Using Data Insights To Win In Marketing


Rob Armstrong, Chief Marketing Officer, Zebra Technologies.

The National Football League (NFL) successfully blends tradition with innovation. The expected grit, fierce competition and team fanfare have grown since the NFL kicked off in 1920. In February 2024, more than 123 million viewers watched Super Bowl LVIII across all platforms, making it the most-viewed telecast ever.

Football’s greatest staying power is its ability to evolve and build long-time and new fans’ love of the game. The NFL has progressed in every aspect of the game, including its use of technology.

As a former flag football player and lifetime fan, I enjoy watching the games and seeing the NFL’s Next Gen Stats appear on the screen for a couple of reasons. I find the data interesting, and I also work for the company that captures all of the NFL player and ball-tracking data as the league’s official real-time location solutions provider.

Football has always relied on stats, and today’s data is analyzed across a wide range of applications—bolstering the NFL’s ability to make data-driven decisions and further advancing how the game is played and coached. The data reveals the fastest runners and who throws the ball the farthest, and it can also predict the probability of a blitz, the players to blitz and expected yards after each catch, to name a few. Those analytics can be leveraged in teams’ strategies to optimize their overall gameplay.

It’s no different for business—or, specifically, marketing. We can apply the Next Gen Stats concept to analyze customer, sales and market data to make data-driven decisions for everything from go-to-market (GTM) strategy to lead generation and personalized marketing experiences.

Develop Your Game Plan—Use Data Insights To Build Strategy

Data analytics is a team sport. You need the right people, processes and technology to leverage data strategically and translate insights into opportunities that influence direction, decisions and outcomes. We’ve transformed how we use data, moving from diagnostic data reporting to data-driven decision-making by leveraging data analytics along with cross-team collaboration.

Data analytics help businesses understand what customers want. By analyzing customers’ purchase history, organizations can uncover the most and least popular products at a regional or sub-vertical level. These insights are invaluable to building an effective marketing and sales strategy, as they identify product or segment gaps and opportunities. Data analytics could highlight segments with low sales yet show they have the greatest potential for cross-selling to a different subset of customers.

By adding predictive analytics, you can determine how probable it is for customers to purchase a product (also known as propensity modeling). With this understanding, you can more accurately offer customers the products they most likely need.

At Zebra, we use this approach with our sales teams and channel partners to help target our outreach efforts to key end-customer accounts in market segments historically underpenetrated, and the early returns are promising.

Using data and predictive analytics to shift from data reporting to data-driven decision-making can give you a deeper understanding of customers, products and segments to make informed decisions—increasing the chance of success.

Create Your Fan Base—How To Better Cultivate Lead Generation

Data generated from prospects and customers creates a picture of who they are and their interests. Their interactions—web visits, forms submitted, content clicked and more—build their historical data and, ultimately, a prospective customer profile.

Predictive analytics analyze that data history, identifying behavior patterns and trends. Predictive analytics can also model leads’ behavior and predict how likely they are to become customers. This helps focus marketing and sales resources on the most promising leads, improving overall conversion rates. You may discover leads from certain industries are more likely to convert into customers or that leads responding to a particular digital campaign are more likely to purchase a product.

When we integrated customer data and predictive analytics into our lead generation program, we had a better understanding of prospective customers, which helped us more effectively prioritize leads. It’s been a game-changer, delivering an exceptional conversion rate of nearly 90%.

Harness the combined power of data and predictive analytics to better understand prospects. The knowledge and insights are unmatched in enabling you to generate more qualified leads with more potential to convert prospects into customers.

Cater To Loyal Fans—Using The Power Of Personalization

Data analytics uncover your customer content needs and enhance your content marketing strategy. For example, if a customer’s industry is known, then content shared with them should be relevant to the applications used in their industry.

Customers’ digital interactions give organizations a better understanding of them, their companies and the nature of the relationship. Predictive analytics analyze users’ web history to predict the content most likely to resonate with them. This allows organizations to offer personalized content that includes swapping web images, personalizing banners or offering relevant white papers.

It’s important to differentiate customer interactions, recognizing that not every visitor is there to purchase; some may be looking for support. There is a customer experience component to personalization, meaning customers should receive a personalized experience both presale and post-sale. Most customers expect personalization; the 2024 Gitnux Marketdata Report found that 77% of B2B buyers won’t make a purchase without personalized content.

We’re early in our journey to use this capability at scale across our presale and post-sale customer digital touchpoints. Our limitation has been less about the availability of the data and analytics, and more about optimizing our marketing technology stack and business processes to fully take advantage of these fresh insights. I expect to make significant strides over the next 18 months as our platforms and processes catch up to our analytics capabilities.

The End Game—You And Your Customers Win

The NFL uses innovative technology to fuel Next Gen Stats. Borrow from its playbook to move from data reporting to data-driven decision-making. It’s a win-win for you and your customers.

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