Why marketing analytics fall short


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I recently came across an article that really hit the nail on the head when it comes to why marketing analytics continues to fall short. Carl F. Mela and Christine Moorman, Professors at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, dove into this topic following reports from the 2018 CMO Survey where they found marketing analytics budget allocations would increase from 5.8% to 17.3%. Not bad, right? The big kicker, however, is that marketers are still reporting modest effects on business performance following the implementations of analytics programs or tools.

The Big Data Promise

The influx of data alone sets an optimistic tone for the possibility of measuring and improving business performance. However, Moorman and Mela, with the help of the Marketing Science Institute, identified two factors that seemingly keep businesses from realizing the full potential of their marketing analytics:

  1. The data itself
  2. Analytics talent

Stating, “The gap between the promise and the reality of analytics points to a disconnect that needs resolution. Companies need to align their data strategy and data analyst talent better to realize the potential that analytics can bring to marketing managers”.

Problems with data

Just like any good plan, marketing analytics requires strategic thought and consideration from the get-go. Most marketing data will be coming from an array of sources so from the start we need to identify the useful data, from the vanity or junk, and communicate that to those in charge of collecting or integrating sources. Furthermore, by clearly defining business objectives, it will be easier to map the data needed as well as communicate relevant insights later on down the line.

Don’t stop there. Solutions need to be scalable enough to not only map data to objectives but also to relevant roles or teams within an organization who can act on that data. For example, a CMO will most likely expect a different range of KPIs and details than that of an email marketing executive. Where one may need to see more granular metrics, the other will need a quick overview to understand overall standings.

In addition to bettering communication around business strategy with analytics needs, it is just as important to consider the medium in which information is delivered. What an analyst may consider second nature, may be far from what a marketer sees as useful or applicable. Try to focus on providing insight rather than information. Data visualization tools, for example, are great for analytics exploration, however, for those who need to know the status of their campaigns, they will expect to see information laid out in an easily consumable format.

Our suggestion for user-friendly marketing analytics, would be to do as we mentioned above, scale your reports to only deliver KPIs relevant to individual roles/teams. Trim to provide actionable information as well as to avoid drowning out useful metrics, with “nice-to-have” fluff. Find the right format, be it a marketing analytics dashboard, app, PDF or PPTX — something your team is comfortable consulting and can be readily adopted. Collaborative tools that encourage conversation within reporting solutions or alerts around goals can help encourage adoption among marketing teams.

Finally, don’t forget to invest in the development and skills of your marketing and analytics teams. Changes rarely happen overnight, but training including both analytical and communication based can encourage active participation in marketing analytics initiatives. Therefore, helping your team optimize their marketing analytics and decision-making practices.

At Sweetspot, we recognize marketing analytics projects are never easy and take a lot of effort from inception to action. Therefore, we’ve created a free guide that outlines the full process of implementing a successful enterprise reporting solution. Download it today for more helpful tips! 

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Holly McKendry

Sweetspot Marketing Director. Wakeboarder & travel enthusiast. Communication Studies graduate of Texas State University, San Marcos.

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