Marketing Analytics Strategies
These are the five steps necessary for planning and implementing a marketing analytics strategy
In the last several years, there has been a massive increase in the number of tools a marketer is expected to use. What’s more, as features multiply these point solutions are providing more data. The result is that the seamless journey from the customer’s perspective looks instead like a series of fragmented data views for the marketer.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a great way to benchmark success. Unfortunately, hitting a few KPIs out of the park doesn’t matter if your marketing organisation as a whole is missing its baseline targets — and often it can be difficult to understand why this is happening without an integrated data approach. How do different digital channels contribute traffic to your website? How do your offline channels influence your digital engagement?
Which campaigns drive the best conversion on your web forms and foot traffic? Which programs drive the most revenue and ROI across product lines, regions and customers? The true value in your KPIs is understanding how they come together to complete the bigger picture of the customer journey.
Map out your users, or anyone who needs access to your data to support their decision making and collaboration — from marketing to agency partners to your CEO. Also, build a list of any gatekeepers of the technologies that supply your data. Avoid delays in the future by identifying these relationships in advance.
Who needs to access your data? Mapping out stakeholders in this process feeds every other part, because at the end of the day it’s people who run your business. It’s people who plan and execute your marketing campaigns, by bringing their creativity and ingenuity to the table every day. An omni channel marketing analytics strategy will help people do their jobs better and more efficiently.
Map out a list of who needs access to your data. Who needs to make decisions? Who needs to collaborate? Include any teams, but also include all individuals for laying out data governance later. Consider marketing’s operational roles as well as leadership — and consider departments impacted by marketing such as Finance, Sales and IT.
In addition, you’ll want to list the gatekeepers of your data — often those who lead the integrations of tools into your organization (e.g., Salesforce, Google Analytics, internal customer databases)
In larger enterprises, your gatekeepers can vary between individuals, teams, or even external agencies. Mapping these relationships in advance will save you a lot of time in unexpected delays, denials and hunts for data sources in the future. The larger your organization, the more likely it is for these kinds of delays to occur
Create a list of your customer touchpoints and the related tools that generate your data. Which systems and partner help you attract, engage, convert and retain your customers? Data integration is where a lot of time can be lost, and confusion can arise. Therefore, when it comes to vendor consideration, choose a platform where the brunt of this work falls on the technology.
First, you’ll want to determine what sources of data you have. Often, in today’s marketing departments there are so many tools coming and going that a single individual may not be aware of them all. Consider all the touchpoints your brand has from the customer’s perspective. This can include marketing, sales, service and loyalty programs. A pro tip is to review your budgets, and then reach out to stakeholders and budget owners to ensure every crucial tool has been accounted for. These can include solutions under marketing’s budget, free tools as well as tools not under your department’s budget.
Data integration can be an incredibly time-intensive process — but it shouldn’t be. To offset increasingly limited IT resources and ever-shorter deadlines to manage marketing data’s messiness, you’ll want to ensure the platform you choose for marketing analytics has smart data integration and harmonization capabilities designed for marketers. These are the capabilities that will turn your disconnected “apples and oranges” data into one “apples to apples” single source of truth. Technical difficulties, or the need to enlist the help of — or hire — specialized data scientists can hamper the rest of the project, lead to data blind spots and leave you second guessing the veracity of your information. Make sure to prioritize data integration and data harmonisation capabilities designed for you as a marketer.
Set your KPIs
Gather, or determine, the KPIs, trends and correlations of your various marketing functions. This will help you determine what dashboards to build, and what views people need to see to measure their success. This section covers some essential marketing KPIs, and how to define what you need.
How do your various marketing groups, or individuals, measure their success? The answer should be threefold — and all are quantifiable: KPIs, trends and correlations. A defining feature of the marketing analytics strategy is the unification of KPIs, trends and correlations across views, for a seamless understanding of your marketing efforts. But to unify something, you should start with its parts. Since you’ve determined your stakeholders, briefly outline for each what their group does. Then, map out how you need to need to compare and contrast your data — these will inform your classifications.
