Predictions for business in 2014 centred on data: how to collect it, how to organize it and how to best analyse it. And it is not just data – it is mobile data, performance data, big data, and even data about how to best collect and analyse data. Your company needs this data to understand your customer better, to refine marketing initiatives and to determine the true ROI from your campaigns. The easiest way to manage all of this is through marketing analytics.
Analytics provide your team with meaningful patterns in data; marketing analytics gathers data from all of your marketing channels – social media, email blasts, etc. – and consolidates it. This is on a far larger scale than website analytics (a useful, common tool already in use by many companies). But those who have a handle on all facets of data and use the information it provides to their benefit are at an advantage over those who cannot keep up with fast-moving data technology.
Web vs. marketing
Web analytics is an extremely popular tool for many companies, providing tons of information specific to your company’s website. Its goal is to provide understanding about and optimize web usage; Google Analytics is one of the most widely used programs to manage this information. Trends from media successes and failures are evident through this channel, demonstrated by how traffic changes throughout a marketing campaign.
Marketing analytics provides an understanding of the effectiveness of an entire marketing campaign, not just the effectiveness of the website throughout the marketing campaign. HubSpot, one of the world’s leading platforms for marketing software, knows a thing or two about the different between web and marketing analytics.
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“Web analytics measure things a webmaster cares about, like page load times, page views per visit, and time on site,” saidMike Volpe, HubSpot CMO. “Marketing analytics, on the other hand, measures business metrics like traffic, leads, and sales, and which events (both on and off your website) influence whether leads become customers. Marketing analytics includes data not only from your website, but also from other sources like email, social media, and even offline events. Marketing analytics is also usually people-centric, featuring the prospect, lead, or customer as the unit of focus, whereas web analytics usually regard the page view as the unit of focus in its reports.”
Several positive attributes of marketing analytics have already been made apparent, but this is not all. This specific way to channel information combines all data relevant to your mission, and gives you a big picture of your company’s efforts. By doing this, marketing analytics provides you with a closed loop for your data: marketing activity is tied directly to sales.
With this helpful consolidation, you will have direct proof of what works and what does not. Not only that, but you will also have information that will help improve and optimize marketing performance and plan innovative and successful marketing campaigns in the future.
Australia’s Specialty Fashion Group decided to use SDL’s customer experience management platform. They had already centralized all of their member data, but with the Microsoft Excel interface, basic data manipulation was limited and required a lot of work. A broad range of tools came with SDL’s platform, including analysis tools, multi-channel engagement and optimisation.
“With analytics, we can figure out what the customer really is interested in,” CFO Alison Henriksen said. “Our open and click through rates on emails today are 40 to 50 per cent, which is translating directly into sales; we also know where the customer shopped. In addition, we have seen a campaign uplift of 3 per cent in sales in our control groups.”
Australian company Rezdy Software uses marketing automation from Hubspot, as they had limited resources (both with staff and reliable tools) and needed to centralize their efforts. Since using a tool that combined all their efforts, their traffic increased by 380 percent and their leads by 500 percent.
Data and data collection have become an integral part of business, and at this point there is no ignoring it and no going back. The competitive advantage to correctly utilizing the data your company collects is enormous. To be prepared for the next onslaught of innovation in the field (or to catch up to data in the first place), your company must have staff that is prepared to use these tools.
Implementing in your office
Today’s marketing goes beyond your website, and so should your analytics plan. To have one set in place that supports the goals of your company will take a bit of planning, but will yield great results. If you already have web analytics, or have other data collection running, the best way to begin is to fill in some of your larger gaps. Software and manpower can be expensive, so starting where you truly need the support will give you a better ROI. As you and your analytics team become more comfortable with the flow of data to be analysed, the smaller gaps can be filled over time.
The best way to be successful is to hire the right people, but in this case, hiring enough of the right people to manage the data collection and analysing workload is key. Jobs in data are some of the most attractive jobs in the current market, and there are quite a few young people looking to get into the sector. Although it’s expensive to hire, making sure you have enough staff to support analytics reporting is key, as it is the department that many companies complain becomes the most bottlenecked by requests.
One of the reasons some companies do not apply marketing analytics is because they can be a hassle to get implemented. Having knowledgeable staff that can guide your decisions on what to monitor and what software or apps to do so with are worth their weight in gold. Strive to keep data collection and organization as efficient as possible, as your analytics staff should spend the majority of their time analysing.
Using a balance of analytic techniques will also be a great help to your marketing department. Your business will want a way to look into the past, analyse the present, and figure out the best way to predict or influence future trends. The key factor here is to measure what matters. Page views can only tell you so much, but tracking how customer buying increases or decreases in accordance with the timeline of your marketing campaign is invaluable.
Data and analytics are going to be the focus of many business efforts in the foreseeable future – make sure it’s part of yours. The benefits from integrating marketing analytics into your business model far outweigh the growing pains it takes for your marketing department to become an analysis powerhouse.