Data-Driven Marketing Strategies: Harnessing the Potential of Learning Agendas

Nicholas Love

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We live in a world that requires rich experiences at each touchpoint to deepen consideration and drive conversions for companies interested in acquiring mindshare. In today's creator economy, competition is tough, and expectations are high, as collectively, modern marketers face the burden to demonstrate the ROI of their efforts and show that success is a result of their strategies and isn't something that would have happened anyway.

Throughout life, I've learned that with competition and rigor, opportunities exist to learn and become more effective. Never before has a marketer had the ability to gather as much intelligence about audience preferences and tendencies as they do today. Omnichannel marketing is no longer a nice to have as much as it's a necessary approach to sustainably reaching your desired outcomes. Today's marketers must pivot from being reactive to being proactive, and proactive marketing starts with ongoing intelligence gathering. With massive amounts of data readily available to clean, measure, and analyze, strategists often face the challenge of deciding what to measure and report on. A learning agenda can help you identify and define the most critical data points for future planning.

Why do you need a learning agenda?

Simply put, a learning agenda is a set of questions designed to improve your understanding of your target audience. It should be designed and executed to create actionable and insightful reports. Learning agendas ultimately provide an organized understanding of your audience, marketing, or communication efforts, allowing you to get smarter about your audiences through a disciplined testing framework.

What are the steps to creating a learning agenda?

First, you must manage any instinctive thoughts that you may have about your audience that would lead you to make critical decisions. We all have assumptions, especially about the needs of our audiences. We want them to like our offerings, so we assume we know how to encourage buying behavior. Except that only sometimes works.

Your next step is to establish a testing brief. This document should align with your communications or marketing calendar to prioritize when the campaign will start and end. After you've decided on your testing schedule, your brief should specify the type of test being deployed, how long the test will run, the segment size, the control group, and key metrics. This information will inform future strategies and optimizations. Defining the data you are looking for will assist in preventing analysis paralysis or data fatigue.

Lastly, be ready to do this all over again. Document your results, so you can run the test as needed to establish a clear understanding of trends, and keep campaigns efficient. Remember, testing is all about learning and evolving. When you repeat the learning agenda, you collect more data and become a better marketing professional. After all, the more you know, the more you don't. Learning agendas are about being proactive as the only thing in life that is constant is change.

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