Industry experts weigh in on what you should and shouldn't do to succeed in the data-driven marketing world.
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Industry experts weigh in on what you should and shouldn't do to succeed in the data-driven marketing world.
There's a lot of good advice in this piece...my favorite comes from Maria DePanfilis (Partner, Analytics and Optimization, Rosetta) when she writes:
DO augment your data-driven insights via other types of intelligence such as qualitative and/or contextual research.
Even for the savviest marketers, finding the right balance of analytics and gut instincts can prove to be difficult.
This delicate balancing act, Greitzer says, often comes into play when marketers are trying to evaluate unknowns or new aspects of a potential campaign. “It can be tough. A channel, say for example mobile, may not necessarily be mature enough for the metrics to tell a really concise, complete story,” he explains.
That's one reason why we test...data tells us X, gut tells us Y...
Scenario: A man gets only two hours of sleep before hopping in his car to drive to work. On the way to the office, he rear-ends a car at a red light. The crash occurred because the man was tired – …
The opening scenario laid out in this short, concise post is, IMHO, priceless and all too common. Sometimes data raises more questions than it answers...and you need to keep asking "Why?" so you can identify data you need moving forward. It can be annoying to some because it means the work is never done, never checked off your list...that the questions aren't answered as quickly as you might expect...that there is more to situation than one imagined.
That's why it's called work.
Many data-related projects end up as big disappointments. And, in many cases, it is because they did not have any design philosophy behind them. Because many folks are more familiar with buildings and cars than geeky databases, allow me to use them as examples here.
A very good article to read...and to get you thinking about your data strategy. What do you need to answer? What data will help you answer those questions? Where can you get the data - fast, easy, accurate, affordable? Where will it be stored?
Hoarding data is not the answer...have a strategy!
Even the most analytics-obsessed organizations have a hunch there is more to great strategic decisions.
Data. Analysis. They provide insight to create recommendations that should be tested in order to make sure you got it right.
Have you ever found yourself with an idea that "just makes sense" but there is no data to confirm or deny it? Have you ever seen the report and questioned the recommendations?
Sometimes, your intution is going to help you look at the recommendations based on data analysis and raise some great questions ... maybe because the wrong questions were asked leading to the wrong data being collected and analyzed.. (It happens!)
Big Data is a meaningless term that attempts to describe what we've spent years doing: putting data to work.
From the article:
"The question I would like pose is—why call it “Big Data” at all, what makes it big? Rather why not call it just “data” or “Information” as aren’t we just talking about different sources and extracting value from the combination of these sources? Aren’t we trying to find patterns to build models, identify risk, understand intent and sentiment and develop networks?"
netflix has transformed from a distributor like time warner cable into a personalized service that gives subscribers access to content they want.
The headline seems a little misleading when most of the article focuses on new products (original content like House of Cards), increased PR and a $222 million expenditure on measured media. But near the end they start scratching the surface on data mining - the implication being that it is positively impacting retention by driving activity with recommendations driven by data mining.
Bottom line is that data is going to help your organization better understand your audience and allow you to send the right information and messages/offers at the right time - and that's going to mean a lot more to your audinece than that one size fits all weekly sales flier.
Think about that for a moment - don't you prefer receiving relevant information over the same ol' same ol'? So why not make that extra effort to show you care and that you are trying to add value to the relationship?
Digging through bits and bytes to find information that can be used to grow your business, improve service, or reduce costs is not for the weak of heart. Contradictory opinions about the importance and how to use data are everywhere.
Actionable. Interesting. Not suitable for work.
I love it.
But I would add that "Actionable" doesn't mean "roll it out" or "drop everything and start doing it this way". What it means is test. And it means test because you want to make sure your analysis really is correct.
Now, some of you might be rolling your eyes and thinking that's too slow, too cautious and you don't want to miss an opportunity. Well, you can roll it out and make the change happen now...just monitor the impact and have a plan in place for [a] explaining the changes to all impacted so they understand why and what is going on, and [b] shutting down the new approach (exit strategy) in case it doesn't work.
What's your reaction to analytics, especially how to implement recommendations that come from the analysis?
Working on a project where the data reporting is less than ideal can impact your ability to make solid data-driven decisions.
For all you marketers out there...pay attention to Tip #1 and, if you really are a marketer, go for it. If you're not really a marketer, you will be focusing on how many characters are in the subject line of that email. Or if the landing page has an offer you think is strong (but not because of your audience insight).
Here's the deal...marketers know that knowledge is power. And to gain that knowledge, you need to gather the right data and do a great job at analyzing it so you can make better informed decisions. You test. You measure. You analyze. You modify. You do it all over again.
It's hard work. It's not all that glamorous. But it does generate more profitable revenue.
So are you really a marketer?
