The best advice for buying marketing analytics software? Invest in a solution that can meet today’s needs and tomorrow’s.
Too many marketing teams choose a platform that solves an immediate problem, but won’t scale as they face new challenges.
For example, let’s say a small but growing agency wants to automate its campaign reporting. They’re mostly using digital platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads, so they buy a low-cost connector tool that can funnel data from those sources into a spreadsheet or a basic dashboard tool.
And that solution meets their needs — for a year or two.
But then they start using data sources like offline media and programmatic that aren’t supported by the connector tool. They also want to create a “rolled up” reporting view that shows results from all their paid media in a single dashboard. They start thinking about multi-touch attribution or media mix modeling.
Their existing software can’t do any of that. So the marketing team has to hunt for yet another platform.
But what if, this time, they search for a scalable solution that will grow with them? Here’s what they should be looking for.
What You Need to Succeed with Analytics
Data Aggregation and Data Strategy
A scalable solution will allow your team to collect data from any source system so you can monitor and analyze performance on your terms.
Most analytics software does this via API-based connectors, and while those are important, it shouldn’t be the only way that an analytics platform ingests data.
You don’t want to buy a platform that has 1,000 connectors, but lacks the one data source that’s essential for your reporting.
ChannelMix, Alight’s marketing intelligence platform, has a large library of API-based connectors, but it can also take in data through automated email or secure FTP processes, or direct file uploads. Whatever your data source, you always have a way to move its data into ChannelMix.
A scalable solution will have a strategy and process for structuring datasets.
It’s not enough to connect to your data sources. You’ll also need to organize that data in a way that facilitates analysis for the long term.
Marketing data is notoriously tricky to manage because each source system has its own way of treating similar metrics. A scalable solution will make sure that data from different sources uses the same fields, so they can be combined in unified datasets for cross-channel and campaign-level reporting.
One thing that distinguishes Alight is that we have a team of data experts who will help you build a data strategy. With our competitors, you’re on your own.
Your datasets will be set up so that, if all you want to do is monthly reporting, everything will work correctly, but if you want to build predictive models in a year or two, those datasets will be ready for that, too.
A scalable analytics solution will provide a long-term, persistent storage solution like a cloud-based data warehouse.
A data warehouse serves as a central “single source of truth” where all performance data can be safely stored and shared with multiple users, without the risk of corruption or deletion.
This type of storage can hold vastly greater amounts of data, which a marketing team will need if it wants to produce more advanced forms of analysis like attribution or marketing mix modeling. Plus, space can be scaled up or down as needed.
Storage isn’t always included with analytics software. Entry-level tools are designed primarily to work with spreadsheets. Some more advanced “do it yourself” platforms offer some built-in storage, or they will pipe your data into a cloud-based storage that you’re responsible for managing.
Alight’s solutions always come with a data warehouse that our team sets up, monitors and maintains on your behalf.
Reporting & Business Intelligence
A scalable analytics solution will use automated dashboards to reduce the amount of time that it takes to produce reporting.
Dashboards turn reporting from a time-consuming monthly chore into a set-in-and-forget-it experience.
Alight has created a large library of ready-to-use dashboards for lead generation, eCommerce, paid media, social, search, traditional media, web, display and many other use cases. Each report can be set up with a single connection to ChannelMix.
Because those dashboards are regularly being refreshed with new data — with little to no human intervention — you don’t have to create a new report every month. As a result, you’ll have more time for more complex analysis.
These self-service dashboards also “democratize data,” making it possible for users to answer questions and explore performance on their own.
Real, Live Human Support
A scalable analytics solution will include support and services that augment your team.
Software can’t do everything. And most marketing teams don’t have access to all the technical skills required to execute and grow an analytics strategy.
That’s why Alight’s solutions include on-demand support and services from our team of developers, data scientists, tracking specialists and other experts who can, among other things …
- Set up, monitor and repair connections to data sources
- Design and implement a tracking strategy for measuring performance across channels
- Build marketing mix and attribution models
By using Alight’s team, you can tap into the expertise of an entire team of specialists for less than the cost of a full-time employee. Because your team isn’t busy learning SQL or researching Facebook’s latest API update, they have the freedom to focus on developing and optimizing marketing strategy.
A Framework for Advancing Your Level of Insight
A scalable analytics solution will help you advance your reporting and analysis.
The analytics landscape is complex and constantly changing. It’s hard to know what tools and skills you’ll need for tomorrow’s challenge.
That’s why Alight has created the Marketing Analytics Maturity Curve, a four-step process for helping marketing teams grow their ability to use data for reporting and analysis. We help you get started quickly and then steadily add granularity and complexity.
You’ll also be assigned an account director who can help you decide what your next stage should look like and how we can help you get there.
You’ll find the insight you need today along with a plan for achieving the insight you need tomorrow.
With a Scalable Analytics Solution, You’re In Control
Together, these pieces form the foundation of a scalable analytics solution. No matter what your goals are, you have the essential elements to execute it.
Need to set up reporting for a dozen new clients or lines of business? You can do it, and probably faster than you think because you’ve got a repeatable process for launching data sources, storage and reporting.
Want to eventually start producing attribution models and predictive forecasts? You’ll need the expertise of a data scientist, but you’ll already have all the essential data that’s required.
And if you don’t want to do any of that, you don’t have to. Again, you’re in control.
But, by choosing a solution that accommodates future growth, you’ll ensure your ability to produce valuable insights and reporting over the long haul.
A Solution for Every Stage of Your Analytics Journey
Alight Analytics’ end-to-end analytics solutions are designed to grow with your marketing team, equipping you with the technology and services you need, when you need them. Learn how — let’s talk!