Make Data the Centerpiece of Campaigns with Marketing Analytics
September 18, 2012
Information is a key tool for companies – it enables them to see what they are doing right and wrong, and can inform future campaigns and business decisions. Real-time data and marketing analytics enables companies to respond to campaign performance and maximize return on investment (ROI).
Unfortunately, however, this valuable data can be hard to gather. A report from Forrester Research suggests that 61 percent of businesses view being able to measure the results of marketing campaigns as important to the success of their campaigns. However, only 23 percent say they have access to the data needed to determine how campaigns will impact sales.
The Growth of Big Data
“Big Data” and analytics have quickly become prevalent buzzwords in the marketing industry. Big Data refers to information about the consumer that can be tapped into and leveraged in a way that can improve the results of marketing initiatives. Customer preferences, buying tendencies, channel engagement and demographic information – all of these metrics could potentially be used to inform marketing decisions, if companies had access to this data.
While marketers have traditionally yearned for this data, it hasn’t always been easy to ascertain. For example, studies could be done to see who responded to direct mail pieces, but only a limited amount of information could be gathered by the sender. Almost all of their metrics were determined by respondents, and they gleaned nothing from those who didn’t take action on the marketing collateral.
In the online age, however, that is less of an issue. Through marketing analytics, companies can now gather more information on their prospects, even if they don’t respond to engagement attempts. For example, regardless of whether customers purchase a product after being emailed, marketers can tell whether they opened a message and if they clicked any links in it. After they’ve clicked a link, analytics can be used to determine which pages they viewed and what products they would be most interested in.
In a multichannel marketing campaign, data can be used to determine which platforms are most useful for engaging customers. For instance, if the same person is an email subscriber, Facebook fan and Twitter follower, companies can observe which channels they are most likely to respond through.
Marketing analytics information can be leveraged to create a full customer profile and enable brands to produce more relevant marketing collateral. With data as the centerpiece of their marketing efforts, companies can better focus on reaching specific customers through the appropriate marketing channels and offering them products and services that are relevant to their needs.
Barriers to Data Use
While Big Data has taken a more prominent role, many companies feel their use of marketing performance analytics is being hampered.
According to a recent report from the New York American Marketing Association and the Columbia Business School’s Center on Global Brand Leadership, 91 percent of senior corporate marketers believe implementing customer data into their campaigns in a relevant way is crucial, but 39 percent feel they don’t do so with their own initiatives.
The biggest barrier noted by respondents was the inability to share data across companies and departments, with 51 percent saying this obstacle limited the number of data points that businesses could use to create relevant marketing initiatives.
Fortunately, distributed marketing platforms can help alleviate some of those issues by creating a closed-loop environment that encourages communication across companies and departments.