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How to Develop a Digital Strategy Using Data

In this post, we'll look at how to develop a digital strategy using data, and how important data is in 2018. The UK government recognises how important this issue is and has even set out policies to ensure "businesses are able to use data in innovative and effective ways". As a business owner in 2018, the need to leverage data to remain competitive is now more crucial than ever.

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Example of graphs and statistics for a business' digital strategy

Appreciate the Importance of Data

Data is big business. SAS research predicts that data will benefit the UK economy by up to £241 billion between 2015 and 2020. From this statistic alone, it’s fair to say that data is now a massive part of our everyday lives. Just think of the number of times you checked your personal social media accounts yesterday. These social platforms all hold some data about you. The recent Facebook data scandal also highlights how important this issue is in today’s digital world, and what can go wrong if not handled correctly.
The UK government also recognises the need to support this new data economy and even has a government policy on unlocking the power of data available online. On the 25th of May 2018, GDPR is being enforced in the UK and could be seen as a big part of that initiative. This measure will aim to ensure a “shared and higher standard of protection for consumers” across Europe.
Furthermore, handling data correctly should avoid situations similar to the Facebook scandal.
So, if data holds such great importance, then we should all embrace it and learn how to develop more effective digital strategies.

Cumulative value of big data + IoT to the UK economy from 2015-2020
Cumulative value of big data + IoT to the UK economy from 2015-2020 | Source: SAS

Here are the steps on how you can improve the way in which your business uses data to inform business decisions.

Have an Integrated Data Strategy

An integrated data strategy could be defined as bringing all the separate parts of your marketing channels together to ensure you make better and more informed business decisions. According to Google’s data-driven marketer’s playbook, “75% of marketers agree that lack of education and training on data and analytics is the biggest barrier to more business decisions being made based on data insights”.


Having an integrated data strategy starts from the top of the business. Business owners and C-level executives should understand how important data is, and share their vision of a data-driven organisation. This would then help build the necessary technological requirements for data analytics to be used across the business.


Data quality needs to be checked to ensure it can be trusted. There also needs to be a structure in place that allows for quality checks.
A large portion of our clients need a lead generation strategy, and the quality of leads often comes up in our calls and meetings.


All businesses need to constantly invest in developing strategies that prepare for the future. Unfortunately, how we use data in the future is dictated by new technology. Most of the time this is unpredictable.
For example, the adoption of the smartphone by consumers and B2B buyers alike has introduced a lot more data that we wouldn’t have expected. The next big technological advancement will have a similar impact. The below statistic shows how smartphone use has impacted search queries in the B2B sector.
50% of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) expects this to rise to 70%

Map Your Customer Journey

Customer journeys are now more complex than ever. There isn’t a straightforward path to converting a new customer, as they often interact with your business or brand at various points or pit-stops. We previously looked at the evolution of the traditional customer persona and how you could map the user journey by focusing on intent.
Here are some steps to customer journey mapping highlighted by Think with Google

  1. Decide on business goals
  2. Identify all data touch points
  3. Locate pain points and where the journey could be improved
  4. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and experience the journey yourself
  5. Recreate the customer journey in a visual map

Business decisions should be based on data rather than a gut-feeling – within reason.

2/3 of leading marketers agree that data based decisions are superior to those base on gut instinct
Source: Google/Econsultancy, “The Customer Experience Is Written in Data,” U.S., n=677 marketing and measurement executives at companies with over $250M in revenues, primarily in North America; n=199 leading marketers who reported marketing significantly exceeded top business goal in 2016; n=478 mainstream marketers (remainder of sample); May 2017.

Generally, the consensus is that you make better decisions with data, and we notice this when managing PPC campaigns for clients. One example, is noticing the various trends such as seasonality of product demand and using this information to inform business owners on monthly budget recommendations for the entire year.


As the world is becoming more and more data-centric; where data is becoming increasingly valuable as the primary asset, all organisations need to become more data-driven. However, without the necessary structure in place, this will be difficult to realistically achieve. A clearer understanding of data and what’s possible should be better realised within organisations. This is especially the case for C-suite executives who actually make the decisions. Educating businesses on how to develop a digital strategy using data should be more of a priority if marketers aim to make more informed decisions that help businesses grow.

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