THE DATA CHALLENGE FOR MARKETERS – how to wrangle your data into one place and make sense of it
I was a marketer for 14 years. I worked for the public sector, for huge global corporations, and with start-ups. In all cases, there were many days when Marketing felt like the best department to work in – the creativity, the ideas, the ability to turn an idea into a campaign in hours or days, the super talented marketing people working both in-house and in agencies, and the ability to make a real difference to a business within days or weeks. It can be a fantastic place to work. But, there were other days when Marketing felt like a shit place to work. People fussing over colours, receiving briefs without any thought given to the objectives, let alone the audience, and everyone thinking marketing is easy, so why is it taking so damn long, Hels?! In all jobs there are ups and downs, of course, but in marketing, I could go from feeling elated to soul-destroyed, in an hour!
The hardest challenge in Marketing is demonstrating that it’s not about colours and content and design and communications, it’s about delivering tangible business results. Making a difference to the bottom line. Running a campaign that not only generates more leads, but helps to convert leads into sales, and helps to retain customers too. It’s all about attributing marketing activity to revenue and sustainable, profitable, lifetime customer value. Proving that marketing is not a cost to the business, but an investment that will give the business a return on investment, in the form of increased sales and revenue. Attribution of marketing activity, to sales, was always a problem back when I worked in Marketing…and it still is today.
How can you prove that a social media campaign is valuable? How can you justify increasing the budget for search ads, and social ads? How can you demonstrate that re-branding delivered tangible benefits to the business? How can you explain why you’re using a specific mix of communications within a campaign, and excluding other comms channels? How can you prove that more marketing resources will add to the bottom line? And how can you justify your current marketing budget…let alone increasing it? Marketing teams are always under pressure to deliver fast results on a budget…and it’s massively time-consuming, and can feel near-impossible sometimes, to demonstrate the sales impact.
I’ve been there. It’s really tricky. And there’s no easy answer unfortunately. But the answer does begin with data. In Marketing, you need lots of data, and it’s spread all over the place.
This could be performance-based:
- What’s working well? In other words, what should you continue or double down on
- What’s not working well? In other words, what should you review, critique, test and stop or change
This could be trend-based:
- How has our marketing performance changed over time?
- How does our marketing performance vary by location?
This could be channel-based:
- Which communications channels are delivering the highest returns?
- Which communication channels have the highest engagement?
This could be cost or ROI-based:
- Where are we getting the biggest bang for our buck?
- Which comms channels deliver the most leads, conversions or sales?
The right questions will depend on your business objectives, and marketing objectives.
It could come from multiple sources, think about…
- Website analytics – to see visitor volumes, behaviour, and demographics
- Social media analytics – to see reach, engagement, and sentiment
- Email analytics – to see response rates, interest areas, and bounces
- Customer analytics – to see conversion rates, contact activity, & relationships
- Ecommerce analytics – to see behaviour, conversions, and usage
- Product analytics – to see behaviour, patterns, and trends
- Survey results – to see responses and feedback
And you might also have a range of other data sources, specific to your business too.
Depending on your business model, and sector, you could consider different metrics.
They could be financial:
- Monthly recurring revenue
- Revenue vs target
They could be customer-orientated:
- Customer satisfaction
- Willingness to recommend or Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Survey responses
They could be digital:
- Website visitors
- Email response rates
- Social media reach
- Video views
Or they could be combined metrics:
- Cost per acquisition
- Lifetime customer value
- Cost/revenue/profit per customer
- Cost/revenue/profit per employee
The right metrics will depend on your business objectives, and marketing objectives, too.
All of these data sources are always disconnected…so you have islands of marketing data. Somehow you must wrangle that data together into one place. When I was a marketer, I was messing around with spreadsheets doing my best, and asking my team to do their best. Every marketer I speak to today, says the same. It’s time-consuming, inefficient, and distracting. So, it often ends up at the bottom of the list. For that day in the future, when you’re not reacting to what the business wants from marketing…that day when Marketing is leading the business, and not the other way around!
This is a massive problem, because if marketers don’t know their numbers, how will they ever be taken seriously in the Boardroom? How can we lead the business, rather than be a tactical delivery engine? How can we create the briefs, rather than respond to them? How can we get the business to see marketing as an investment, and not just a cost centre?
There must be a better way. A way to automatically bring marketing data together into one place. Within seconds. A way to check on marketing data, just like you’d check on the weather. Now there is. myDATA3. That’s why I designed myDATA3 for marketers. I feel your pain. Data should be simple for non-technical marketers. It is now.