Any conversation around marketing analytics must focus on the insights that we glean, not just the data that we analyze.
Retailers use purchase data to estimate a pregnant woman's due date and target relevant advertising accordingly. According to McKinsey & Company, Google used insights from big data to modify the font color in its ads, boosting click-throughs and increasing revenue by $200 million. B2B marketers identify spending (and gap) patterns by county to boost statewide demand generation.
We all have aggressive business goals to reach, and limited resources. That's why it's vital that any conversation around marketing analytics focus on the insights that we glean, not just the data that we analyze. We know that data - big or otherwise - can produce insights that drive business growth. Tools and technology are important, but even more so are leadership commitment, talent and strategic focus. The "why" we do this is because of the business insights.
All the great technology and analytic models in the world will not grow the business if we are measuring things that don't matter or are not actionable.
It's sort of shocking to see how often that point is missed in all the activity and investment in marketing analytics. I've had several opportunities in the past month to discuss how "big data" is being tapped to improve market share and drive growth. The strategies and practical applications of the analytics insights that are working best are those that focus on clearly defined business objectives, rather than on the size or scale of data.
Here are a few of the ways marketing analytics is being used in a "big data" world:
There are three big lessons for marketers to take away from these examples. First, what you decide not to do is just as important as what you do. The discipline of focusing on the right business drivers is a very difficult thing to achieve and get right. It usually takes deliberate collaboration between the analytics, operations, privacy/governance and marketing strategy teams.
Second, getting insights to the front line is essential to success. Having data-driven intelligence back at headquarters is great, but if you have sales, community and marketing people interacting with customers and prospects, you have to get those insights out to the people who can use and test them. These kinds of insights should be predictive and forward-thinking, not just reports on what has happened already.
Finally, all of your insights must be customer-centric; what will work for customers and prospects, not what will promote the team's favorite product attributes.
What are you doing to ensure marketing analytics insights are applied to the business? Please share in the comments section below.
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Stephanie Miller is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable online experiences. A digital marketing expert, she helps responsible data-driven marketers connect with the people, resources, and ideas they need to optimize response and revenue. She speaks and writes regularly and leads many industry initiatives as VP, Member Relations and Chief Listening Officer at the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org). Feedback and column ideas most welcome, to smiller AT the-dma DOT org or @stephanieSAM.
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