations of a variety of data about your local NHS trust, such as ambulance waiting time stats:
If you want to see some data visualisations that really blow your mind for some inspiration, take a look at Information is Beautiful. If you want some help with your marketing strategy or a specific campaign, we can help! Get in touch for a chat about how we can supercharge your marketing.