In Advertising, Let the Data Be Your Guide

Today, there is no shortage of data. There is exponentially more available data in our hands today than a decade ago, and there will be much more data available tomorrow than there is today. With so much information available, it’s strange that many still rely on their instincts or sales pitches to determine where to put their advertising dollars.

Most big companies get it. They will go so far as to buy other companies just to get access to their data. This has been common for decades, but today the ability to sift through and organize the data in a quickly-retrievable manner makes it even more prevalent than the past. For smaller companies, it gets a little more complicated, particularly if they’re working within a constraint such as limited potential customers bases or localization. That doesn’t mean it’s not impossible.

Let’s take a look at some of the things that local companies can use in order to have their own play on the “big data” revolution.


This is the easy one that most understand and even crave. We want to know the demographics of the area around us, whether it’s by age, race, or financial situation. Data allows businesses to break the data down into specific geographic areas such as cities and zip codes in order to find the right target audiences for the message.

There’s a challenge with demographics. It can often get so granular that the big picture is missed. For example, one might want to target Latinos with a particular message. They might find a location that has a high density of Latinos and target them with a message in Spanish. This seems like a great idea on the surface, but one needs to break it down further to determine if an identical message in English could reach the same or larger numbers of people within the area.

Buying Habits

The rise of eCommerce has helped many businesses find the right niche to target. What about companies that do not sell their products online? Nobody orders a haircut online, but they might go online to find the right barber. Few are buying cars online, but they research dealers online. The right buying habits might not necessarily be easy to determine based solely on the type of traffic a website receives.

This is where companies like automotive business intelligence agency String Automotive come in. They don’t just look at the data everyone has. They look at the actual buying habits of their clients. By pulling data from various sources such as Polk and Experian, they’re able to identify where particular cars are being purchased to guide dealers about what to advertise where. Just about every industry has a similar company available to them to help them make appropriate decisions based upon buying habits.

Advertising Venue Successes and Failures

Trial and error doesn’t have to be tedious. It can be driven by data as well. Not every location even within the same city responds to the same types of advertising venues. Some places react well to direct mail campaigns. Others prefer email marketing. Nearly every zip code in America prefers Google by far over Bing as a search engine, but there are places where Bing has a strong share of the market, strong enough to warrant advertising there as well as Google.

Many companies will pitch their products or services based upon successes they’ve had in different locations, but it’s important to know that they either have experience with success in your location or they have the means to determine how to find success quickly. We are no longer burdened by the need to long-term testing. The data for most types of marketing and advertising are available very quickly. That doesn’t mean that success or failure should be judged short-term only, but we’re no longer relegated to trying something for extended periods of time before we can make appropriate decisions about them.

Market Trends

Cottage industries have been built around the idea of focusing strictly on market trends. If a Sonata is selling well in one location and an Elantra is selling well in the zip code next door, then the trends can give businesses or marketing agencies the information they need to guide the appropriate advertising.

By following the trends and understanding the data, nobody has to be left in the dark. Of course, most will remain in the dark because they don’t realize how easy it is to get to this type of data.

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