Consider these digital tools that can help build a clearer picture of your customers' behaviors and actions.
Last month I outlined the seven steps to improving your data marketing fitness, and I promised a follow-up article on the tools of the trade.
It's important to remember having more data often causes more problems, so make sure you filter out the noise, and the primary focus of data is to provide meaningful insight so you can make better decisions.
With that in mind, here are just some of the digital tools available that can help build a clearer picture of your customers' behaviors and actions.
But don't forget the ultimate technique for truly understanding the motivation and intent driving customer behaviors/actions is to talk directly to them through one-on-one interviews, contextual enquiry, and focus groups.
These monitor user behavior on any website you control. Importantly it's what they are doing, not necessarily what they want to do.
Mobile App Analytics
Very similar to web analytics tools, however, they're purposely built for monitoring mobile app usage. Some Web analytics tools provide average to good mobile app tracking functionality.
As you become more sophisticated with tracking user behavior across properties, managing the tags becomes quite labor intensive. These tools take the hassle out of it and help organize things.
Multivariate or A/B Testing (Optimization)
These automation tools let you run creative experiences to test variations of content, layout, and images on websites. They automatically monitor customer behavior and promote those tests that perform best. This concept is available in CRM/search/social and many other digital marketing platforms. What's critical is the creation of the tests, which should be based on insight and data.
Google Content Experiments (previously Website Optimizer)
From basic targeted EDM tools to sophisticated single view CRM tools, these platforms often become the heart of your data system, as you monitor the behaviors of individual, identifiable customers and start communicating with them directly.
Search is a core component of web marketing, and as a result of it being one of the biggest drivers of traffic around the web we can analyze search activity to better understands our users' intentions and behaviors. Search activity has been used from predicting sales behavior to tracking the spread of disease.
Google Insights (for search)
Online Survey/Customer Feedback
Surveying is a great way of getting a deeper understanding of your user customers' behaviors or intentions. However, the quality of the data is highly dependent on the quality and structure of your questions.
Online Usability Testing
Experience tools let you monitor how easily people can complete tasks on digital properties and glean what the points of frustration are. These aren't a replacement for face-to-face user testing, but useful for forming high-level hypothesis that then needs validation using face-to-face customer engagement.
This category is almost infinite; I nearly didn't include it because it's so big. But here are a few that help you monitor what your customers are doing in the social universe. This space is changing very rapidly, as you can see the three big tools have been bought/closed down.
Nielsen MyBuzz (being de-commissioned)
Post Rank (now in Google Analytics social)
Radian 6 (now Salesforce)
Understanding how customers engage with your competitors can give you great insight into what works and what doesn't, without having to try it yourself. Be careful of the data quality when using these tools, as they require a certain sample size to be statistically correct. So depending on the country, there is a chance you might fall flat.
These high-level data analysis tools do the hard job of bringing various large data sets together, so you can analyze them quickly and identify statistically meaningful patterns. You'll need specialist skills when using them, but the value achieved can be huge.
Almost every mid-high end CMS has some form of data tool set. But in my experience when you dig deeper than their demos and nice screen shots, their capabilities pale in comparison to the specialized tools above. When considering a CMS's capability in any of the areas don't take it at face value; do a close review of its capability and stack it up against specialist tools.
So there you have it, 82 data marketing tools across 11 categories, I hope they help you improve your data marketing fitness.
By no means are these all the tools out there; these are just some of the more popular/common tools going around. Also, many of those tools cross categories; I've just grouped them by their primary/original specialization.
If you've had any good or bad experiences with data tools/platforms, please share them in the comments.
Remember, selecting the right tools and data is just one of the seven steps to effective data marketing. Here are all seven steps from my previous article, and I could write an article on how to do each of them well.
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