Keep in mind the following types of KPIs, trends and correlations for each team member:
- Volume KPIs and trends across channels and the customer journey such as Total Awareness, Total Engagement, Total Conversions, Total Marketing Spend, Total Marketing-Impacted Revenue
- Efficiency KPIs and trends such as Cross-Campaign Conversion Rates, Cost-Per-Lead and Marketing ROI
- Correlations such as the relationship between offline and online activity, web traffic and leads, social activity and form completions, and ratios of lifetime customer values and customer acquisition costs per segment
It’s important to note that if you can’t easily blend your data sources, you can’t unify your KPIs and therefore will be stuck in the past decade of siloed marketing analytics. A smart analytics platform will help you transcend your siloed and disparate data, and bring your KPI metrics together without you having to think about it.
Whereas KPIs blend your data on the metric level, classifications blend and join your info at the dimensional level. Document how your team will need to look at the data, filter it and drill into it. This is the second key factor in how your dashboards will be created. In the next section, we’ll look at some examples in context.
Use visual analytics to build dashboards based on your core KPIs and segmentations, beginning with marketing’s highest goals. Then, break down your views. We’ll share examples of this culmination in a CMO dashboard, a digital marketing dashboard and an offline/online synergies dashboard. Is your data secure? Ensure you have a relationship with IT and you can work together to determine who gets access to what, and how. We’ll cover the best practices of data governance and how you can engender one of the most key cross-departmental relationships in the modern business — a happy marriage between marketing and IT.
Now that you have your KPIs, data sources, and understand who needs access to that data, you can build dashboards. Visual analytics is essential to seeing insights in your data; human brains aren’t designed to spot trends in endless tables of numbers. To keep things simple, it’s important for your analytics platform to not only make data integration easy, but come equipped with powerful and cogent visualization capabilities so building the dashboards is some- thing any business user can do.
These days, most marketing tools offer standalone analytics panels where you can see how your efforts are performing. A step further, there are dashboarding tools that can bring these views together so you’re looking at data from multiple solutions in one place. But even with a visualization, you’re still only halfway to omnichannel marketing analytics. Looking at siloed reports of your various marketing initiatives is little better than what you get from the built-in analytics found within the tools themselves. You need an analytics solution where blending and joining fields is easy — and fast. If you want to be thinking big picture with your marketing efforts, you need to be able to instantly pull up any KPI metric you can think of and easily combine multiple metrics into one visualization.
Data is increasingly considered one of the most important resources a business has. You need to ensure your data meets legal, compliance, and regulatory requirements before you scale, so you don’t end up creating a growing problem. Check with your solution vendor and validate with IT to ensure your implementation meets these requirements.
Though marketing team members should be able to easily access and make sense of marketing data, it’s important that the data governance approach of your platform provides for efficient management of user access to the platform’s capabilities and the data itself. On both fronts, you need to be able to restrict permission between users, teams and potentially external groups such as agency partners. You also need to ensure your solution provider’s infrastructure is certified and secure. Look for standardized certifications, such as ISO 27001 and partner with IT to include them in the vetting process.
Do your marketing leaders work with IT leaders? Based on the stakeholders you assembled in step one, kick-start these relationships to let both parties know they will be working together in some capacity. Staying aware of what tools are in use, and the utilization of these solutions, is not only useful for data integration but also for identifying who needs to access to what data.
Measure your success
With properly integrated data, you can use methods like an ROI calculator to measurably prove the business value of your solution. We’ll share a few examples of how to tell a clear and concise before/after ROI story to show leadership the value of your integrated analytics approach.
Even if it’s obvious to you, as a marketing leader you’ll need to credibly prove the business impact of your solution. The precursor is illustrating the structure you’ve now set in place using the rest of this guide, with anecdotes about overcoming roadblocks and bottlenecks by making marketing better aligned in their data usage – both internally, and with external groups like IT and agencies.
Don’t forget to show numeric changes in these areas:
- Improved campaign profitability through creative and placement level optimization
- Total Awareness, Engagement and Conversion Growth
- Lead, MQL and SQL growth
- Marketing Return on Investment (MROI) Growth