Tag Archives: Analytics

Analytics Isn’t Business Acumen but it is a Mighty Important Part of the Equation

In today’s data-driven environment it’s important not to confuse analytics with acumen. Analytics may help facilitate or enhance business acumen or astuteness, but it certainly doesn’t replace it. The Oxford English Dictionary defines acumen as “the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions.”

Analytics, on the other hand, is logical analysis derived by applying some type of algorithms or mathematics to data. In 2007, Davenport and Harris described analytics as a set of technologies and processes that use information and data to understand and analyze business performance. Certainly well-thought out logical analysis can be very useful in understanding and addressing business situations and making quick decisions that will produce a desired outcome. But there’s more to business acumen than logical analysis. A McKinsey article I once read framed this well, “good analysis in the hands of managers who have good judgment won’t naturally yield good decisions.”

Research by the Perth Leadership Institute, the Conference Executive Board (CEB) and others offer a variety of recommendations for how we can improve our business acumen. One of the key competencies cited is strong, quantitative skills. Why? Because being able to see the big picture requires an understanding of your market and how your organization operates in that market, and what drives profitability and cash flow for your organization. This is where analytics come into play.
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Across people, platforms, channels, screens, processes…

Big data, smart data, little data. Data is everywhere; it powers our daily lives. As consumer media consumption continues to shift digitally, marketers are faced with a new set of challenges in reaching their audiences with the right message, at the right time, and through the right channels. Marketers’ ability to collect and analyze data — big, small, social and otherwise — is needed to help create great customer experiences. This discussion will take a look at the ways marketing is adapting across people, platforms, processes, screens, and channels because of this surge of available data.

 

Personalize your marketing

For maximum impact and return, marketers must go beyond simple segment marketing or click reporting and create a personal dialogue with each visitor.

Behavioral digital analytics can fuel this personalization process by providing specific insights about each segment and individual. This can drive personalized product and content recommendations, as well as individually tailored retargeting for greater marketing ROI

Spending less on optimization impacts conversion rates

As marketing budgets are increasing, there is less money for marketing optimization, says the Adobe 2013 Digital Marketing Survey. The survey was published April 26th. Some 53 percent of the digital marketers surveyed from around the world say they devote less than 5 percent of their budget to optimization activities. Last year 48 percent of the marketers said this. Only 6 percent of respondents are allocating more than one-quarter of their budgets to these activities, relatively unchanged from last year’s 7 percent. And that is strange, because through optimization companies can reduce the costs of their marketing operations. By calculating the ROI for the optimization projects it can become apparent that the reason not to, is actually the reason to do it; saving budget.

Eye-openers

Adobe conducted this survey amongst 1800 marketers from around the World. “Some of the findings are eye-opening”, says John Cristofano, PR-Manager at  Adobe, “like data showing a majority of the companies surveyed spend 5 percent or less of their marketing budget on optimization activities. Five percent or less, even though it’s also clear from the data that companies investing more get more in return. For example, companies allocating more than 25 percent of marketing budgets to optimization are twice as likely to see high conversion rates.”

With these kinds of results, it’s only logical to ask why there are not more companies are investing in optimization. According to the survey there are two major challenges. Budget and resources are the two most important things, that hold marketers back says almost half of the respondents.

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Bridging Finance & Marketing Using Metrics

Finance departments often criticize marketing’s inability to present a tangible ROI and use financial measures. It’s a common lament and one we’ve all heard. Rob Stuart, Executive Vice President & Publisher at CFO Publishing, in a recent conversation reminds us that CFOs expect marketers to come prepared to describe what their ROI is going to be for marketing investments. CFOs want to know how marketing is going to measure success, the key performance indicators for a conference and the ROI targets. CFOs are looking at the big picture and the organization’s overall investments.

If we want the CFOs support we need forge a stronger partnership with our finance colleagues. The perception or reality of an antagonistic relationship needs to be replaced with collaboration. And one of the best way to begin to build this relationship is to work from the CFOs comfort zone: data, analytics and metrics.

You may think that you already do.  But here’s an example of how easy it is to throw things off kilter. A key source of the friction is derived from using the words with double meanings. For example, consider “brand equity”. The marketing professional uses the term to describe the health of the brand’s franchise with its key audiences; the financial professional uses it to characterize the brand as an economic asset. Whatever their differences, marketing and finance professionals need to find common ground.

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Drowning in data

The modern technology, and especially digital technology like e-mail, websites, mobile and social media, are a blessing for marketers. Not ever before were they able to gather so much data on what they do. But, this also comes with a danger. The flood of data is large, marketers are awash in data. Marketing analytics is the way to take control over this flood. In the 2013 Marketing Analytics Benchmark Report by MarketingSherpa the importance of marketing analytics is addressed.

