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6 ways marketers can leverage data during a recession

Laura Colton
Laura Colton
Content Communications Specialist
11 min read
29 November 2022

Brands that emerge from recessions ahead of their competition have the foresight to maintain their marketing budgets and know the importance of leveraging data and embracing data-driven strategies to drive sustainable growth.

So, what should marketers do right now to help set their brand up for success? These six data-driven marketing strategies can improve efficiency and enable your brand to emerge from this challenging economic situation stronger than ever.

Strategy 1: evaluate the right metrics

Savvy marketers know that leveraging the right data is the key to making smarter, faster, and more strategic and informed marketing decisions to drive the strongest results, optimize marketing efforts, and obtain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much data. There’s also such a thing as poor-quality data. Both can lead to bad decision-making.

Instead, focus on the outcomes that your team can consistently track to discover where there are opportunities to improve and grow.

  • Lead Conversions

In a perfect world, more traffic to your website leads to more customers. But that isn’t always the case, especially if the user experience isn’t seamless, relevant, or enjoyable. At a high level, lead conversions help determine how many people are coming to a website and converting to leads. When this metric is low, this clearly indicates a message or offer is not enticing enough for a visitor to take the next step.

Calculate the lead conversion rate for individual channels to get a pulse-check on how well specific channels are performing and to help direct your time and money to higher-performing channels.

  • Growth Metrics

Track your company’s growth metrics to analyze and understand your brands’ growth and overall performance, especially in relation to retention and revenue. This includes measurements like:

  • Loyalty and retention metrics, such as churn rates and customer lifetime value.
  • Market share gains.
  • Brand’s reputation and impact on the bottom line.

Brands that understand their insights and current growth metrics and know how to utilize them to guide strategy can enhance the customer experience for a competitive advantage moving forward.

  • Data Management and Activation

Brands need to focus on data management and activation for a more holistic approach and to eliminate data silos. Assess the level to which marketing teams track, store, and
operationalize data to obtain insights and improve outcomes throughout the entire marketing funnel and customer journey.

  • Continuously track and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the overall health of your brand.
  • Brands should also be tracking performance metrics that are related specifically to a singular channel. A few examples include webpage visits, cost per acquisition, open rates, and click-through rates.

Strategy 2: adopt a multi-touch attribution model

A custom multi-touch attribution (MTA) solution is a game changer when it comes to truly understanding the impact of the marketing channel mix. When executed effectively, MTA can provide insights across all customer journey touchpoints by taking different combinations of all possible channels to determine which flows create the most value. Powered by historical data, attribution models offer the most accurate look at the contribution of each channel and how it affects the overall performance.

Marketing attribution helps marketing teams understand which channel had the most impact in influencing a customer to take the final step in the customer journey. Additionally, it helps to understand the impact of brand advertising on conversion KPIs, which typically occur through channels closer to conversion. Having MTA in place will help uncover the effect of the brand channels on conversions.

Strategy 3: develop a data-driven automation strategy

In light of the current economic state of the world, it’s more important than ever to evaluate your automation strategy to help your brand stay one step ahead of your competition. Automation can be a valuable tool for marketing teams who are trying to do more with less and still meet business goals. Developing a robust automation strategy helps streamline workflows and reduces the time that a team needs to spend on repetitive and manual tasks—saving time and money and ensuring that the work is done quickly, correctly, and effectively.

Automation enables brands to combine and streamline multiple data sources by reducing manual work and human error, allowing for real-time reports to be generated at the highest quality possible. This allows marketers to dive deeper into the data to focus on more strategic work, improve operational efficiency, enhance the customer journey, and grow revenue.

To drive a successful automation strategy, marketers need to understand the scope of automation capabilities and then identify the best automation opportunities for their brand. Whether it’s nurturing prospects, qualifying leads, or decreasing customer churn, it can be challenging to know where to start. In order to achieve long-term growth, it’s essential for business processes and teams to be aligned across departments. While most brands have already invested in marketing automation, the ones that haven’t are at risk of being left behind. Now is the time to evaluate if your brand is getting the most out of your existing marketing automation tool and whether it’s the right fit to address your unique pain points and achieve the best ROI.

Strategy 4: create an exceptional personalized experience

As stricter data regulations and the phase-out of third-party cookies have already started to take effect, it’s more crucial than ever to leverage first-party data for a more personalized experience for customers. When budgets are tighter, personalization is the key to retaining your loyal customers. More than ever, customers want and expect more tailored suggestions and recommendations while shopping, and using the power of data is the only way to give that to them.

The data-driven solution to this conundrum is through omnichannel personalization, which is fueled by unified customer data. Omnichannel personalization allows marketers to serve their customers better no matter when, where, or how a customer interacts with the brand.
Brands must prioritize creating a unified experience across all channels and touchpoints in the customer journey – including brick-and-mortar, website, and phone. We know from experience that a consumer is much more likely to return when they feel like the brand connects with them on a deeper level.

