Don’t be Lost in Space: Marketing Analytics Illuminate “Dark Matters” with Scientific Clarity
“Modeling Dark Matter in the Universe”
We all know great marketing data matters. But having concrete metrics to prove marketing’s impact on the business, and using these metrics to accurately plan and predict the impact of marketing campaign decisions… that is an evolving universe! Most of us have barely begun the voyage.
Just 24% of marketers say they consistently use data to develop actionable insights for marketing strategies. The No. 2 complaint (after lack of budget) is “difficulty in interpreting big data.” Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit.
64% of marketers claim their companies suffer from “digital dysfunction,” uncertainty about how to integrate digital strategies into the marketing mix. Source: Domus with Harris Interactive.
Let’s explore the evolution of thought, about a marketing analytics framework to measure and predict marketing’s impact on the business.
- The Unaided Eye: Flying blind
- I Glimpse the Light from a Far Universe: Manual reporting
- Technology at Last: Automated, integrated dashboards for proactive planning and reporting results
The Unaided Eye: Flying Blind
Here is what life is like for most marketers today, who have yet to embark on the marketing analytics journey:
- No way to tell compelling stories of marketing’s impact on the business.
- Teams awash in marketing data and struggling to manage it. Disparate reports. No integrated view. Endless hours of reporting, pulling numbers from a welter of data sources—paper printouts, digital files sitting in email inboxes, a miscellany of applications and logins, and vast, unproductive tedium.
- Greater and lesser campaign stars, with no way to calibrate their relative brilliance: Google Adwords, Yahoo and Bing Ads. Google DFA and DFP, Facebook Ads, AppNexus, The Trade Desk, TubeMogul, Yahoo APT, Mixpo, Simpli.fi, Jivox, SiteScout, Millenial Media’s Jumptap. Twitter, Facebook Insights, LinkedIn, Foursquare, YouTube, Vendasta, Yelp. AVANSER, Callcap, Constant Contact, MailChimp, Marchex, ExactTarget, Data-Dynamix, PulsePoint, V12 Group’s Launchpad. Google Analytics, Moz, TruMeasure. A million points of light… or darkness.
This darkness is the reality for many marketers, though hard to admit. Why?
- Each specialized campaign tool produces its own single stream of data, in its own unique format.
- Reporting functionality in these tools, if available at all, lacks the advanced analyses needed.
- Our many clients and partners each have their own reporting process and format.
Where to begin?
Companies must develop “empirically-based engagement strategies,” strategies informed by data around past customer experiences and behaviors. Source: McKinsey & Company.
Many marketers just starting to tackle data integration get sidetracked by attempting to do it manually. It’s an inefficient and cumbersome process, as we see below…
I Glimpse the Light from a Far Universe: Manual Reporting
Let’s say we recognize we need unified reporting. First primitive thought: a master spreadsheet of important KPIs culled from all the single-channel campaign reports. Monthly. Perhaps weekly. For different audiences (management, clients, operations, etc.)
Major data wrangling! It’s the right general idea, to extract data from each of our specialized campaign tools and summarize it in a meaningful way for visibility into cross-channel performance.
But…. We want to skip this stage! Why?
- It costs: whether marketers do it themselves, or pay agencies, it is labor-intensive. There is a repetitive cost for manual reporting that never ends. And, marketers can spend more time cutting, pasting and transforming marketing data sets than on analyzing the data and gathering insights.
- Defining which KPIs matter, and what metrics to pull out of the various tools is a challenge. How to pull KPIs from disparate channels and data sets, then merge them in ways that make cross-channel sense?
- Time delay: manual reports are never really up-to-date. Extracting data manually simply takes a lot of time. Reports can be light years behind! And when data is old, we risk basing our decisions on stale information.
- The data is error prone. By definition, it is manual, and such a multi-faceted, complex task involves a high probability of errors.
The right marketing reporting and analytics solution is a strategic decision, ensuring that marketing activity and business outcomes are aligned, with immediate visibility of results.
“Too often, teams try to aggregate interesting data sources and see where it takes them. Data scientists and business managers need to define their problem[s] … and desired outcomes.” Source: Information Week
So, integrating and managing data manually is untenable in the increasingly multi-channel marketing landscape. Too complicated. Too expensive. Too slow. Trying to turn unwieldy marketing data sets into a decision-driving business asset by repeating the same rote steps week after week is no job for marketers! It’s a job for technology!
Happily, there is technology that allows marketers to skip this painful manual reporting phase: enter, TapAnalytics.
