The 5-step approach to becoming an analytical marketer
Contributor Nandini Rathi examines how smart marketers are turning to analytics to bridge the gap between knowledge and execution.
In this age of data-driven marketing, marketers are empowered by analytics as much as they are by creativity. Buyer personas — no longer built in the “set it and forget” way — are constantly evolving to better understand consumer behaviors. Marketers with analytical acumen will be the winners in the personalization game in this new landscape.
Today, CMOs (chief marketing officers) are the decision-makers of the technology stacks their companies implement in an effort to gain deeper customer insights. In fact, CMOs are expected to control more technology spending than IT departments this year, according to a Gartner survey.
Much of that spending is expected to go towards analytics, with CMOs planning to increase their spending on marketing analytics by as much as 375 percent in the next three to five years, according to The CMO Survey 2017. So, if you want stay ahead of the curve, here are five approaches to help you build an analytical culture in your organization.
1. Vanity vs. clarity metrics: Be mindful of your metrics
[blockquote cite=”Benjamin Franklin”]Never confuse motion with action.[/blockquote]
Marketers track a variety of metrics, but tracking the right metrics is the key to marketing success.
For instance, a lot of e-commerce businesses spend a large portion of their budgets on acquiring new visitors — hence the number of new visitors is one of the most important vanity metrics they focus on. While, in reality, once a new visitor comes to your website, clarity metrics will give you more information on that prospect’s behavior, such as products he browsed, whether he signed up, whether he made return visits and so on.
While vanity metrics are important on a superficial level, clarity metrics are the metrics that matter. Without an analytical bent of mind, it’s easy to slip into the wrong territory.
2. Choose your dashboards wisely
Marketers have to juggle between multiple data dashboards, most of which are complicated. Instead of leaving everything to the data scientists, arm yourselves with these dashboards to measure and analyze data for any trends and patterns.
These dashboards are based on historical data to serve up real-time reports of all marketing activities, performance stats of the campaigns undertaken and so on. For example, an operational dashboard of an e-commerce store will display information such as the average revenue per day or revenue distribution by gender and messages sent per channel.
A business can have different operational dashboards for various departments. But remember, these dashboards don’t interpret data by any means.
Advanced analytics dashboards
These dashboards are designed to offer data drill-downs at a more granular level. They’re highly customizable and driven by your business KPIs. This is what marketers spend most of their time on to convert data into actionable insights.
As a marketer, it’s important to ask the right questions in order to correctly customize these dashboards. You can also generate numerous on-demand reports to make predictions — for example, predicting the most profitable segment.
The CMO Survey (PDF) cited certain factors that prevent marketers from using analytics. Almost a third reported that the biggest factor is the lack of processes or tools to measure success through analytics.
The key is to choose a marketing analytics platform that will give you the freedom to create custom dashboards based on your KPIs.
3. Data without knowledge gaps
Over half of marketers struggle to seamlessly connect data across channels. Without a seamless data flow, a holistic customer view will remain a challenge.
A single customer view is the key to gaining customer intelligence and using this knowledge to personalize your messages for every consumer across channels. Aligning your marketing efforts with the customer journey strengthens customer loyalty and advocacy.
4. Deeper perspective towards segmentation
Marketers are swamped with so much customer data at their disposal that making use of it to personalize messaging for the individual customer has become a great challenge. To do more targeted, personalized marketing, marketers need to seek a deeper perspective into buying behaviors.
With a good marketing tool and an analytical approach, marketers can easily identify and focus on the customer segments that hold the most promise. For example, if like a lot of e-commerce businesses, you’re struggling with a high cart abandonment rate, instead of offering discounts to everyone, you can identify the carts with high-profit margin items, and then give discounts without incurring losses.
5. Data vs. gut-instinct decision-making
Marketers with analytical acumen will be the ones who will win the personalization game in the age of big data. Modern CMOs aren’t spending marketing budgets based on their assumptions; they are pairing data with analytics to optimize their marketing.
Analytics isn’t about charts and data. It’s about the capability to translate that data into actionable insights.