Nobody understands how to use marketing analytics in real life. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s generally true. Tons of articles describe why marketing analytics is so helpful for marketing, but few show the steps for using it in real life.
Call this a guide. Or an article that might open your eyes. Or simply a light that shines through the marketing analytics darkness.
- Anchoring marketing analytics to strategy
- Using marketing analytics through the whole life of the company
- A few success stories of using marketing analytics
- Wrapping up
Anchoring marketing analytics to strategy
First things first. Let’s talk about marketing strategy and how to anchor marketing analytics to it to get your business to a new level.
Main idea: Make better data-based decisions and live happily ever after
Yup, that’s pretty much one of the main rules. But not all companies follow it.
For example, many online stores don’t consider the share of offline buyers and ignore ROPO sales (when a customer researches the product online but purchases offline) when evaluating the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.
Or another problem can be awaiting you. As customers tend to interact with businesses through multiple channels, companies that fail to combine online and offline data from these channels (or simply ignore it) risk making costly mistakes. Say you cut investment in an advertising channel that feels like it doesn’t really pay off, and as a result, offline sales drop drastically. Would you have made the same cut if you had conducted marketing analysis first?
According to Forbes Insights, the majority of CMOs (78%) have increased their ROI by using analytics when forming a marketing strategy.
Enough evidence to bring marketing analytics into your marketing strategy? Then let’s move on to the practical stuff.
What do most articles on marketing analytics say? First, you need to collect data. But is that really the first thing you need to do? If you think so, bear in mind one thing.
Tim Wilson, Senior Analytics Director at Search Discovery, points out in an interview with OWOX that “it’s the tyranny of expecting the data to ‘provide answers’ when there hasn’t been a clearly formulated business question.”
So the first step is to understand what questions you should be asking and why getting answers to those questions is so important. The second step is to figure out what type of reports can show you the answers. Only after that start to collect the necessary data in one place. Use attribution in order to find the most and least efficient marketing channels, and visualize the results in reports. Sounds simple? Well, it actually is. Plus, a bit later in this article we offer a list of the five best marketing analytics tools that automate the whole process.
After setting up the retrospective analytics, it would be the right thing to think about the predictive analytics to forecast your implementation of marketing goals and to find the answer to the question “what if”. That will allow you to correct your marketing strategy before the possible problems may occur. A process is simple here: a special tool automatically compares actual data with the plan.
Using marketing analytics through the whole life of the company
Strategy — done. What’s next? Do we really need to stick with marketing analytics? If yes, how the heck are we supposed to conduct it?
Analytics is a process, not a one time project. As the famous saying goes, “Give a marketing manager a dashboard and they’ll understand things today. Teach them self-service analytics and they’ll derive insights forever.”
So if you’re doing everything right, you’ll get a large amount of information you can benefit from. This includes information about user actions on the website, bottlenecks in the sales funnel, and data on received and missed calls. To gain extra profit, you should analyze all the data you get in order to understand if you’re fulfilling your marketing goals
But here a problem arises: a Winterberry Group report quoted by HubSpot highlights that Marketers are on average using more than 12 different tools, and some are using more than 31 tools to manage data. That’s way too many.
The limitations of standard interfaces won’t let you get all the benefits from your data. Thus, you’ll get an incomplete picture of your business. This is especially problematic when a large portion of sales are made through offline channels, whether by phone or in brick-and-mortar stores.
You know how to handle all of these 31 tabs in your browser? Try collecting your data in a single system.
To bring together marketing data and business goals, you need a marketing analytics solution.
With so many available, it can be difficult to know which are worth the investment and which are a waste of your time.
According to G2 Crowd, the top five marketing analytics software tools are:
HubSpot is a leading growth platform. Comprised of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, and a powerful free CRM, HubSpot gives companies the tools they need to grow better. HubSpot Marketing Hub has everything you need to run successful inbound marketing campaigns that make people interested in your business and happy to be your customer.
- Mailchimp All-in-One Marketing Platform
Mailchimp’s all-in-one Marketing Platform helps small businesses market smarter so you can grow faster. Mailchimp puts your audience at the center so you can send marketing emails and automated messages, create targeted ad campaigns, build landing pages, send postcards, facilitate reporting and analytics, and sell online.
