The importance of external data for marketing

Data has become the cornerstone of any business’s success. The more you know your industry and your audience, the more likely you are to succeed. However, it’s important to collect the correct data and base decisions on this data. If you only have half of the picture, you’ll only be half as successful as you could be.

Many companies rely solely on internal company data like website analytics, customer service data, or sales history. While these are very important data sources, it’s important to use external data sources as well, especially in marketing. You’re about to find out some examples of external data and why exactly is so important in marketing.

What are some examples of external data?

External data refers to any data that comes from outside of a company. For example:

  • Social media posts
  • Online search trends
  • Brand reviews on external platforms
  • Demographic customer data
  • Customer interests
  • Competitor activity.

Why is external data important for marketing?

It helps understand customers

External data is the final piece of the puzzle of understanding your customers. If you currently rely on internal company data to understand your customers, you only know about those who are currently yours and not about the potential ones. Internal company data is also restricted to purchasing behavior and the questions you choose to ask your customers. It doesn’t explain how they feel and act the way they do.

It takes away the need to bombard customers with questions

By relying on external data sources, you can get valuable and even more in-depth data than you would by collecting it from your customers yourself. Plus, you won’t annoy them by asking them question after question (let’s be honest, customers don’t love answering your questions).

It helps build forecasts

If you collect the right external data, you can use it to predict specific trends relevant to your business. For example, by analyzing your target audience’s current interests and buying behavior, you can build a predictive model of your demand and be prepared for the most likely scenario. External data can also be used to better understand who your target audience is and who to target with ads on Google and social media.

It helps a business react to competition

In addition to understanding your audience, external data can also help understand competition. For example, if a competitor launches a big sale or suddenly drops its prices, these actions will undoubtedly affect your sales and profits. By quickly spotting and reacting to these competitor actions, a business can prevent a drop in sales and profits.

Where can you get external data?

The big question is: where can you get this external data? You can collect certain information yourself. For example, you can go over social media and look for mentions of your brand and see what people are saying about it. You can also search for your brand on Google to find forum threads or reviews on other websites. This type of research is free but will give you a great picture of where your brand is in the eyes of your audience.

However, there’s some data that you can’t collect yourself, such as customer demographics or online interests. This is the type of data you’ll want to purchase from third parties specializing in the collection and presentation of data. You will have to pay, but the data will be very nicely structured and detailed, allowing you to make fully informed marketing decisions.

Over to you

Big data has opened up so many opportunities for businesses, yet so many companies still fail to take advantage of it. Conducting marketing activities based solely on internal company data is an outdated practice, and it’s time to start taking advantage of external data. The internet is filled with information that can help your business make it to the top in no time, so why would you want to miss out on that?

Now is the time to start digging deeper into social media, Google, and possibly looking up companies that can offer you useful external marketing data. Only once you combine your internal data with external data will your marketing truly take off!

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