Measuring marketing effectiveness has always been a challenge. According to the Unica State of Marketing 2013 report, nearly 60% of respondents listed “measurement, analysis and learning” as their top IT bottleneck, whereas last year, they overwhelmingly viewed “IT support of marketing needs” at the top. Additionally, more than 60% identified “turning data into action” as their top organizational issue.
But when marketers hear the work ‘analytics’, we think of metrics associated with web analytrics like traffic, page views, time-on-page, etc. As marketers, we really need much richer and actionable data to understand the performance of our marketing campaigns.
What are marketing analytics?
HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe clearly differentiates web analytics and marketing analytics:
“Web analytics measure things a webmaster cares about, like page load times, page views per visit, and time on site. Marketing analytics, on the other hand, measure business metrics like traffic, leads, and sales, and which events (both on and off your website) influence whether leads become customers.
Marketing analytics includes data not only from your website, but also from other sources like email, social media, and even offline events. Marketing analytics are also usually people-centric, featuring the prospect, lead, or customer as the unit of focus, whereas web analytics usually regard the page view as the unit of focus in its reports.”
Marketing analytics help marketers understand the effectiveness of our marketing, not just the effectiveness of the website. We can determine how each of our marketing channels (blogging, social media, email marketing, etc) drives results and compare them to each other, so we can adjust our campaigns and be even more effective.
Marketing analytics also helps us determine the real ROI of our marketing efforts.
Digital marketing’s most under-utilized channel/asset is conversion analytics
CMO.com reports that digital marketing’s most under-utilized channel/asset is conversion analytics, and IfbyPhone reports that less than 33% of marketers can effectively evaluate the ROI of each channel.
So why is marketing analytics so underutilized by many marketers? Probably because of platform fragmentation. Most marketers need to have a number of different marketing analytics platforms in place in order to glean all the insights they need to understand their marketing performance, and thus make sound decisions.
What marketing analytics can do for you
There are quite a few things that marketing analytics achieves where website analytics fall short. Here are three of the main differentiators.
1. Integration across different marketing channels
With marketing analytics, you can see the relationships between your marketing channels (e.g. blogging, social media, email marketing) and easily tie the effect of multiple channels’ performances together.
For example, let’s say you send an email to a segmented list of your prospects. Marketing analytics can tell you not only how many people clicked through from your email to your website, but also how many of those people actually converted into leads for your business after they got to the website. Then you can compare the impact of that email campaign with other marketing initiatives — did that email generate more leads than the blog post you published last week? What about compared to our social media?
2. Person-centric data reveals customer lifecycle
A key differentiator between web analytics and marketing analytics is that the latter uses the person — not the page view — as the focal point. This enables you to track how your individual prospects and leads are interacting with your various marketing initiatives over time. How did that lead initially come to your website? In search? Via LinkedIn? From direct traffic? Is that lead an active part of your email subscriber base? Do they read your blog? Marketing analytics can tell you all of this and more, providing valuable lead intelligence that can be applied to further lead nurturing.
Looking at all this information in aggregate can help you understand trends and which marketing activities are valuable at different stages in the sales cycle. This makes it possible to implement an effective lead management process, enabling you to score and prioritize your leads and identify which activities contribute to a sales qualified lead for your company.
3. Closed-loop data
You can even use your marketing analytics to tie marketing activities to sales. Your blog may be effective in generating leads, but are those leads turning into sales? Closed-loop marketing analytics can tell you if your marketing analytics system is hooked up with your customer relationship management (CRM) platform, such as Salesforce, SugarCRM, etc.
Having this closed-loop data can help you determine which individual marketing efforts are contributing to the bottom line, and which channels are most critical for driving sales.
What you can do with marketing analytics
Of course, all the information you gather from your marketing analytics is only valuable if you use it! The true value of analytics isn’t just to prove to your boss that all the marketing activities you’re doing are worthwhile (although this is a good interim use for them!). The analytics can help you improve and optimize your marketing performance on a channel-by-channel basis as nd turn your efforts into a highly effective marketing machine.
If you’re relying solely on web analytics, you’re missing out on a lot of very useful data that can help inform your marketing strategy.
Photo courtesy of World Series Boxing.