How to Use Marketing Data to Differentiate Yourself & Beat Competitors

Kelly Shelton

January 14, 2021

We don’t need to tell you the importance of differentiating your brand from competitors on ecommerce. More competitors are entering the marketplace each day—Amazon is home to 2.3 million active sellers and Walmart boasted a 97% digital sales growth in Q2 of 2020. If brands aren’t actively focusing on differentiating themselves, they’ll quickly drown in the sea of competitors that are.

The key to differentiating yourself is simple: Data. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy to implement. It’s challenging to access the data that tells you how to set yourself apart. It’s even more challenging to analyze that data. And mastering the plethora of marketing tools and channels that help you adjust your strategy based on the data you’ve analyzed? That’s nearly impossible for brands to do on their own because of the myriad marketplaces, platforms, and softwares they use to manage it all.

Let’s talk about why data is crucial in setting yourself apart in ecommerce and how you can leverage its power to overcome the most common challenges ecommerce marketers face when trying to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Why data is the single most important factor in differentiating your brand

At Pattern, we’re data fanatics—and for a good reason. For brands selling on ecommerce, data-driven strategy is the key distinguishing factor between mediocre performance and phenomenal success. Brands that use data make more money and experience significantly more growth and opportunities. It’s as simple as that.

Here’s a few things data can help you do:

  • Data helps you understand your customers, where they’re buying from, their age group, their interests, and countless other details that help you deliver the experience that’s going to keep them coming back for more.
  • Data helps you understand your campaigns, how they’re performing, and how you can optimize those campaigns to reach your target audience and spend your dollars more effectively.
  • Data helps you understand conversion and retention, helping you maximize your ad dollars, convert at a higher rate, and improve your customer satisfaction.

When you use data to its full potential, your business is more efficient and effective. You spend less and get more, paying less in advertising and awareness per sale. You may be tempted to think that you can’t afford to incorporate data into your strategy, but the reality is that you can’t afford not to. Data gives you vision, perspective, opportunity, efficiency, and scalability—factors that together lead to more sales, stickier sales, better retention, cross-selling, and, at the end of the day, better margins.

How to overcome the common challenges of incorporating data into your marketing strategy

The first challenge marketers face with data is accessing it in the first place, especially considering that Amazon notoriously keeps data close to its chest. You may know how your brand and products fare on Amazon, but little about marketplace trends as a whole.

This is where it can be helpful to work with a partner. Pattern is the 5th largest seller on Amazon, and the sheer quantity of products we sell gives us valuable insights for our partners to apply. We also rely on Predict, our all-in-one ecommerce tracking tool that pulls live data from over 4,000 ecommerce sites each day. Predict helps brands make data-backed decisions when it comes to product listings, advertising, SEO optimization, keyword selection, and much more.

It can also be difficult to know how to interpret and apply data once you’ve accessed it. Even the best marketers can’t possibly know all of the marketing tools and platforms, much less be proficient in them. Processing and analyzing the near-limitless data and information isn’t just a full-time job—it’s a full-time job for a team. This is where Pattern comes in. And the best part? Our team of specialists, who are experts in marketing tools, don’t cost you a dime when you partner with us for free.

Integrating data tells the whole story

Amazon data is certainly insightful, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Data wields the most power when it’s integrated from across different platforms and channels, including marketplaces, search engines, and social media. Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Facebook Business Manager are all powerful tools that are too frequently ignored. Using these tools along with the data from Amazon gives you a more complete picture of how your brand is performing and what messages resonate with your customers.

In practice, what does it look like to integrate data? A brand might see, for example, Amazon search trends mirrored on other platforms, like Google, and know that the challenge they’re facing is universal, not platform-specific. They can then set goals to tackle that challenge from all angles. Another brand may notice that a specific ad is overperforming on Facebook, and they can then take that ad’s messaging and imagery and implement it in their Amazon product listing. Pattern has seen amazing results in implementing these strategies.

Building your brand with data

Building your brand is an oft-overlooked aspect of differentiating your product from competitors. Brands often make the mistake of only focusing on bottom-of-the-funnel marketing, which leads to conversion, while largely forgetting about top-of-the-funnel marketing, which leads to awareness.

