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How to Use Data in Digital Marketing and Boost Creativity

Written by:

Howard Tillerman is the Chief Marketing Officer for Making That Sale and an award-winning marketing professional.

Edited by:

Sallie, holding a Ph.D. from Walden University, is an experienced writing coach and editor with a background in marketing. She has served roles in corporate communications and taught at institutions like the University of Florida.

How to Use Data in Digital Marketing and Boost Creativity

How to Use Data in Digital Marketing and Boost Creativity

In this insightful interview, we sit down with Jaclyn Freedman, a distinguished figure in the digital marketing landscape, to explore her journey from a passionate writer to a leading voice in marketing strategy.

With a career that beautifully marries her love for literature with the dynamic world of marketing, Jaclyn talks about how her foundation in reading and writing has shaped her approach to content and digital marketing strategies.

From discussing the essence of B2B marketing success and sharing effective lead nurturing strategies to unveiling her process for developing impactful campaign strategies, Jaclyn offers a treasure trove of expertise. She also addresses the challenges in demand generation, reflects on the revolutionary role of AI and data in marketing, and shares valuable advice for aspiring marketers.

Join us as we uncover Jaclyn Freedman’s depth of marketing wisdom, highlighting the pivotal role of creativity, strategy, and data in crafting successful marketing initiatives.

Career Journey and Evolution

MTS – You started your career with a love for writing and reading, which led you into marketing. How has this background influenced your approach to digital marketing and content strategy?

Jaclyn – It is funny how often I find that my peers in marketing also have a degree in English literature! Having a passion for writing and reading acted as an initial gateway into marketing for me and for many other people I know. 

Loving the nuances of the written word requires a deeper understanding and respect for it. I’ve always been obsessed with crafting copy, and when studying it, you begin to see how so much of branding is copy, and you realize the power that exists there. 

Knowing this significance, I hold the digital marketing initiatives I interact with to a higher standard. Copy is often the first touchpoint — and knowing the power of strong copy, I demand a certain standard in everything I do.   

B2B Marketing Insights

MTS – In your experience with B2B marketing, what are the key elements that differentiate successful campaigns from the rest?

Jaclyn – Two elements make a campaign a success:

  1. Holistic strategy
  2. Reporting plan

A successful campaign will create conversions and generate traffic. What this means is specific to your campaign, but it all ties back to reporting. What do you consider a success? If you can’t quantify or report on an aspect of your efforts, then I would start back over and ask yourself why you’re working on this campaign in the first place.

The way to quantify your efforts is to start with a defined strategy. One touch point is never a campaign, and your efforts should mimic the journey your prospect must take. By outlining this in your strategy, you will poke holes and really establish a solid need. 

Lead Nurturing Strategies

MTS – Could you share some effective lead nurturing strategies that have worked well in your experience?

Jaclyn – Lead nurturing is best when it’s custom and tied to strategy. My favorite strategies often come right from sales: What do they need to close a deal?

I like to focus on the pipeline first — who is stuck, and how can we move them? 

Once strategies are in place for each mid-pipeline stage, nurturing for your forms is critical. A simple “Welcome” sequence can work.

Lastly, align with the buyer’s journey. If your campaign is merely throwing touchpoints into the dark, without sales alignment or true insight into what is needed to close the deal, you’re not going to be successful. 

Campaign Strategy Development

MTS – How do you approach developing a campaign strategy, and what are some common pitfalls to avoid?

Jaclyn – My approach to campaign strategy development always starts with two things — the audience and the goal. Once those are established and make sense, I start thinking about creative ways to reach the audience to accomplish the goal. 

From there, it’s campaign design, proposals, and content. I’m huge on educating throughout the buyer’s journey, so I try to do that for every single campaign. Rather than how can we get what we want, I always think about customers first. How can we educate the customer so that they understand the need? Then, how can we be present when they discover that need and seek a solution? Once I have a stellar campaign, copy, and ads, what are the best avenues to distribute that? How long will we do so? 

The most common pitfall to avoid is being reactive. By thinking about customers first and honing in on what they care about, you can avoid random acts of marketing or simply doing one-off things that align with higher-ups but no larger strategy.

Demand Generation Challenges

MTS – What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in demand generation, and how have you overcome them?

Jaclyn – Alignment and quantifying are always the big struggles. It is easy to come up with creative, fun ideas. Sometimes, it is even easy to execute them, but quantifying them and advocating for marketing spend, quarter after quarter, is the real name of the game. 

I think executives often like marketing and want solid branding. Still, when push comes to shove, marketing can quickly end up as “not a priority” if the alignment and quantifying are not happening. 

The best way to overcome these issues is by aligning with the bigger company goals and asking yourself if every single thing you are doing is moving the needle for that one thing. 

Innovations in Digital Marketing

MTS – What are some of the most significant innovations you’ve seen in digital marketing, and how have they impacted your strategies?

Jaclyn – AI is obviously a game-changer. We have the ability to run this whole thing through Grammarly and ChatGPT to ensure it is polished. We now have checks and balances and a place for creativity like never before. 

Another “innovation” has been the ability to compile and trust data. I think that over the years, we have gotten better at being human in our marketing, whether in B2C or B2B. We understand now that human behavior has to lead the way. 

Lead Generation Expertise

MTS – What innovative approaches or techniques have you found most effective in capturing high-quality leads, especially in the context of B2B marketing?

Jaclyn – I believe in a two-pronged approach to lead gen — content marketing and ABM. First, you have to create the content to establish a need and answer any questions the prospects may have. You have to be ready to meet them where they are, whether that be a webinar, an e-book, or an in-person event. Then, you have to supplement that with retargeting.

Next, you have to be comfortable segmenting your audience like never before. It makes more sense to send an email to fifty qualified, bottom-of-the-funnel leads than it does to a thousand maybes. You have to be comfortable sorting through your data to find the real leads and then discover what they need to convert. Create those resources, and you’ll close those deals. 

Tools and Resources

MTS – Could you share with us the key tools and resources you rely on in your digital marketing work, particularly for tasks like lead generation and campaign management?

Jaclyn – My tool list is pretty traditional. Hubspot is my holy grail. We use Salesforce for pipeline tracking and rely on LinkedIn and Google for ads. Mostly, I rely on a super-talented team of content strategists, web developers, marketing operations specialists, and product specialists to help make campaigns a success. The more brains the better!!! 

Some of my favorite secret tools are coschedule headline check, HemmingwayApp, ChatGPT 4 + Linkedin Genie, and the ability to schedule things in advance. 

Marketing Trends

MTS – What emerging trends in digital marketing do you think will be crucial for marketers to pay attention to in the near future?

Jaclyn – The beauty of 2024, with all of the tools available, is that everyone can be a marketer. However, only the best brands will segment and talk to their audiences in the right way so that they will see success. 

Since cookies will be disappearing, marketing will have to be more data-focused than ever, which means they will be more personalized; no more casting a wide net. This, combined with Google SERPs moving towards snippets, means less top-of-funnel “blog” content and more mid- and bottom-of-funnel conversion content.

Advice for Aspiring Marketers

MTS – What advice would you give to aspiring marketers who are just starting their careers? 

Jaclyn – English-obsessed or not, marketing is all about the numbers. Get comfortable early and quantify, quantify, quantify. The creativity lives in the data!!!