So perhaps, the crucial question that marketers wanting to deploy data analytics in 2017 will face is – which is the right marketing analytics solution for me?
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The chances of being stuck with a wrong buy are high if expectations, requirements, and needs are not listed prior to purchase. Each business has its own unique needs, thus necessitating the purchase of a digital analytics solution that specifically addresses those needs. What works for John may not work for Jerry.
But before that, let’s understand what marketing analytics is about.
What Is Marketing Analytics?
This form of analytics consists of techniques and technologies that help digital marketers assess the success of their marketing campaigns. Marketing analytics is used to manage and study various metrics to determine the return on investment (ROI) of content such as blog posts, marketing channels like social media, and calls-to-action (CTAs). But marketing analytics can be multi-purpose: beyond understanding how to get leads and converting them into sales, marketing analytics offers insights into customer preferences and market trends.
All the data from all the sources and channels are gathered and then combined into a unified view to help marketers use the analytics to determine how their marketing initiatives were working out to be.
You could, of course, ditch the traditional method of choosing a web analytics tool, as suggested by the marketing evangelist Avinash Kaushik in this post, “How to Choose a Web Analytics Tool: A Radical Alternative”. Avinash argues that the current methodology is flawed, going ahead and listing what those faults are.
Avinash may be right or wrong in expounding his theory. We think though that a “one glove fits all” approach does not work at all. Customers’ needs differ not only from industry to industry but also from business to business. Even customers of two, almost identical businesses, for example, e-commerce, may have different needs. Thus, a diligent approach has to be taken while zeroing in on a marketing analytics solution.
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Before we go any further, let’s understand how important marketing analytics is.
Importance Of Marketing Analytics
Why is analytics important in marketing? The importance of marketing analytics cannot be overstated. As we’ve seen, over the decades, new technologies were implemented in businesses, mostly in silos. The result: the output was never connected or a whole. Different departments had different “solutions” to problems. There was no single version of the truth.
As we all know by now, just social media data is not enough, neither is website analytics. That’s the genesis of marketing analytics. The importance of marketing analytics lies in one simple fact: it considers all marketing efforts across all channels over a certain period of time for better decision-making and effective marketing program execution.
By now, it is also a known fact that businesses not making decisions based on data in marketing stand to lose as much as a 20 percent increase in marketing ROI. Marketing analytics helps to understand what is currently happening in your marketing, to also learn what has happened in the past, and come to a conclusion on what will happen in the future.
Marketing analytics helps businesses get insights into the performance of previous campaigns to come to conclusions about why the results happened they did. This helps marketing teams to repeat success or avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.
It does not stop there. Marketing analytics tracks the performance of ongoing marketing campaigns, helping marketers optimize campaigns in real time.
Using predictive models such as clustering, regression analysis, and so on, businesses can forecast changes in consumer behavior. You can, for example, predict which lead is most likely to convert.
All of this helps a business get from their marketing buck. Transforming marketing analytics intelligence into research objectives helps businesses channel efforts in the right direction and at the right time.
Problems That Can Be Solved With Marketing Analytics
Marketing analytics is a critical tool in helping a business, regardless of size, drive growth. Things that can be addressed by this form of analytics are: the performance of marketing initiatives what needs to be improved, and how does your marketing campaign compare with your competition?
For example, an optimized marketing campaign using Bayesian Regression Analytics can be used to focus your business’ messaging strategy from attribute-oriented to customer experience-oriented.
Marketing analytics can also help in providing answers to questions like Are my marketing resources correctly allocated? Is my business allocating the right budget to the right channels? How do we prioritize marketing investments?
Analytics can also be used to better customer relationships with your business and build better relations. Marketing analytics can help eliminate customer problems even before they happen, many times without the knowledge of the customer. An example is a product recall even before the customer has faced a problem with the product. Thus, marketing analytics can be used in a proactive manner, and help your business strengthen customer relationships.
Components Of Marketing Analytics
Much of any market analysis depends on prior market research the analysis. Once all the information from research is in place, it’s assessed and compartmentalized into components for market analysis.
