Haven't you heard? Analytics are the key to success. In marketing, data is the name of the game. And in the analytics game, it's sink or swim.
Enough with the metaphors. Anyone even remotely invested in marketing probably knows at this point that analytics just might be a little bit important to what you do. Without measuring the right data, you can forget about understand how successful your promotional efforts are, let alone how well your marketing budget is spent. But understanding the general importance of analytics doesn't solve a core problem: at the bottom of our hearts, none of us want to do it.
Sure, there might be some data experts out there who just love to run reports for the sake of running reports. But much more frequently, the opposite is true. Analytics becomes an important but difficult step of your marketing process. It's annoying at best, and easily ignored at worst. And yet, when that happens, you've already lost.
Because the key to success in measuring your marketing success is not biting your tongue and plunging ahead. Neither is it ignoring the numbers you get based on your efforts completely. Instead, the truth is much simpler: you need to make your analytics matter. And once you do, you might be surprised just how much of an impact they make in maximizing the results of your marketing.
Analytics Does Not Equal Insights
Think about your definition for analytics. Naturally, you will land somewhere along the lines of numbers and data, which can be analyzed to detect patterns and trends. One thing you likely won't be thinking of: insights.
Your definition of insights, on the other hand, probably doesn't have much to do with analytics. Instead, it tends to revolve around an a-ha moment that gave you the direction you need to move forward. Analytics and insights, to be frank, are not connected.
But maybe they should be. We tend to think of marketing analytics not as decision aides, but a necessary step to analyze past success. And while that undoubtedly matters, analytics cannot drive your business forward if they don't come with the natural next step in mind.
You cannot just collect and analyze the data - you also have to use it. And once you do, the impact will be drastic. Once you've made a better marketing decision because of a piece of data you collected (such as a successful A/B test), you will be surprised just how much easier it is to embrace the same analytics technique in the future.
Insights Need to Face the Future
Analytics as decision aides is only the beginning. To be successful, your insights also need to be future-facing. Consider this the natural step alongside the larger analytics movement, which is gradually rolling away from descriptive analytics and toward predictive analytics. As Information Week explains,
Predictive analytics is the next step up in data reduction. It utilizes a variety of statistical, modeling, data mining, and machine learning techniques to study recent and historical data, thereby allowing analysts to make predictions about the future.
All of that sounds a bit high-level. But we have good news: much of it can be automated. The key here is to not get swept away by the words, and look at the concept from a strategic perspective.
At its simplest, predictive analytics simply means embracing the future. It's largely using the same data as its descriptive counterparts, but leveraging it for better, forward-facing insights. The result is actionable data that can help not just your day-to-day decision making process, but the strategic direction of your company as a whole.
Think Beyond Tracking for Maximum Success
That, in turn, brings us to the third and final component of analytics that actually enlighten your marketing efforts. Yes, tracking matters. The reach, click-throughs, engagement, web conversions, and other social media metrics and digital marketing benchmarks are all important to understand exactly which of your marketing efforts work, and which don't. But they're just the beginning.
As mentioned above, what you do with these numbers to improve your future marketing matters more. And that's not all. In addition, it also makes sense to draw connections between them in order to get the maximum possible insights.
Most marketing firms, for instance, will tell you that reach and impression are largely vanity metrics with little impact on the actual business. In isolation, that might be true - there is little correlation between a Facebook user seeing your ad once and immediately buying your product. But what if that user has also seen other ads, clicked on a few, and is already a lead in your system? Now, that single view might have been the little push they needed to get out the door.
That's why you need to think beyond tracking, and move toward connections. The more you can approach your analytics from an audience perspective, the more you will see these connections appear. The result is an approach that treats your analytics not as a collection of tracked metrics, but an interconnected web of insights waiting to be uncovered.
Find a Partner Who Embraces Marketing Analytics
All of the above makes sense for a marketing firm like BOLD, which embraces analytics as a way to maximize digital marketing success. But the same might not be the case for your business, especially if you don't have the resources necessary for tracking, analysis, and decision-making based on the data you find.
When those resources don't exist, you risk becoming so disenchanted that your analytics never move beyond the annoying phase. Worse, you might abandon them altogether. In fact, that step would be a significant mistake. Look to find a partner instead that can jump into the niche and help you out exactly where you need it.
We can be that partner for you. We're proud in our ability to not just track and analyze relevant marketing data, but also leverage that data into insights that can lead to crucial decisions in the future. To learn more about a potential partnership, contact us.