Converting the data in your systems into usable information is the first step toward harnessing big data. Begin small with the data that is easily accessible and expand as you learn what works and doesn’t.
Skip past all the Target related narrative and get down to the 4 examples of the data you need to grow your business.
You want to know where your customers are coming from - meaning where they came from in order to make their first purchase with your company. That helps you improve lead generation campaigns.
You want to understanding your customer buying behaviors - how do they buy, when do they buy and what they are buying. That helps you improve targeting (media), messages and offers.
You want to understand the quality of service because great service increases retention and referrals...bad service increases attrition while eventually impacting your ability to attract new customers.
Now, the last bullet point addresses something near and dear to my heart - RFM analysis. I wish I knew what the author wrote what she wrote...and I agree that everything should be tested before rolling out. But I haven't had issues with RFM that were anything less than successful...
So, in conclusion, here are 4 simple ways to use data to improve your business - and any/every business can do these things. The key is starting off with this as your end game so you can capture the necessary data...then, running the reports should be simple. If not, hire an analyst to help set these reports up for your business...it's an investment that will pay off quickly.
We’ve seen huge advances in our ability to generate, collect and store an explosion of data points: 90 percent of the world’s data has been accumulated in the last two years alone. We’re generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, and every serious company is dutifully logging and contextualizing every impression, every click and every purchase with excruciating detail.
That said, shockingly little happens to the information once it has been stowed in the database. A good friend gave voice to this dirty little industry secret the other day:
Nobody wants to use the data.
There's a couple of issues here. One is quality. The other is timing.
Yes, we've created, captured and stored a lot of data. But in most instances, we're not sure it's correct. So when it comes to decision making time, there are a lot of us that are going to go with anictidotal versus statistically accurate.
And in most organizations, waiting for the data to be gathered and analyzed in order to answer the question that has been raised is too long...so you don't wait, you make the best call you can with the best information you have and watch closely so you can monitor performance.
Here's the thing. I started in business a long time ago...and it was on the direct marketing side of the world where you test, gather results, analyze that data and use that insight to make recommendations and modifications so you can test some more.
But I also know it's about balance. It's about using data appropriately.
My grandfather owned his businesses before the computer...so he gathered information and stored it in his head or on paper. But he knew how to greet people by name when they entered his stores. And he knew how to treat them as if they were the most important person in his life...which is why they came back and bought again and again.
Bottom line is this...data is easy to gather.Some will be useful and clean, some will be useless and dirty. Analysis is key but you need to have access to relevant, accurate insight in a timely manner in order to make the best decisions you can at that time...otherwise, you're going to have analysis paralysis leading to the end of your business.
The phenomenon of big data certainly comes with big promise. After all, having terabytes of data on customer history and behavior is certainly better than trying to extrapolate from just a few data points.
Data, regardless of size, can help your business drive greater success. This post is the first I've seen to lay out 6 very practical concepts that will help you - and though the title is focused on the Big Data, the advice is for data.
There is no rush to get on the Big Data bandwagon so take the time up front to map out where you want to go with it and how you will get from where you are today to where you want to be in the future.
Sell the plan internally - because you're going to need everyone's buy in and support in order to capture the right data in the right place so you can access it and analyze it later on.
Create one team for data - big or small. And make it cross-department so you get input from people that work in areas that can help - don't ignore finance or customer service or any customer facing unit that can help acquire data.
"Your own data is best - by far." This one is critical and something you really need to think about right from the start when you are identifying what data you need and what source is the best one for your situation. If you use third party sources and append data to your own data - be wary.
For example, I have been using a reputable third-party source for data and have seen some errors that shocked me. And I caught them while verifying the data myself with the business...
So, is this the type of information that you can take back to your business and start a healthy dialogue? What else would you like to learn about data - big or small?
As sales leaders, do you create leading indicators, tracking the behaviors required today for sales tomorrow? The answer: KPIs.
Great article - and I would make many of the leading indicators cited in this article the responsibility of sales AND marketing.
# of qualified leads in the pipeline (speaks to targeting, demand generation with a focus on quality over quantity)
Sales cycle length (because it speaks to nurturing and when a lead is handed from marketing to sales)
Does your business use any/all of these KPIs? If so, how have they helped your business focus and improve? If not, does this article give you some ideas for improving performance or are these metrics that you don't feel are important?
“There’s so much pressure to leap to the future that many overlook the interim steps that are easy to get to and would deliver a lot of value,” Schmults said. “Targeting by recently viewed—that’s a simple form of personalization. And geotargeting is one data point you can look at to think about what would be relevant to some people. Maybe send a message to folks within 10 miles of a store. It isn’t taking 110 data points and looking for patterns. It’s taking one data point and applying it. It’s a spectrum.”
