Marketers need to know things. They need to know about their customers, campaigns, channels, and the results of their decisions. Most of all they need to know what is working and what needs to be adjusted. Enter marketing analytics: quantitative data that is collected, analyzed, and converted into actionable information that resolves key marketing business decisions.
“A set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making.”
As Steve Rayson, director at content analytics firm Buzzumo, put it: “First, you use the analytics to prove the value of what you’re doing or to prove the impact of what you’re doing. Second, you gain insight so that you can improve what you do.”
Investment in marketing analytics has been on the uptick for sometime thanks to technological advances like search engine optimization and programmatic ad systems, which are highly dependent on a steady stream of data. In fact, the average marketer devotes more than 11-percent of their total budget on analytics alone, according to research by CMO Survey.
One of the goals of that investment is to create a holistic picture of the customer’s journey by amalgamating information collected at every stage. Marketing, operations, and sales are all vast sources of data. Any one of them could reveal valuable insights, but taken together they can be an absolute disruptor.
Understand Your Past and Present to Prepare for the Future
More than just a tool for optimizing individual campaigns or vet short-term strategies, robust marketing analytics are a necessary component for trendspotting and laying the foundation for growth in the months and years ahead.
“First, you use the analytics to prove the value of what you’re doing or to prove the impact of what you’re doing. Second, you gain insight so that you can improve what you do.”
- Are your current resources a good fit for the expected demand?
- Is your brand portfolio (and each brand’s unique positioning) succeeding in differentiating from competitors?
- Are short term efforts feeding into a holistic framework for building brand awareness, converting sales, nurturing loyalists, and improving profitability?
These questions can only be empirically answered with a copious source of feedback and diligent analysis that converts raw data into actionable business intelligence, which Forrester Research defines as: “a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making.”
In 2020, All Marketing is Data-Driven
One caveat though, is that actionable knowledge is time sensitive. Too many organizations forget that fact and overbuild their analytics machine in a way that can’t keep pace with the real world. A fact learned after it’s useful may help theorists and academics, but companies and brands seeking a competitive advantage need to be more agile than that. They need to be able to collect and analyze their data fast enough to make productive use of it.
That can be a challenge when all our newfangled, digitally connected, and dashboard equipped tools are producing so much data. Old ways of doing things just can’t keep up. But, there’s hope yet. Deep learning and other cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies look like a path forward, and highly tuned algorithms and cloud servers can process data faster and more efficiently than an army of human statisticians.
However, not only is the deluge of data an issue, but a surfeit of analytic tools can be daunting as well. According to consultants from McKinsey: “Companies have so many analytical options at their disposal that they often become paralyzed, defaulting to just one tool.” Often that one tool is Google Analytics because it’s so ubiquitous and remarkably full featured.
Seek the Whole Picture
But, just looking at web traffic and keywords will never substitute for a truly ‘integrated marketing-analytics approach’ that accepts data from all your channels and looks at them through various lenses.
The endgame is a model that lets you know how your marketing is performing (and how it compares to the competition), which channels are providing the greatest ROI (which in turn helps you better allocate resources), and finally where you need improvement.
Not only does it feed into typical applications like maximizing sales and lead generation, it gives the kind of insights into customer preferences and industry trends that are crucial for longer term strategic decision-making.
Want to learn how to optimize your return on marketing investment with advanced analytics? Talk to the experts.