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How to do data-driven marketing right

James A. Martin | April 7, 2016
Akamai, Monster and others found creative ways to put piles of corporate data to work for their marketing teams. Marketing pros for these companies share valuable lessons learned from their successes, along with tips and best practices for data-driven marketing.

Solar Power Authority strives to post data-rich content on its blog that "will not only be useful for our readers but will be shareable and backlink-worthy as well," Nally says. "One way we've been able to do this is by finding interesting data and turning it into shareable content."

For a recent blog post, "Top 10 U.S. solar-powered universities and how they're doing it," the organization researched universities based on criteria, "such as how long the university has been using solar power, what type of solar energy it uses, how many kilowatt hours are generated per year, and how much of the campus's energy is used from solar energy," according Nally.

The goal is to increase exposure to its brand and the research, Nally says. The company contacted universities on its top 10 list to let them know they'd been chosen and to inform them of a tentative posting date for the list. After the post went live, Solar Power Authority sent the link to the universities in hopes that they'd share it across social channels and on their own sites. 

As a result, the post earned backlinks to Solar Power Authority's website from at least four .edu sites and six others with other top-level domains. Though four .edu site backlinks may not sound like much, the links are some of the hardest to obtain, and search engines tend to consider .edu links highly authoritative. So the backlinks help boost Solar Power Authority's credibility with search engines. 

The Akamai, Monster, Reveal Mobile and Solar Power Authority success stories are just four examples of data-driven marketing's potential. The following tips and best practices can help put your company data to use in creative marketing campaigns.

8 tips and best practices for data-driven marketing

1. Marketing collaboration with IT is key

Akamai's marketing team meets regularly with its IT department to devise new data-driven marketing projects and efficiencies, according to Akamai CMO Rinklin, who spoke to following the MarTech USA event in March. The marketing and IT teams jointly present new project proposals to the executive team, he says. IT is "always a partner of ours, and we're always sharing credit for successes. It's a win for both departments." 

2. Make sure data is accurate 

"You want everything to be as close to perfect as possible, especially when people are using you as the source and possibly building case studies or reports off your information," says Amy Medeiros, a marketing manager with BroadbandSearch, which strives to give consumers easy access to information about their local ISPs and cable operators.

"The worst thing you can do is get a lot of press about your data, then have a competitor or a major publication say your data is crap," Rinklin says.


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