Christophe Kuhner[Posted by , Senior Prod­uct Mar­ket­ing Man­ager, Neolane]

These days, one would think that the terms “mar­ket­ing” and “ana­lyt­ics” would be stuck together like “peanut but­ter” and “jelly.”  After all, data-informed deci­sions are a marketer’s best friend; there’s safety, job secu­rity, and pro­mo­tions in quan­tifi­able mar­ket­ing results.  Few would argue the crit­i­cal role data should play in mak­ing bet­ter deci­sions in cross-channel mar­ket­ing efforts.  But many mar­keters strug­gle to use ana­lyt­ics out­side of tra­di­tional sources, such as web ana­lyt­ics and email.  In this blog post, we will explore a sim­ple and effec­tive approach to mar­ket­ing ana­lyt­ics that can pro­vide a core foun­da­tion for every mar­ket­ing organization.

A 3-Step Method­ol­ogy for Mar­ket­ing Analytics

At the heart of every data-driven deci­sion lie three essen­tial ele­ments that con­tex­tu­al­ize data and allow real busi­ness deci­sions to sur­face from the sea of num­bers that are pro­duced from mar­ket­ing activity.

  1. Under­stand
  2. Exe­cute
  3. Mon­i­tor

Each of these steps requires a dif­fer­ent appli­ca­tion of data and mar­ket­ing analytics:

1. Under­stand: Based on the source of the data, what type of busi­ness deci­sions can be extracted from the data?  It’s just like Lewis Car­roll said in the 1800’s “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  Analy­sis for the sake of analy­sis pro­vides lit­tle value and con­sumes pre­cious time in a marketer’s busy day.  Develop a basic under­stand­ing of what you plan to accom­plish with mar­ket­ing analytics—improved cus­tomer knowl­edge, new seg­ments, chan­nel effec­tive­ness, etc. It might even be appro­pri­ate to back into data require­ments by defin­ing a core busi­ness chal­lenge or key ques­tion that the orga­ni­za­tion would like to answer with the analy­sis.  This will help deter­mine exactly what data is required and pos­si­ble even iden­tify new oppor­tu­ni­ties for cap­tur­ing crit­i­cal data in the future.

2. Exe­cute: After devel­op­ing a core under­stand­ing of the data itself and trans­lat­ing that into busi­ness strat­egy, it’s time to exe­cute and act.  Often involv­ing some addi­tional refine­ment of the infor­ma­tion pro­duced in the Under­stand phase, exe­cu­tion may be done through report­ing engines, ana­lyt­i­cal mod­els, test­ing, and even spread­sheets. For exam­ple, if the goal of an ini­tia­tive is to improve online tar­get­ing, you may start with a series of tests (acces­si­ble in most dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing plat­forms) such as A/B test­ing, multi-variant test­ing, visual tar­get­ing, or pre­dic­tive tar­get­ing.  Test­ing offers an auto­mated means to use phys­i­cal data, rather than intu­ition or gut feel, to define exactly how you should act to max­i­mize mar­ket­ing results.

3. Mon­i­tor: It’s crit­i­cal for mar­keters to close the loop on ana­lyt­i­cal exer­cises through ongo­ing mon­i­tor­ing of a stan­dard set of KPIs.  This might be accom­plished via a dash­board or peri­odic report, but the goal should be to stan­dard­ize met­rics over time so you can estab­lish a bench­mark for sig­nif­i­cant changes in the data that may alert you to oppor­tu­ni­ties to opti­mize mar­ket­ing results.  This infor­ma­tion should also be avail­able for mar­keters to bet­ter under­stand and ini­ti­ate new cam­paign cycles.

Each of these three sim­ple steps forms a perpetually-optimized process for ana­lyz­ing mar­ket­ing data.   Nat­u­rally, it’s much eas­ier to apply mar­ket­ing ana­lyt­ics when a core sys­tem of record exists to cap­ture, aggre­gate, and ana­lyze cus­tomer data from a vari­ety of mar­ket­ing chan­nels.  Yes, mar­ket­ing ana­lyt­ics is mar­keters’ new best friend.  It’s cru­cial to per­form­ing and opti­miz­ing essen­tial daily tasks—but only if the tools are user-friendly, putting these three steps in the hands of mar­keters so they have full con­trol over the mar­ket­ing strat­egy.  For more infor­ma­tion on ana­lytic acces­si­ble tools for mar­keters, check out the blog post “The Evo­lu­tion of the Empow­ered Mar­keter: Action­able Ana­lyt­ics Shouldn’t Require a PhD.”

In my next blog post, we will explore another layer to the vir­tu­ous mar­ket­ing ana­lyt­ics cycle by iden­ti­fy­ing strate­gies for enrich­ing cus­tomer data for con­ver­sa­tional marketing.

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  1. […] effec­tive mar­ket­ing ana­lyt­ics whereby mar­keters seek to under­stand, exe­cute, and mon­i­tor data (See A 3-Step Approach to Mar­ket­ing Ana­lyt­ics.  This cycle allows mar­keters to add con­text to ana­lyt­i­cal deci­sions that form the basis for more […]

  2. […] a pre­vi­ous post “A 3-Step Approach to Mar­ket­ing Ana­lyt­ics” we out­lined a sim­ple method­ol­ogy for the appli­ca­tion of mea­sure­ment and ana­lyt­ics in […]

  3. […] a pre­vi­ous post, “A 3-Step Approach to Mar­ket­ing Ana­lyt­ics”, we out­lined a sim­ple method­ol­ogy for the appli­ca­tion of mea­sure­ment and ana­lyt­ics in […]