14 July 2016

Marketers, it’s time to stop hiding behind the numbers

Tags:Strategy, Data And Analytics

In this age of analytics, in which we have to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) and try to justify our marketing budgets, the constant question is: How do you measure marketing impact?

But to answer this question, you must start by answering others: Why are you tracking? What are you tracking? Too many companies (and marketing professionals) are measuring simply for the sake of measuring.

Yes, we have stats and data up the wazoo – they’re all over the place right now. And we all know that 73% of statistics are made up (or is it 82%). Too often, it’s just too easy for marketers to hide behind those statistics (complete with colourful charts and graphs) in attempting to validate their impact on the business. Because we generally present only the numbers that look good. We tend to hide behind the ones that don’t look so good, because no one’s asking, “What does that mean?”

The same is true of A/B testing. Everyone’s doing the testing, but not many people actually do anything with A or B; they just A/B test all the time! “Let’s A/B test that” is a very easy thing to say, but it’s really a very difficult thing to do.

Step back, move forward

So it’s time to take a couple of steps back to try to understand what you’re looking to improve and what impact you’re trying to create with your marketing activities. It’s time to dig deeper into what those facts, figures and letters actually mean.

What are your website stats telling you? Sure, you can look at unique page views, time on page, and so on, but what do you know from this information? What does it mean for your customers? For your business? I know we’re all time-poor, but marketers must spend time to really analyse those numbers in more detail, rather than just popping them on a vibrant PowerPoint or Keynote slide for the presentation you’re giving to your management team in a hurried 10-minute slot. Value these numbers. Be true to them, because that’s where marketing has a direct impact on the business.

And you need to demonstrate that value in the story you’re telling. That’s what will enable you to drive a path forward within the business. Look at what the numbers are saying: Do you stop? Do you go left? Do you go right? Do you keep going? And what does that look like from a business point of view?

The numbers are there to help us, and more so than ever before, we have all this great information. We know exactly what our customers, or prospects, or targets are doing and what they’re not doing. It’s fantastic (and also highly addictive once you know what you’re looking at)! Now make that work for you.

How much time do you spend really looking at what your marketing collected data is telling you?

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