For example, Just Eat Takeaway is a leading global online food delivery marketplace that connects restaurants and customers with its global platform. The Amsterdam-based company operates in eleven countries and caters to over fourteen million customers annually.

Their goal is to make food discovery more exciting and more convenient for customers than ever before. They offer curated personalized restaurant recommendations and simplify the ordering process by leveraging the data of their vast customer base.

In addition to their online food ordering service, they also offer a B2B marketplace that allows restaurant owners to purchase food and non-food items from third-party sellers and enable restaurants to grow their online businesses efficiently and effectively.

To provide a consistent experience across all touchpoints, Just Eat Takeaway facilitates restaurants with a personalized website and marketing experience that is tailored to customers’ needs and helps local restaurants better customize their menus.

The website is also optimized so that customers can quickly re-order frequently purchased items and easily access a recommended ingredient list based on the restaurant’s menu.

As more consumers continue to rely on digital channels, more brands will need to turn to these digital solutions to better engage with their customers and create a more personalized and seamless experience for years to come.

Strategy 5: embrace predictive modeling to better optimize your marketing efforts

Predictive analytics harnesses current and historical purchase data, allowing marketers to forecast trends, predict which products will be purchased next, and anticipate future customer behavior. When a brand can integrate predictive marketing analytics into campaigns, it helps tailor the marketing experience and improve effectiveness and relevancy.

There are several ways to use predictive analytics during an uncertain market:

  • Predicting customer behavior and buying patterns.
  • Predicting customer lifetime value.
  • Reducing customer churn rate by predicting who is likely to churn and run reactivation/winback campaigns for this audience segment.
  • Accurately targeting and segmenting audiences.
  • Segmenting products that consumers will be most interested in to make ads more targeted and tailored to their specific interests and goals (increasing the likelihood of conversion).
  • Enhancing future marketing campaigns
  • Improving customer retention rates

Another example is Philips, the leading health technology company, which realized the importance of staying relevant to today’s digital consumer. To avoid targeting uninterested visitors, Philips turned to an AI system that predicts customer purchase propensity to better optimize marketing spend and short-term retargeting performance. This enabled Philips to predict in real-time a customer’s probability of conversion for each user on the website and their likelihood to perform certain actions. Visitors with the same probability to convert were grouped into buckets: high, medium, low, and waste. The connection between real-time behavior and historical patterns then produces a percentage that indicates a user’s likelihood to convert. This real-time forecast helps marketers reduce spending on customers who are unlikely to convert and helps them redirect their time and money to more lucrative consumers. Predictive modeling enables marketers to better understand consumer behavior, predict future actions, and create campaigns based on data-driven insights.

Another way that Philips utilizes predictive analytics technology to offer a more tailored customer experience is by highlighting products that customers may be interested in based on their past behavior while they are browsing product listings. This allows for real-time behavior to match past browsing patterns by other visitors. Those predictions are then rendered in product listings, showing the most relevant products first and concealing out-of-stock items.

The key takeaway here is that leveraging data to connect to customers and deliver the right message to the right audience at the precise moment is crucial for providing a relevant, useful, and personalized experience. A customer is much more likely to align with your brand when you can show them that you can anticipate their distinct wants and needs and have the ability to deliver on them.

Strategy 6: utilize spend management to be more efficient with marketing dollars

When a recession hits and budgets become tighter, brands typically cut marketing costs to conserve expenses when they should focus on getting a better grasp of their marketing spend and strategy. Part of this is to demonstrate the value of marketing expenses, while the other part is to quantify which marketing channels are performing at an optimal level – thereby reducing spend in channels that have maxed out their performance ability.

When a brand utilizes spend management, they are better equipped to:

  • Continue to demonstrate the value of marketing – especially in an environment that creates an opportunity to gain an edge on competitors who reduce marketing spend.
  • Highlight the channels where money can be spent more effectively and establish where to distribute spend among different marketing channels to determine which specific one is delivering the most ROI.
  • Measure the contribution of each channel.

By leveraging the right data, you can obtain consistent, fact-based information regarding your marketing, including your growth and performance patterns, variances, and risks. By investing in spend management and embracing the right tools and strategy, your brand can shrink costs, increase profits, and stay nimble to weather the economic storm.

Data is king during a recession. But as previously mentioned, wading through the overabundance of data can feel overwhelming and time-consuming. Luckily, our agency has vast experience with helping brands from various industries harness their data to level up their marketing and address their most pressing business challenges during economic uncertainty. Interested in seeing what our data-driven solutions can do for your brand to ensure you stay ahead of competitors? Connect with us today to find out how we can help you prepare and operate successfully during an economic downturn.

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Content Communications Specialist

Laura Colton