Over 1.100 marketers are surveyed for this research. It provides insight into analytics for all kinds of marketing channels.

According to Marketingssherpa the surveyed marketers provided some interesting insights, and also highlighted areas where marketers could improve in taking advantage of this valuable marketing asset.

The availability of marketing analytics data is promising with 79% reporting having average, significant and even vast amounts of client interaction data to analyze. Only 3% reported having no analytics data at all. An overwhelming majority — 97% — of marketers have some amount of marketing analytics data to work with.

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Insight into Insights

If there was an ‘Insight’ Facebook page, it would have millions of Likes. Why have some marketers latched onto this concept tighter than a terrier with a new toy? This article explains what an insight is, why insights are essential to developing a competitive advantage, and a best practice for finding valuable customer and market insights.

What is an Insight?
Kieron Monahan of Arnold Worldwide offered one of the best definitions for insight that I’ve ever heard:

a surprising truth that makes you think again.

Insights are more than an observation; they are a discovery gleaned from the data and facts we collect. Insights serve a variety of purposes from sparking the innovation of new products to driving the delivery of a better customer experience.  Read More…

Using Attribution to Understand Content Impact on Customer Behavior

As we create more content, marketers are trying to understand the role this content plays in the buying process and which components have the greatest impact on generating conversation, consideration and ultimately consumption. So it’s no surprise that marketers are trying to understand how to leverage both marketing mix attribution and optimization models. Recently we’ve been receiving a number of questions about fractional and last-touch attribution. So we thought a brief tutorial on the topic of optimization and attribution modeling might be helpful.

There are a number of sources and tools available today to help create either model. Both attribution and optimization modeling are about improving mix and understanding the impact of marketing investments on customer behavior. Let’s begin by reviewing what these models are, when to use them, and how they are different.

Optimization Needs Attribution
Optimization relies on predictive models that track non-linear relationships between specific goals and spend levels in order to ‘predict’ the incremental changes in conversions based on the relationship between the variables. Many organizations attempt to ‘optimize’ campaigns via A/B testing, a form of scenario analysis. Unfortunately A/B testing doesn’t address the complex non-linear interactions. An algorithmic approach that simultaneously analyzes all possible scenarios is needed to see which combinations produce the best incremental results.

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Grade A-Marketers Measure Results

Marketing is under pressure to deliver results and drive business outcomes. But how are they doing? Research shows that measuring marketing’s performance is an area of major frustration for the C-Suite and a significant challenge for most marketers. In fact, according to the ITSMA and VisionEdge Marketing (VEM) just completed study, most marketers are dissatisfied with their MPM capabilities. On average, marketers award their marketing organization’s ability to manage its performance a 5.6 on a scale of 10.

In August 2012, ITSMA and VisionEdge Marketing conducted a Marketing Performance Management Survey with 405 marketers to assess marketing’s performance with regards to how they use data, metrics, and analytics. With more than a decade of industry ‘talk’ on the topic of marketing accountability,  this research shows that only a few exceptional marketers have cracked the code.

Those few marketers whose leadership team assigned them ‘A’ grade for their ability to demonstrate their impact to the business have adopted six principles of Marketing Performance Management to increase marketing ROI and contribution. They are:

  • Alignment
  • Accountability
  • Analytics
  • Automation
  • Alliances
  • Assessment

The A-list marketers VisionEdge has identified are able to show how marketing can benefit the organization: 96% say they can prove the direct link between business goals and marketing activities; 91% say it’s clear to the management how marketing impacts the business; and 90% say that marketing can measure and benchmark their results. That is another important takeaway from the study – the A category use statistics as a basis for important decisions, and are more mature when it comes to adoption of Marketing Automation systems.

The survey identified several characteristics in the organization of successful marketers:

  • Empower Marketing Operations
  • Implement integration and interoperability initiatives
  • Institutionalize marketing standards
  • Establish formal partners within IT, sales, and finance
  • Regularly benchmark to drive performance innovation

For more information, there is an abbreviated summary available for free download.
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Seven Key Steps for Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization

Members of the leadership team expect marketing to generate value for their organization. Why? For many organizations, over 80% of their value is derived from intangibles. These intangibles, such as marketplace position and customer relationships, are often produced by marketing initiatives and result from marketing investments. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the leadership team’s expectations and pressure on Marketing will continue to rise. Generating value requires marketing to help the organization capture market share, increase customer lifetime value and grow customer equity. It is essential that Marketing maps out a clear direction and, as we say in Texas, ‘Get ’er done’. Read More…