Nice article from Chief Marketer that touches on the importance of data - regardless of size - as well as the importance of taking the proper action based on a single data point or the patterns that emerge from hundreds of data points.
Come on - share your recent data success story. How have you used data to drive improved performance?
How can you know if your content is adequately supporting your marketing and business goals? In this seventh post of our Back to Basics series, we outline a simple plan you can use for tracking and...
A very good article to use as a starting off point for internal discussions concerning your content marketing strategy.
That said, I would suggest that the table shown with examples for KPIs has a row for Brand Awareness that doesn't work for me. Just because traffic is up and downloads are up and social chatter is up doesn't mean Brand Awareness is up or positive, which is rather important.
Personally, I would still use brand awareness research and ask questions about the role of content in the scheme of things. Yes I am aware. My perception is that your firm is about X. I developed that awareness and perception by reading your content or friends and family or colleagues or other things.
I also struggle with the KPIs for retention. It's good that your customers use your content but what impact does it have on retention versus product quality, perceived value of product/price, experience etc.
What do you think? How might you use content marketing to improve retention - and how do you prove it worked?
At a unique gathering of data-analytics leaders, new solutions began emerging to vexing privacy, talent, organizational, and frontline-adoption challenges. A McKinsey Quarterly article.
An interesting read - especially right at the start when the author explains that senior leadership's expectations are out of whack. Data can help different types of organizations differently...so don't read the articles and assume that's what will happen for your business.
Focus on quick wins (does this sound familiar) and rack 'em up. Opportunities will continue to present themselves so pick them wisely.
Ownership of data is another hot button. Seek permission or ask forgiveness? Personally, I like to not upsetting my audience so I suggest seeking permission. Might that put you at a competition disadvantage? Only if you let it...working with the customer can generate long-term benefits that overcome the short-term benefits your competition might realize by grabbing and using whatever data they can.
But when they encounter a problem, the audience will most likely be quick and harsh to judge.
What do you think about this article? Is data analytics over-hyped? What's your strategy for acquiring data - ask permission or seek forgiveness?
A great post that includes some common mistakes and how companies have avoided them...and my favorite is 'overcoming 'short-term-ism'. Sometimes, the right answers aren't immediately available...they are complex questions that require time to study and capture the right data.
Most companies have reams of data they could be using to impact future customer messages, offers and calls to action. But most of those companies either don’t use that data, or don’t realize it exists in the first place.
That’s part of the problem Lattice Engines is trying to solve. Brian Kardon runs marketing at Lattice, and was also the CMO at Eloqua in it’s early hockey-stick-growth days.
Check out the entire article (link below) - it's short, sweet, clear and insightful. The key takeaway is that you have a lot of data and are scratching the surface of its potential.
How do you take advantage of your data - a little common sense, creativity and the right data. And if you're not comfortable doing it yourself, it's not that expensive to bring in a skilled data analyst for a brief consultation.
"Marketers from smaller companies are taking greater advantage of modern marketing techniques and are more reliant on key digital marketing activities than marketers overall, according to a study by BtoB"
Understanding what's working, what isn't working - it's critical to leverage technology for capturing and analyzing data. So, I took this article as a good sign...and that there is an openness to outsourcing in order to get the expertise as needed (and a affordable) seems like a great example of working smarter and outside the box in order to leverage resources.
So, how are you leveraging tech to help identify what is working and what isn't working? And how are you turning that insight into action so you can modify, improve?
Your CRM system can be a blessing or a curse for your sales force, depending on how you use it. If you find your CRM strategy is more focused on your own sales targets rather than customer goals, it's time for a change.
"Here's the big mistake that most companies make: They tell salespeople to focus on the customer. Yet [their CRM system focuses] more on internal metrics and pipeline management. The result is mediocre sales behavior," Lisa Earl McLeod, a sales leadership consultant and author of "Selling with Noble Purpose"
This is a common problem - overlooking what the salesperson needs to be as effective as possible goes beyond internal metrics and pipeline management data.
What are their goals? What is their fiscal year? What are their buying criteria?
Fixing this takes interaction between sales and marketing (and maybe IT, depending on who is responsible for your CRM) but it can be accomplished. Just remember that it's an on-going process and that you need to make sure that you are addressing key pieces of data rather than "John wants this and Mary wants that..." because then you're going to be wasting time and money capturing data that has limited to no value over the long-term.
Marketers consumed by Big Data may get distracted from their necessary focus on data quality.
It takes resources to collect and analyze data. And it wastes resources when you start collecting and analyzing data that really isn't what you need in order to answer the questions you need answered.
That's why I strongly recommend that you start off with a serious discussion with a cross section of your leadership team in order to identify the questions you want answered, the data needed to answer the questions and the sources that are acceptable to gather the data.
