How to maximize ROI from marketing analytics

How to Maximize ROI from Your Investment in Marketing Analytics

Alight Analytics Alight Insights

How to maximize ROI from marketing analytics

Is investing in marketing analytics a central part of your strategy for 2020? If so, then you’re in good company.

According to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey for 2019-2020, analytics is the single biggest “area of investment” for marketing budgets. Marketers said analytics was a critical capability, something they must have in order to carry out their plans over the next 18 months.

Unfortunately, while marketing teams are investing in analytics, they don’t know how to maximize ROI from the budget they spend. The report states that many find “investments are mismatched with their output.” Which is a nice way of saying they’re not seeing anything close to the results they expected. 

As Gartner put it: 

Expensive and talented data scientist resources are often mired in basic, operational work. This presents a significant risk to the ongoing investment into data-driven marketing. Business cases for funding rely on a perception that data and experimentation will transform marketing. Failure to deliver against inflated expectations may come at the expense of future funding commitments. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We know because we’ve helped agencies and brands across North America create real value with their marketing analytics. It’s possible to build an analytics program that lets your team increase revenue, develop richer insights and even save time in the process.

You just need to approach marketing analytics differently from how most of the industry does. Before you sign the contract for that shiny new marketing analytics software, here are four guiding principles that will show you how to maximize ROI from your investment in marketing analytics. 

Marketing analytics is a long-term strategy, not a project. 

This is probably the most common mistake we see: Someone hears that marketing analytics is vitally important to the future of their organization and then starts looking for the fastest possible way to tick that item off their to-do list, usually by buying software.

But analytics is really a long-term strategy. You’re using data to answer your most important questions about marketing performance and make more informed decisions going forward, not just about your marketing, but your organization’s overall operations. 

For example, marketing analytics could help you understand which customer segments are responding most strongly to your campaigns, which could guide your media buys, store planning and product development. 

When you view analytics as a strategy, you actively consult it when making business decisions. You also commit the necessary budget, time and staffing to ensure your analytics program can succeed over the long term.

Marketing analytics is more than software.

It’s true: You will need a solid marketing analytics platform to produce the kinds of insights and reporting that will drive growth in your business. 

But you’ll need human beings, too. You’ll need trained, talented professionals who are capable of building marketing dashboards, exploring the data for insights, creating models and forecasts, managing your data connections and more.

It’s also important to have a standardized, streamlined process for gathering, cleaning, harmonizing and using your data. A good process will ensure that your data is consistent, enabling accurate analysis and reporting, and you should save time in the process, too.

When we encounter people who are frustrated with marketing analytics, they’ve usually been misled into thinking that software was all they needed, not realizing just how essential people and process are. 

Make sure you understand the questions you’re trying to answer. 

What do you want to know about your business? Because this will affect the type of analytics program you’re trying to build, from the data sources you’re tracking, to the software you buy, to the types of people you hire. 

Do you just need basic reporting on how much engagement your online campaign is creating? Or do you want to build a program that forecasts how much you should spend on advertising next year, market by market? Those are different goals, and you’ll need different types of resources to achieve them. 

The golden rule of marketing analytics: Data comes first. 

A lot of people get excited about marketing dashboards, and they should be excited. Dashboards are a phenomenal way to explore data and communicate results to nontechnical audiences. 

But analytics is a two-step process. You must have clean, efficiently gathered data before you can build a marketing dashboard. For marketers, that often means harmonizing data from multiple sources into a single dataset that utilizes common dimensions and metrics. A lot of data sources, for example, use different conventions for handling dates, which can make it difficult to bring them together for cross-channel or campaign-level reporting. 

The right marketing analytics solution can deliver data that allows you to do that — and much, much more. 

Learn How to Maximize ROI from Your Marketing Analytics Spend

Check out “How to Win with Marketing Analytics in 2020,” our webinar with Alight Analytics CEO Matt Hertig. Matt will share a practical, step-by-step road map for building a successful marketing analytics practice in the new year. RSVP here!