Looker is reinventing business intelligence for the modern company. It’s browser-based, and its unique modeling language lets any employee leverage the work of your best data analysts. Operating 100% in-database, Looker capitalizes on the newest, fastest analytic databases to get real results in real time.
- OWOX BI
OWOX BI is your personal marketing analyst that helps you grow faster and achieve your marketing goals. With marketing analytics by OWOX BI, you’ll find growth areas and identify your risks, get an AI-powered forecast of your marketing plan performance, receive actionable reports for every employee, and create a data-driven marketing strategy. You’ll also save time and get rid of the manual data analytics routine by combining data from your website, CRM, and advertising services into a single database.
Insider Growth Management Platform (GMP) helps digital marketers drive growth across the funnel, from Acquisition to Activation, Retention, and Revenue. Leveraging real-time predictive segmentation powered by deep Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities, GMP empowers marketers to deliver personalized journeys across web, mobile web, mobile apps, and ad channels.
Now you have a starting point for finding the tool that fits you best.
A few success stories of using marketing analytics
Il de Beaute and ROPO analysis
The Ile de Beaute chain of stores is part of the Sephora company (owned by the LVMH group) and occupies a leading position in the global market for perfumes and cosmetic products.
The company’s team wanted to deeply understand the behavior of their users in terms of their interactions between online and offline stores.
After analyzing all the necessary data, the digital team at Ile de Beaute was able to show in figures the influence of digital media advertising on sales in offline stores. For example, the graph below shows the influence on offline sales of an email newsletter sent August 23–25.
All this data and the correct analysis of the ROPO effect helped the Ile de Beaute team to clearly define and present the effectiveness of online advertising, taking into account all actions of users both online and offline. Also, thanks to ROPO analysis and the ability to download offline transactions into a separate Google Analytics view, marketers at Ile de Beaute can better understand the behavior of different segments of their target audience, allowing them to plan marketing activities in more detail.
You can find more details on how Ile de Beaute conducted ROPO analysis here.
Doctor Ryadom and end-to-end analytics
Doctor Ryadom is a chain of family medical clinics specializing in ambulatory care.
As Doctor Ryadom, like most medical companies, has a complex multilevel funnel, the company gets about 80% of non-targeted traffic. Moreover, customers often interact with the clinic in multiple channels: online, on the phone, and offline. That’s why it’s difficult for the company to evaluate the performance of marketing channels using only web analytics tools and standard marketing KPIs.
To understand which marketing channels drive targeted leads, Doctor Ryadom decided to set up an end-to-end analytics system. Having combined all their data in Google BigQuery, the RuSoft team configured reports in Google Sheets and Data Studio for the clinic. Using these reports, marketers from Doctor Ryadom can track the performance of all their ad efforts.
The end-to-end analytics system helped Doctor Ryadom change their marketing strategy. As a result, the company more than doubled the ROI of certain channels and cut ad costs in half without any decrease in sales.
You can read more details on how Doctor Ryadom set up end-to-end analytics here.
Bitrix 24 and customer cohort analysis
Bitrix24 provides an integrated suite of tools for project management, documentation, CRM, telephony, calendars, and more.
The company’s marketing experts wanted to spend their advertising resources only on the target audience ready to buy Bitrix24. One more consideration was that the customer acquisition costs had increased along with competition. That’s why most of Bitrix24’s advertising efforts start paying off two months or more after the purchase, as most customers pay for their Bitrix24 subscription on a monthly basis.
To spend their advertising budget more efficiently, Bitrix24 specialists decided to conduct customer cohort analysis. By grouping users into cohorts based on the time of their registration, Bitrix24 was looking to get more detailed information about what their customers do after they register on the website. Cohort analysis also helps calculate the revenue from each cohort, assess the effectiveness of customer acquisition campaigns, and optimize advertising costs.
We can make two key conclusions based on the examples we’ve just presented.
- Don’t make a business decision based on a wild guess. Run experiments, conduct A/B tests, and do all that fun marketing stuff. Just do it thoughtfully, and always analyze your activities to find what gives profit and what simply wastes your money and time.
- If you start working with data, do it wisely. Setting up analytics isn’t the only step in this process. Don’t forget to learn how to use the results of your marketing analysis. Do that and you’ll see how wonderful life is.