Innovation in analytics technology has impacted marketing strategy. However, the explosion in the number of digital tools that that businesses can use to look at the way their marketing campaigns perform can lead to confusion and trouble understanding what information is most pertinent to follow (1). Taking an integrated approach to analytics, whether you're looking at social media, content or search marketing, provides businesses with a more complete and trustworthy look into your strategy's execution. This approach can help companies loosen their marketing budgets by as much as 20 percent, depending on how well they carry out their analytics strategy.
In fact, having a plan is the foundation of a robust marketing analytics formula, and there are a few pitfalls to avoid when doing so.
Avoid the rearview window trap
This issue arises when companies look at the way they allocated their marketing budgets in previous years and use that as their baseline for future financial planning. By taking this route, businesses can end up putting money in places where it isn't needed. For instance, if your organization has generated strong return on investment while marketing a service through social media that you got up and running last year, it may mean that you don't need as many resources to keep that going. Meanwhile, you might be experiencing issues with your lead nurturing strategies, which will require a bit more time and money. The idea of pumping money into a marketing channel that has already exhibited success may seem like a good idea from a narrow perspective, but it will likely leave other areas vulnerable.
Don't skimp on the details
One strategy that seems derived from an introductory course on journalism or composition can help marketers get a clearer understanding of a strategy for marketing analytics. The five Ws – who, what, when, where and why – and "how" can assist in investigating a campaign (2). These have been used to analyze everything from news articles to entire novels, and they can be extrapolated to a marketing environment if you direct the questions toward a specific purpose. For instance, if you'd like to measure how well a white paper posted on your website functions during a specific campaign, you can ask:
- When was it downloaded?
- Who read it?
- What actions did the customer take after reading it?
There are almost innumerable questions that you can develop to analyze a campaign or even an individual piece of content. Before you let marketing analytics technology take over much of the process, it's important to begin with a sound strategy.