Marketing analytics consists of:
Central database: This is a given. Data analytics needs access to marketing data, which preferably has to be in one place. Without it, analytics will not add any value. This must also store historical data, or else it will never be feasible to understand marketing trends.
Dashboards: Marketing analytics experts do require the wherewithal to deep-dive into the data and customize their reports. One needs easy-to-understand dashboards to help all the team members to understand the analysis.
Consumer profile: A customer profile means the target audience in the business market. Demographics include income, buying patterns, location, or age. Plus, having knowledge of the market size, too, is important. What’s more, how the target demographic regards the company is also important. An analysis of all this information lets the business understand consumer attitudes.
Market Trends: Closely watching market trends brings context to a business. Research here helps understand the socio-politico-cultural trends that affect the demographic.
Competition: Like trends, monitoring the competition helps understand how the target demographic perceives the competitor’s brand, and how the competition could affect the business in the future.
Writing in Forbes on how to choose the best analytics software, top web influencer Neil Patel says “the last thing you want is to be stuck with a cumbersome, arduous platform that lacks user-friendliness and doesn’t meet the specific needs of your marketing team.”
We’ve drawn up the top 5 essential criteria that will help you choose the right software for your business:
The free spin: That’s right. Do not hesitate to ask the solutions provider for a free test drive of the software you intend to buy. That’s the most basic requirement. Once done, the marketer can give his/her feedback to the rest of the key management members.
Ease of use and integration: Cut through the razzle, dazzle, bells, and whistles that many marketing analytics software come with these days, and get to the bone, so to speak. Think of your business objectives, and the metrics that need to be measured, and examine if the solution under consideration gives you that. No harm in a solution provider giving you a wide range of features but focus on the ones you want from that system, and the results that feature can provide.
One thing to note here is: what is the level of expertise in your company? Do you have one analyst or a team on board, or are you planning to recruit some soon? If those skills are not present in your business, you might be better off buying an easy-to-use solution than a heavy-duty enterprise version. Also, don’t forget one more thing – the ability of the new solution to integrate with your existing enterprise software. If it does not, you may find yourself incurring extra costs, let alone the additional headache of integration.
Cost: Capital investment as well as operating costs matter. Plan ahead for three years minimum. The solution may look the cheapest compared to others but may turn out to be bare-boned. Transparency in pricing is important. You must know as a customer the price of add-ons and any updates likely to arise in this period.
Real-time capability: Your business may not need it now but analytics technology is getting better, every passing day. With advanced tech comes to ease of use and then, and you may find real-time analytics makes more sense for your enterprise. Since buying a marketing analytics solution is not a short-term buy, understand whether the product you have zeroed in on delivers real-time analytics or at least has the capability of an upgrade, at less or no extra costs.
Must be multi-channel ready: Marketing these days, more or less, is multi-channel. You use social media, email marketing, blogs, newsletters, SEO, etc to get your message across. Understand the number of marketing channels your business currently uses, then ask yourself if the number’s likely to go up in the near future. The solution you choose must retain the ability to monitor your existing channels from one platform, and quickly upgrade to add even more.
Have we not listed a feature that you think is also important while selecting marketing analytics software? Write to us.
How EA Can Help With Marketing Analytics
Express Analytics offers agile marketing analytics solutions for all types of businesses. We make your every campaign marketing campaign count. Our platform makes it easy for you to design and measure the key performance indicators of your campaign. We help you gather everything you know or want about your customers in order to get the full picture.
We tailor-make campaigns to target customers individually, using our campaign management analytics solution to help you respond to your customer’s changing needs. This will help you build brand loyalty, and also deliver a consistent experience across channels.
Our budget and forecasting solution allows you to stay on the top of your game by avoiding budget and forecasting delays. Our tools allow collaborative forecasting, what-if scenario generation, and evaluation of various forecasts before arriving at a “consensus forecast”. Our platform integrates data collection, analysis, revision, and reporting into a streamlined process making it possible for you to analyze results across multiple branches and business units within hours after the end of a budgeting cycle.
Get in touch with us to understand how our solutions can boost your marketing.