Technology at Last: Automated, integrated dashboards for proactive planning and reporting results
The TapAnalytics marketing campaign reporting and analytics platform offers integrated management data for real-time decisions. The benefits of letting technology do the heavy lifting of integrating and structuring cross-channel marketing data are immense.
- Immediate data and analytics for marketing decisions. Cross-channel and cross-campaign performance data is delivered on demand, for fast marketing action and optimization.
- Insight and action. Automating cross-channel marketing reporting eliminates data chaos so marketers can focus on making better decisions. Marketing data to optimize within channels and inform cross-channel strategy.
- Accuracy. Automated data, directly from the campaign tool source, is more accurate and reliable than manual spreadsheets. Accessible, trustworthy, accurate results.
- Flexibility. View metrics at any level of granularity, with drill-down views integrated across many platforms. And, it’s easy to add channels, campaigns, clients, etc.
- Aggregated marketing data from all disparate sources in dashboards and real-time reports, with accurate, complete cross-channel analytics. Near real-time visibility into performance across all channels.
- Self-serve dashboards deliver immediate answers in seconds, instead of weeks. Identify trends early, recognize mistakes quickly, optimize continuously, and spot opportunities in time to act on them. Use data to plan and experiment. Make spend decisions based on real-time performance data.
- Communication is easy with shared reports and dashboards. Automated, integrated reporting and shared dashboards help all stakeholders collaborate as a team and share decisions.
45% of executives view “marketers’ limited competency in data analysis as a major obstacle to implementing more effective strategies.” Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit
Predictive marketing is the final frontier, and with the integrated TapAnalytics accurate view of the past, data can be used to predict, act, and plan.
The use of forward-looking data analysis has tripled since 2009. Source: Accenture, Analytics in Action.
“Forward-looking companies are using predictive analytics across a range of disparate data types to achieve greater value.” Source: Information Week.
Predictive modeling is forward-looking, the process of determining the most likely outcome based on historical data sets. The more historical data points, with results, to extrapolate from, the better the predictive ability will be.
With TapAnalytics, marketers can kick off a campaign with a clear target and manage to that target in real time, having access to historical data and a trusted, structured baseline by which to set targets and a real-time feedback loop.
First, use TapAnalytics to understand the baseline, the historical steady state, before beginning a particular campaign or marketing initiative. Then, set quantifiable targets for the increase in metrics expected for the additional investment and marketing efforts. Check for feedback. Track variances daily, comparing planned and actual numbers, and use this insight to change the investment mix as needed, on the fly, acting proactively to eliminate negative variances.
37% of marketers say the “ability to use data analysis to extract predictive findings from Big Data is our highest priority.” Five years ago, it was just 17%. Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit
Let There Be Light: TapAnalytics Illuminates the Marketing Universe
Today, marketers face increasing pressure to quantify their contribution to the business.
68% of marketers say there is more pressure to show ROI on spend, and 75% say it’s their greatest concern, yet 56% say we’re unprepared for ROI accountability. Source: IBM Global CMO Study.
Don’t fly blind, with data locked away in disparate silos! And don’t be sidetracked into wasting time on manual reports! TapAnalytics will illuminate your universe, and that of your management and clients.
Only 25% of marketers can answer the question, “What is marketing’s impact on the business?” And 85% of marketers see even more future pressure to describe marketing’s value and contribution to the business. Source: VEM/ITSMA.
Explore what our integrated TapAnalytics marketing analytics capabilities can do for you, your management and your clients!
- MIND THE MARKETING GAP, The Economist Intelligence Unit
- YOUR COMPANY CAN SEE THE FUTURE WITH PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS, Forbes
- ANALYTICS AND ACTION: BREAKTHROUGHS AND BARRIERS ON THE JOURNEY TO ROI, Accenture
- MARKETING PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SURVEY, VEM/ITSMA
- STUDY REVEALS WIDESPREAD DIGITAL DYSFUNCTION AMONG MARKETERS, Domus with Harris Interactive
- DIGITIZING THE CONSUMER DECISION JOURNEY, McKinsey & Company
- Predictive Analytics: 6 Teamwork Tips, Information Week
- FROM STRETCHED TO STRENGTHENED, 2014 IBM Global CMO Study
- ANALYTICS THE MOST DESIRABLE AND LARGEST TALENT GAP FOR 2014, The Future Buzz
- MARKETER’S GUIDE TO ACTIONABLE DATA, MarketingProfs