AddThis Academy

An ever-growing library of resources to help you become a better online marketer.

3 Old-School, Data-Driven Marketing Mistakes to Avoid


Data brings us more marketing opportunities than ever before. But with so many decisions to make regarding data, it’s easy to keep making old-school mistakes. We’ve gathered three data-driven marketing mistakes—and show you how to avoid them.

1. Not Focusing on the Right Data

Old School: “We have so much data, it’s overwhelming! To avoid missing out, let’s analyze all of it (and I mean, ALL of it).”

There’s tons of data out there—but not all of it is relevant to your core business goals. You don’t have to start by analyzing every bit of data you’ve gathered, especially if you have a small business or nonprofit and resources are stretched. Focusing on a specific set of KPIs is actually a better use of your team’s time and efforts than trying to wrangle every dataset.

For example, getting more likes on Facebook might be top of mind—and you have a lot of data there to analyze. But what about engagements? Engaged followers, who not only are taking the time to read your content, but actually talk to you as a brand, might just be more valuable than the number of likes on your page. Leaving a comment takes time, as does sharing or clicking on the link your post points to, which means that metric can be a key indicator of success for your business.

New School: “Let’s focus on the core KPIs that factor into our business goals, and go from there.”

2. Not Thinking Customer-First

Old School: “There are a lot of distractions online. We must ask our customers to buy what we sell (before anyone else does!).”

Digital media isn’t just about your brand. While there are hundreds of thousands of distractions happening at any moment, this old-school strategy holds a lot of brands back from success.

The easiest way to turn that around is to start thinking customer, first.

Would you want to read your blog? Would you click on that link, open that email or even comment on that post? Creating information in the digital space should be helpful, informative, or both—and ideally, be the answer to someone’s question. If a customer needs help, your brand should be the one helping them, whether it’s about you or not.

But, if you’re not talking about your products or services, how can you make any progress? That’s the thing about data-driven marketing—data can help you be discovered, be relevant, and reach a whole new audience you never dreamed possible. But, once you reach them, be the friend they never knew they had, not the needy person that constantly asks for something. That’s the key to a customer-centered focus.

New school: “Let’s focus on our customers first—digital is a great way to introduce our brand, and then they will become interested in our product (after we prove ourselves).”

3. Not Having a Unified Cross-Channel Strategy

Old school: “Our data-driven campaign is on mobile, tablet, and desktop. We’ve just mastered cross-channel.”

Well, not so fast. It’s important to realize that today’s data-driven space completely changed the customer journey—but mastering cross channel takes more nuance than just ticking the box on multiple devices. Consider a united front on creative.

There’s no longer a clear, linear path to purchasing a product. Think of all those times you went online to check out a product, then went to a brick-and-mortar store to see it in person. Perhaps you purchase it in that same store, or you might go back online to a completely different site to find a great deal—even cheaper than the original offer. Maybe you wait three more months because you’re not sure if you want to buy it just yet, but then saw some awesome advertisement that eventually made the sale.

The digital world is fragmented like that—it’s the nature of the beast. So, now more than ever, your marketing should be truly united across all those touchpoints with creative.

For example, let’s say you’re launching a new product, rolling out a campaign across email, social, and on your website. An easy way to bring cohesiveness with your creative is to make sure the colors, look, and feel are aligned. Perhaps you have one image that you resize to fit different specs, depending on the channel. That same image can be the glue that holds your campaign together, visually. And for a consumer, seeing that same creative will help them associate you, your product, and your message.

New school: “Our campaign is cross-channel, but is the creative lining up cohesively? Let’s explore ways to make sure the experience is seamless for our customer.”

Hopefully these tips help you to tackle some of the major data-driven marketing challenges! Need more advice? Learn how AddThis website tools will take your marketing to the next level.

Last modified:  August 31st, 2017