Modern marketing is a data-driven process fueled by analytics. Without analyzing relevant key performance indicators (KPI), businesses can't tell whether their marketing efforts are providing the expected return on investment (ROI). Marketing analytics is the key to evaluating past performance and determining how to improve it going forward.

What is marketing analytics?

Marketing analytics is a set of technologies and methods used to transform raw data into marketing insights. The goal of marketing analytics is to maximize ROI from an enterprise's marketing initiatives. Marketing analytics encompasses tools for planning, managing, and evaluating these efforts across every channel.

Marketers use established business metrics, and sometimes create new KPIs, to measure the success of their organizations' marketing initiatives. These metrics include:

  • Profitability segmented by demographic
  • Churn rate
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Public perception

Businesses can analyze performance indicators alongside other data, such as customer profiles or demographic trends, to reveal the causal links between marketing decisions and actual sales.

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Benefits of marketing analytics

Marketing analytics makes advertising more effective and automates many rote tasks:

  • Marketing analytics helps stakeholders achieve a comprehensive view across all marketing channels, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, and social media. Analytics can clarify the big picture, as well as dig down into more granular marketing trends.
  • Marketing analytics tools improve lead generation by providing the insights needed to optimize advertising efforts and target the most profitable consumers. Better leads generate more sales and improved ROI.
  • Marketing analytics provides insights into customer behavior and preferences. Businesses can then tailor their marketing initiatives to meet the needs of individual consumers.
  • Marketing analytics enables real-time decision support as well as proactive management. Modern analytics tools make it easy for stakeholders to analyze data as it comes in, so marketing can be adjusted as required by changing trends, and they also allow businesses to use predictive analytics to anticipate those trends rather than react to them.

Challenges of marketing analytics

Enterprises should be aware of the challenges that come with using marketing analytics:

  • Many organizations and their marketing teams still struggle to integrate data, which can keep analysts and engineers from being able to access the information they need. Enterprises need to break down data silos that isolate information, as marketing analytics initiatives may flounder if analysts lack access to data from all marketing channels. Organizations should centralize their information in a data warehouse so analysts can work with integrated and accessible data.
  • Enterprises need to ensure that they have management buy-in and personnel with analytics expertise. Many marketers lack analytics experience, and some executives and marketing decision-makers remain reluctant to make the up-front investments required in employees or infrastructure. Take the time up front to evaluate existing obstacles to using analytics and make the hires or pitches necessary to overcome them.
  • Businesses need to select the right KPIs. Marketers can easily focus on metrics that are either too granular or too unfocused. To avoid this, enterprises should link performance measurements to concrete business requirements and objectives. For example, a retailer could choose a specific goal, like increasing profits by 10%, and then select a limited number of KPIs related to that goal that are appropriate for its industry, like sales per employee or average transaction value.
  • Collecting any customer data involves privacy concerns. Organizations should establish data governance and data security policies to ensure that their customers' sensitive information stays protected.

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How to use marketing analytics

Marketing analytics can benefit organizations' marketing initiatives across all channels. Enterprises should consider the many applications of marketing analytics and determine which may be valuable to them.

Understand search marketing

Many organizations access huge markets through search engines like Google, where consumers often begin their purchasing journeys. Search engine marketing (SEM) promotes businesses and raises online visibility through advertising on search engine results pages (SERP). Revenue from digital advertising in the U.S. breaks new records every year, and search advertising accounts for almost half of this revenue. Businesses can use services like Google Ads and Bing Ads to expand their reach.

Organizations need marketing analytics to track and optimize the performance of their SEM efforts. One application of SEM analytics might involve serving different versions of the same ad to a randomized set of browsers and then comparing the performance of these ads in real time.

Search engine optimization (SEO) involves adjusting web content and structure to improve organic search engine rankings. An enterprise can use SEO to reach more consumers and enhance its brand. Tools like Google Analytics allow businesses to track relevant KPIs and analyze how their SEO initiatives are progressing and how to improve them.

Analyze social media engagement

More than a third of the world's population — including 98% of digital consumers — spend time on social media, averaging almost two and a half hours per day on these platforms. While SEM drives sales from customers who are searching for specific products, social media marketing can generate interest and demand from new groups of consumers. Social media is now the primary or sole marketing channel for many businesses and organizations, such as crafts sellers on Pinterest, fashion brands on Instagram, and nonprofits on Facebook. Many social media platforms offer their own analytics tools, such as Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics, and third-party options are available as well.

Analyzing data obtained through social media platforms can provide valuable insights for building business or customer relationships. For example, marketers can set up an account to automatically post information about new products or features as they come out, use an analytics tool to evaluate consumer sentiment through comments or reactions without manually sifting through the data, and then rework their social media marketing as necessary.

Optimize email marketing

Though businesses can use email promotions to reach new audiences, email marketing is more often concerned with existing customers who have opted in to mailing lists or have already purchased products and services. Email provides a more direct gauge of consumer sentiment than other channels, because existing customers are more likely to respond to surveys or interact with advertised material. Popular email marketing tools include Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Mailjet, and Autopilot.

Enterprises can use analytics to optimize and personalize email marketing efforts. Analyzing how customers interact with different email promotions can help businesses target their email marketing and tailor their messages to meet customer expectations and needs. Enterprises can use marketing analytics to determine, for instance, whether customers respond well to certain keywords, emails sent at particular times of day, or links to content on specific topics.

Take advantage of predictive scoring

Predictive lead scoring models leverage marketing data from all channels, as well as internal data, to create a full picture of customer behavior, advertising potential, and marketing opportunities. These models use machine learning to build consumer profiles, which organizations can use to predict how consumers may react to different types of advertising and outreach. Campaigns can then target individual customers to maximize efficiency. For example, a predictive scoring system could rank individuals by likelihood of retention and risk of churning, which could help prioritize outreach to an organization's customer base.

Marketing analytics and the data warehouse

Enterprises should integrate their data before performing analytics, as analyzing data across marketing channels can reveal new, unexpected insights. Centralizing information in a data warehouse allows analysts and engineers to access it for analytics and reporting. Stitch provides a data pipeline for replicating information to the data warehouse of your choice, making it easy to integrate a wide variety of data sources. Try Stitch for free.

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