Written by Brent Landels on September 28, 2012
in B2B Marketing

Clicks, pageviews, time on site, bounce rates, returns vs. uniques, geotargeting, likes, retweets, +1’s, pins, check-ins, subscriptions, open rates, contest entries – as marketers we can quantify our audiences across a broad spectrum of interactions, and with almost laser-precision.

But with all this data, marketers are struggling to figure out what to do with it.

Recent research has shown that “marketers find less than half of analytics useful for decision-making.” As Boehnlein neatly summarizes, “only 10 percent [of marketers] thought a strong majority of analytics data was helpful, and less than one-third said somewhere between half and three-quarters of all data was useful.”

It turns out that marketers are choosing not to use this data to inform decision making. Instead, many marketers are choosing to rely on intuition about their audiences to inform and guide marketing decisions.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. As marketers, we are expected to have an in-depth and intuitive understanding of our audiences. But intuition needs to work hand-in-hand with good analytics data to effectively plan campaigns and react intelligently.

Strategies to use marketing data effectively:

1. Think strategically about your data. Before you begin a campaign, be sure that you have identified the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will inform your campaign’s success. This will narrow your focus to strictly the relevant and valuable information, and cut straight to the chewy center of good data.

2. Don’t make assumptions. Data is ambiguous, it can be read in any number of ways. If your data suggests a trend, ensure that you do your due diligence to eliminate all of the other possible explanations for that pattern.

3. Combine quantitative data with qualitative feedback. Again, data is ambiguous. In order to provide the context around your marketing analytics, ensure that you’re adding depth to your data with real conversations with your audience. Check in with your customers, ask for their feedback and opinion, and listen. Customers react positively to seeing their feedback incorporated into your messages and products, and as a bonus, these are also important exercises in creating engagement and customer loyalty.

Tell us!

What strategies do you use to mine your analytics for good marketing data?

What are the risks of becoming addicted to data?

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