Marketing is tough. Marketers are expected to be jacks of all trades: Brand manager, technology expert, social butterfly and head collaborator. Yet at the end of the day marketing is often a thankless job. Unfortunately the fruits of our labors are often six degrees of separation removed from our actual efforts. We do not directly sell and there is no physical doo-dad at the end of the day that we can point to in order to justify our existence. Enter the world of ‘marketing analytics.’
What the heck are marketing analytics? Marketing analytics are the lifeblood of your efforts. You spend countless hours working on integrated marketing content – blogs, newsletters, infographics, proposals and much more! Yet at the end of the day can you honestly claim to understand the impact of these efforts? Marketing analytics are not only the indicators of our successes but the learning blocks of our mistakes.
Don’t fool yourself! Know what metrics are worth tracking.
Like many things in life, we can often get caught focusing too much on the nice-pretty red herring rather than digging deep and identifying what truly matters. Metrics are no different! Marketers often get caught looking at superficial statistics rather than focusing in on metrics strengthen our business case. To better understand what kind of metrics you should focus on let’s identify the two main data types:
Vanity Metrics | these metrics often look good – and make you feel good – at first glance. Unfortunately, vanity metrics focus on pumping up our ego – not our business. I often equate these metrics to a high school popularity contest: All that matters is how many people sign my yearbook. But don’t be fooled, these metrics are not your friends. So what are some examples of these metrics?
- Total website visits
- Page views
- Number of subscribers or followers
As you can see, these metrics look good at first. But do they actually provide actionable data that allows you to drive your business case forward? The ambiguity of these analytics leaves your marketing efforts reactive rather than proactive.
Action Metrics | meaningful metrics are the bread and butter of your efforts. To be able to leverage marketing analytics to improve your marketing campaigns you must be able to understand the customer behavior represented by these metrics. Using the above high school analogy, these action metrics are representative of the number of people that invite you to their party. These metrics do not only want to know you – they want to hang out with you! Examples include:
- Site behaviors – what are people actually viewing and consuming on your website
- Who is converting; is there a common buyer persona?
- Customer acquisition costs
These metrics actually mean something to your business. They are not only indicative of your efforts, but reflective of your results.
How do we track marketing analytics?
So now that we understand what we want to track we must figure out how to track our desired marketing analytics. Luckily for you, there are hundreds of tools out there. Highlighted below are examples of each type of tool you will want to add to your marketing arsenal.
Content Management System (CMS) | a content management system will allow you to seamlessly optimize all of your integrated marketing efforts within your website. Gone are the days of fumbling with html and css codes. While in the day-to-day trenches of marketing you need the ability to quickly and easily access the living data regarding your marketing campaigns – and this is precisely what a CMS allows you to do.
Examples of CMS include:
Whatever CMS you decide is right for you, make sure that it integrated with all of your other business systems and processes to provide you with maximum visibility.
Web Analytics Platform| integrating your website with a Web analytics platform is essential for taking the step from analytics-shmoe to analytics-pro. Yes, you already get analytics from your CMS. However, think of a CMS as fast food and a full Web analytics platform as a five-course meal. Your Web analytics platform is your go-to asset when you need the full meat and potatoes of reporting.
Examples of Web analytics platforms include:
- Google analytics
Understanding a full Web analytics platform can be intimidating. Luckily you can often find free training. For example, Google offers a free analytics certification course that you can complete at your own leisure!
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System | what good are all of these marketing analytics if you can’t actually do anything with them? A CRM system will allow you to better understand your leads, holistically track your marketing campaigns and most importantly provide you with the tools needed to build meaningful relationships. Our CRM recommendation for professional-services firms is Deltek Vision.
Go forth and spread your analytical marketing wings!
Gone are the days where you fear that your marketing efforts will be glossed over. You now have the tools and knowledge needed to go out and make something of your marketing campaigns! We hope that you take this new found knowledge and prove your resolve by becoming an analytical marketing guru!