Digital Marketing Analytics Wish List for 2011

A year ago, I reflected on digital marketing analytics over the past decade. Some digital marketing analytics practices had improved over 10 years and others were in need of remediation. Another year on and we’re still on the journey. So what would I like to see in 2011?

More Marketing Analytics Case Studies

As someone who attends conferences on both sides of the Atlantic, I have the opportunity to speak and to listen. Events like the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit offer the opportunity to hear what’s going on in the industry from some of the top practitioners. At the last eMetrics summit in October, companies like Dell and eBay gave great presentations discussing what it really takes to drive a business through analytics whether that involves people, processes, or technology. More companies should come forward to tell their story. By doing so, they help other practitioners build business cases for ongoing strategic investment in digital optimization. We definitely need to hear more often what it takes to become analytically agile and to move from a reporting mentality to an optimization mentality.

In particular, I what to hear more case studies around the challenges and benefits of multi-channel analytics, combining our Web data with other customer contact data from call centers, stores, branches or other touch points. Great case studies like the one from USAA are rare because it takes time to build up that kind of analytics capability. Nonetheless, it’s important for the industry to showcase its capabilities and show what can be done.

Improve the View of the Marketing Mix

As an industry, we still struggle with assessing our marketing budget’s performance. Its over a hundred years since said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” You could argue that nothing much has changed – even in the digital world. We still have real problems determining which media are working and which aren’t and often have to cling to the simplistic and naive last-click attribution view of the world.

Yet, there’s progress thanks to new technologies. On my wish list: I’d like to see improved attribution features added to Google Analytics. Because Google Analytics makes analysis relatively easy, they should try to incorporate ways to look at all marketing touch points in the path to conversion.

Less Data, More Stories

It would be great if we saw less data in 2011! That might seem like a strange wish from someone like me. But as digital analytics become more mainstream in business, analytics practices must become more user friendly. For that to happen, we must show less data around the business and tell more stories. To some extent, this involves challenging analysts in companies and agencies to generate more “insights” and to do that by showing fewer numbers. Real insights are often simple stories that are told well and in a way that the business can do something about. This requires time and to some extent, different skill sets. But hopefully in 2011 we will see more emphasis on turning our vast amounts of data into powerful and compelling stories.

With that, may I wish you all a prosperous and successful year ahead. What would you like to see happen in 2011?

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