Even though conversion is the quickest and easiest result to see, building awareness is just as important. People don’t just buy products anymore—they buy experiences. They want to buy these experiences from brands that they trust, and trust is preceded by familiarity. Brand building drives sales because, without it, people aren’t aware of a brand, much less trusting of it. When people trust a brand, they’re more likely to search for it organically and recommend it to their friends.

Like with all ecommerce marketing decisions, how to build your brand can and should be driven by data. Data can tell you about brand awareness and help you identify the awareness gaps your marketing strategies should be aiming to fill. Like we’ve mentioned before, data can also help you understand your customers and know how to effectively market your product to them.

When you’re building your brand, focus on what your consumers value about your brand and your product. One way we use data in this process is by creating word clouds out of product reviews and taking note of the most commonly praised features. Advertise these features front-and-center in your ads and product description pages.

At Pattern, we’re professionals at addressing the top of the funnel. Our experienced writers, advertisers, and creative team see the bigger picture and know how to manage every aspect of advertising across the funnel. We focus on long-term success, not quick wins, and prioritize sustainability and growth. We want our partners to thrive and grow for years to come, which wouldn’t be possible without advertising to customers at every step in their journey.

What now?

Data is the beginning, middle, and end of a successful ecommerce strategy. If you’re not making marketing decisions based on data, your brand is likely performing below its potential. But the good news is that it’s never too late to incorporate more data-driven decisions into your strategy and start reaping the rewards.

Are you ready to differentiate your brand from competitors by leveraging the power of data? That’s Pattern’s specialty, and we’re here to help. Our revolutionary software and specialized teams have the tools and expertise to help you leave your competitors in the dust. Fill out the form below to book a free consultation and get a free demo of our Predict software.

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Improve Your Amazon Advertising Strategy With One Simple Metric: True RoAS
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Improve Your Amazon Advertising Strategy With One Simple Metric: True RoAS

The purpose of advertising on Amazon is simple: increase traffic and conversions. But the approach to get those conversions is not always so simple. Your Amazon advertising strategy is based on current ad data and performance results such as your return on ad spend (RoAS). 

At a minimum, your RoAS number tells you how well you’re maximizing your ad spend. The problem is the RoAS you’re getting from Amazon or an advertising agency isn’t always accurate. 

As a top 3P seller on Amazon, Pattern helps brands improve their Amazon advertising strategy and results by providing them with one simple metric: true RoAS.

Understanding True RoAS

To understand why true RoAS is helpful to brands, you need to understand how Amazon and other agencies calculate and present your RoAS.

The key to growing your brand and maximizing your ad spend is to drive incremental traffic, rather than cannibalizing what has already taken place. For example, if you are selling probiotics, and paying for sponsored ads to win the keyword “probiotics for women”, but also organically ranked in the top results with the same keyword, that’s cannibalization. The RoAS score you would receive from Amazon includes that level of cannibalism, which inflates the number, causing you to pay more on ad spend. The best ads drive incremental growth instead of cannibalizing organic sales. 

At Pattern, we’ve created the acceleration software to make sure brands are getting their “true RoAS”. Pattern’s patented tool applies artificial intelligence to advertising to maximize incremental growth or true return on investment. 

Our software helps brands optimize their efforts by providing live and updated information on where your brand is not organically ranking, and what you should be paying for. If your ranking improves in one area, the ad spend will automatically decrease for those words or phrases until the software detects a drop in ranking, signaling that your ad spend should go up again. This dynamic monitoring of ad spend will help you maximize incremental growth and improve your RoAS.

Improve Your Amazon Ad Strategy with Pattern

Knowing your true RoAS is key to improving your Amazon performance. Advertising agencies and marketplace account managers often give you an inaccurate RoAS ratio or value, which only incentivizes you to spend more on advertising, ultimately increasing revenue for the agencies and/or marketplaces.

At Pattern, a 3P partner on Amazon and other marketplaces, we view our brands just as that: a partnership. When you win, we win. You succeed on Amazon by maximizing your ad spend and we have the data and resources to help you do just that. Accurate, transparent data and reporting will help improve your advertising strategy to drive more traffic to and conversions on your products. 

Ready to finally get your true RoAS? Contact us.   

Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears
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Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears

**Instrument Pricing Changes Tune Amid Record Inflation** Compared to 2022, consumers should expect to pay more for musical instruments, but the rate of inflation shows signs of slowing. **The backstory:** America’s most popular musical instruments saw a notable price increase in 2022 compared to 2021, but the rate of inflation eased in Q4 ’22. **Why it matters:** Slowing inflation within this product category could indicate economic pressures like increased demand, rising labor costs, and supply chain disruptions are easing across the consumer landscape. **What we’re seeing:** The average cost of musical instruments increased 7.5% from 2021 – 2022; however, when analyzing individual increases year over year, some instruments saw price increases as high as 21%. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-02Lwk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/02Lwk/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones experienced a 21.73% increase compared to 2021 * Trumpets +20.08% * Flutes +18.6% * Recorders +16.13% * Saxophones +13.63% * Clarinets +10.55% * Drums +5.41% * Ukuleles +5.17% **However:** Inflation among these same instruments was significantly less in Q4 ’22 compared to Q4 ’21. In some cases, prices decreased from Q4 ’21 – Q4 ‘22: <iframe title="Price Change for Instruments — Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-6X6GZ" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/6X6GZ/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones +11.23% * Flutes +10.41% * Saxophones +5.94% * Clarinets +5.59% * Trumpets +3.10% * Recorders +2.85% * Drums -2.59% * Ukuleles -8.46% **Moreover:** Certain instruments saw inflation reverse in 2022. On average, prices for melodicas, guitars, and violas saw their prices decrease by 4.41%, 3.19%, and 0.97%, respectively. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-0Tefk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/0Tefk/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="259" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **Diving Deeper:** Inflation was more significant when comparing Q4 ’21 to Q4 ’20 than when comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, indicating a slowing down of price increases for consumers. <iframe title="YOY Q4 Price Change for Instruments — 2020 – 2022" aria-label="Stacked Bars" id="datawrapper-chart-p6iqt" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/p6iqt/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="206" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * In Q4 ’21, average prices for all instruments were up 8.89% compared to Q4 ’20. * When comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, the average price for all instruments only increased by 2.65%. **The takeaway:** While consumers should expect to pay higher prices for instruments this year, overall inflation impact within this product category appears to be slowing down. With National Ukulele Day coming up on February 2, now is a great time for ecommerce brands to take advantage of slowing economic worries and reach new consumers. * Want Pattern’s data science team to power your brand with consumer insights like these? Contact us to [request more information](https://pattern.com/contact-us/) today.

Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us
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Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us

It’s safe to say consumers and brands alike are eager for a change to the pattern of rising inflation, steadily increasing in many ecommerce categories . Pattern’s internal team’s data scientists analysis of instrument pricing shows a glimmer of hope that inflation may be slowing, which would be great news for brands selling online.

At Pattern, we’re interested in and monitoring trends and news related to pricing since price is a key factor in a brand’s profitability (as explained in the Ecommerce Equation). When brands are able to optimize their price, conversions, and traffic, they can optimize their profitability. And profitability leads to better allocation of resources, better brand control, and gives leaders the ability to expand their presence to new markets worldwide.

YoY Instrument Pricing Increased at a Slower Pace

When analyzing the pricing changes of instruments from 2021 to 2022, our teams found that prices increased, but at a slower rate than from 2020 to 2021.

As shown below, the year over year Q4 changes show quite a lower rate of increase.

Inflation Improvements Raise Profitability

Because inflation impacts online shopping behaviors, lower inflation can lead to better overall profitability for brands. This idea, of course, is nuanced, but Pattern’s Ecommerce Equation can help illustrate the general principle.

When inflation rises, consumers change their spending habits. Shoppers spend more time researching products, forego premium, higher-priced brands, and buy more in bulk. Brands tend to see a loss of loyalty as they’re forced to raise prices.

Price is a key variable in the Ecommerce Equation: price x conversion x traffic = profitability. As inflation lowers, brands can expect better performance in all of these areas—more traffic as spending habits return to normal, higher conversion from returning customers, and price that better fits consumer demand. As inflation lowers and these variables stabilize, brands will see profitability increase.

Raise Your Profitability with Pattern

As an ecommerce accelerator, Pattern is obsessed with gathering data that helps our brand partners succeed. We’ve created best-in-class technology, models, and analytics to understand changes on the horizon and inform our decisions. With an incredible team of data obsessed Pattern employees, we see what makes the difference in truly great ecommerce performance and apply those learnings for brand partners. 

Ready to improve your profitability? Contact us here.