Marketing analytics can make a significant contribution to the success of any business. If you are dedicating a lot of budget to your marketing efforts, you want to feel confident in receiving an acceptable return on investment (ROI).
Executed effectively, marketing analytics can tell you where your promotional activities are delivering the strongest results, and where improvement is needed.
This is an area where many companies have struggled in the past, with a survey of senior executives published in the Harvard Business Review revealing that more than 80% of respondents weren’t satisfied with their ability to measure marketing ROI.
The market for software dedicated to marketing analytics is expected to grow substantially in the coming years, showing the level of business interest in getting it right.
In order to derive genuine value from your company’s analytics, you need to be sure you are dodging some of the most dangerous pitfalls. Here are some particularly common mistakes you should be careful to avoid.
1. Failing to set goals and metrics
Launching an analytics project without clear goals is largely a pointless exercise, since you won’t know what you are looking for or when you’ve achieved a satisfactory outcome.
Before embarking on your analytics journey, you need to identify the metrics that’ll be the most useful for showing how particular segments of the company’s overall marketing mix are performing.
If you’re looking at online marketing and want to gauge how effectively your content is attracting people to your website, for example, you will probably want to start with metrics like:
- Total website visits
- New visitor sessions
- Bounce rate
- Average session duration
2. Asking the wrong questions
Following on from this clear, you need to feel confident the questions you are asking through analytics are the ones that really matter to your business.
Prepare for the project by identifying your short-term and long-term objectives as a company, and outlining the part marketing has to play in achieving them. This will help ensure your analytics work is relevant, targeted and provides results that will help you grow and evolve as an organization.
3. Focusing too much on one area
It’s important to be targeted and precise in your marketing analytics, but you should also be cautious of focusing so much on a particular method or metric that you ignore other key areas.
As an author, speaker and business advisor, Bernard Marr points out in an article for Forbes that marketing analytics is a broad spectrum that offers huge opportunity for businesses to gain insights and evaluate ROI.
The marketing and sales channels that are bringing in the most revenue might be the primary focus of your analytics, but don’t overlook other critical components like brand strength and competitor performance.
4. Not validating results
It’s exciting when you start getting results and you gain what appear to be fascinating insights, but first you need to feel confident that the data in front of you is reliable. In other words, you need to validate the results.
According to Daniel Kehrer, executive editor of the ANA Analytics Center of Excellence, the most successful organizations do this by finding the balance between “marketing sensibility and statistical fit”. Evaluate what the analytics data is telling you against your existing knowledge and understanding of the business.
5. Failing to act on what you learn
Once you’ve harvested your data through analytics and taken the proper action to validate and verify your findings, the next step is to turn all this information into something genuinely valuable for the business. If you fail to act on it, analytics data is essentially a collection of statistics and numbers with no value.
Use the intelligence you gain from analytics to make changes and improvements in your marketing strategy. This could be anything from refreshing web content with the aim of bringing in more online visitors, to allocating more budget to a channel that has clear scope for growth.
Well-planned, structured and targeted analytics can provide the essential insights you need to make these sorts of changes and drive ROI from your marketing.