What you want to avoid is the arguments, the disagreements that come from not having a process in place for data analysis. They waste valuable resources. They cause 'analysis paralysis'. The cost your business the opportunity to grow.
And, yes, your questions will change over time. And the data you need will change over time. But it's better to have had the process in place for working across departments/silos and coming to an agreement on what the questions are, what the data should be and how the data will be gathered from acceptable sources.
Yes, big data is all the rage and incredibly powerful. But when it comes to customers, data and insight are not the same things.
Short and simple. Clear and concise. Data is important. Actual insight is the key. It's great you know that your audience is 35 to 54 year old females...it's critical to know that within your audience are two key segments - one that buys to decorate their homes and another that buys your products as gifts. This impacts your product offering, packaging, pricing, promotion...
Are you going that extra level and getting this type of insight from your audience? If not, what's stopping you?
It's not just the government that might be keeping tabs on you. Many retailers are tracking you, too -- or at least your merchandise returns. The companies say it's all in the name of fighting fraud.
Privacy - it's a confusing topic and your business should take the lead and offer a clear policy that is effectively communicated with your customers or else risk problems down the road.
Tracking returns by customer is CRITICAL if your business ever wants to understand who your best customers are - it's not all about purchases during a specific time period, it's about the larger picture that includes returns, customer service inquiries (those service reps aren't free, right) and (of appropropriate) their account status (pay early, pay on time, pay late).
And I am sure I am missing a few things - like referrals.
What is your business doing to track the key metrics that provide you with a 360-degree perspective of your customers?
"Today’s consumers are exposed to an expanding, fragmented array of marketing touch points across media and sales channels. Imagine that while viewing a TV spot for a Toyota Camry, a consumer uses her mobile device to Google “sedans.” Up pops a paid search link for Camry, as well as car reviews. She clicks through to Car and Driver’s website to read some reviews, and while perusing, she notices a display ad from a local dealership but doesn’t click on it. One review contains a link to YouTube videos people have made about their Camrys. On YouTube she also watches Toyota’s clever “Camry Reinvented” Super Bowl ad from eight months earlier. During her commute to work that week she sees a Toyota billboard she hadn’t noticed before and then receives a direct-mail piece from the company offering a time-limited deal. She visits local dealerships’ websites, including those promoted on Car and Driver and in the direct-mail piece, and at last heads to a dealer, where she test-drives the car and buys it.
Toyota’s chief marketing officer should ask two questions: How did this combination of ad exposures interact to influence this consumer? Is Toyota investing the right amounts at the right points in the customer-decision journey to spark her to action?"
Sometimes we have the data but we don't analyze it properly in order to get the best information - and that can impact our ability to make the best decisions. This is a great article about how some firms are analyzing the impact of campaigns on each other...so they can invest more wisely and generate better results with the same resources.
If this isn't an option for your business, there are still some things you can do that can help.
Look at the average buying cycle (time) and the length of time a lead is in each stage - is that time decreasing?
Talk to your leads and ask them what they have seen, what influenced them and what didn't influence them.
Set up some tests where some content/campaigns go to a group of leads,,,and some content doesn't go to a group of leads. Is there a difference in their behavior?
What are you doing to understand the influence of your campaigns on each other?
Inbound Marketing is a salesperson’s dream. As long as you are willing to properly review the data analytics, it shortens the sales cycle timeline, allowing for more conversions and more success.
This article made me squirm a number of times and I am going to chalk up my discomfort to what I hope was an overly simplistic presentation.
First, I agree - cold calling can suck, especially if you're just cold calling on anything with a pulse.
I've done it. I still do it. But I focus on those that I strong believe could be an ideal client based on my research and I am reaching out to them because they haven't engaged with me through other efforts. It's usually about 10-20% if my weekly schedule and it pays off.
But back to the reasons for my squirm...data needs to be carefully analyzed in order for it to generate actionable insight. And many times data can be misinterpreted so you need to carefully check your interpretation of the data.
And I have seen others do what the author of this article seems to be suggesting - and I have seen it waste a boat load of resources.
Here's the statement that got me squirming...
"I gather information during the entire sales cycle. By averaging data from all sales made, I can understand that it takes X site visits, Y clicks, and Z pieces of content before a visitor is ready to buy."
I would strongly suggest that this data is a piece of the puzzle but not the entire puzzle. You still need to know if the individual has a budget, the authority to spend that budget and a real need for your offering.
And here's why...I have visited Marketo's and Hubspot's websites hundreds of times. I have clicked on a wide variety of things ranging from product descriptions, pricing, case studies, white papers, video....
And I will never buy their products for my business because I lack the need and the budget.
So, if I take this article at face value, it seems as though we might have a misinterpretation of data driving actions and the investment of limited resources.
Am I overreacting? Am I way off base? Am I completely wrong?