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Marketing analytics: the story behind the stats

Our brains like searching for patterns and solving puzzles, surely marketing analytics should be a joyful experience? In reality, we are swamped with data. It’s the treacle on our fingertips, both delicious and tricky to handle. With so much data to choose from, how can we look at the analytics afresh to understand more clearly what’s right for our marketing plans. We caught up with White Camino friend and marketing analytics whizz Abena Dadey to find out more. 

With an abundance of data flying about in today’s ever-evolving digital age, data analytics is a cornerstone of successful marketing strategies. This marriage of data analytics and marketing has been termed marketing analytics and describes the analysis of data from marketing activities to understand their performance and impact. Marketing analytics allow raw data to be translated into rich narratives that enable strategic decision-making and provide invaluable insight into the patterns of consumer behaviour and perception.

What are some key areas that marketing analytics can help with? Read on…. 

While trial-and-error can be used to form a marketing strategy, this approach can be a real drain on resources. How can this drain be avoided? Look no further than your analytics. With marketing analytics in play, questions like, “Is it working?” and “What should we focus on next?” are invited to take a front seat. Analytics can shed light on the answers to questions like these, reducing the element of guesswork in your marketing. 

Once you establish your objectives plus what sort of insight you want to gain from an activity, employing the relevant analytics and control measures will help you establish a more effective feedback loop. This loop will allow you to monitor progress against your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It will also indicate whether you need to adjust your approach in order to more closely meet your goals. You can get feedback immediately from real-time analytics (think: the data you will see on a Google Analytics 4 homepage) or as part of a longer analysis (think: A/B tests). 

To put the above in a practical context, let’s use the example of social media. If you’re looking to increase the engagement rate for your social media posts, instead of endlessly randomly posting you can check the analytics for your highest-performing posts at the end of the month. If you can identify any common features – be this time of posting, format or something else – you can try replicating these in future posts to try and see if they reproduce similar engagement rates. 

Essentially, the takeaway here is that by reducing the error in ‘trial-and-error’, marketing analytics work to optimise your efforts, giving you a much better chance of achieving your objectives. 

Underneath, the quirky adverts, the punchy rebrand and the edgy social media feeds, lies the true beating heart of marketing – the customer. As we all know, marketing is essentially about understanding your customers and meeting their needs as fully as your offer allows.

Marketing analytics can help you further understand what makes your customers tick. What’s more is that they can also help you understand what makes your customers tick at each stage in their journey. You can get his insight by implementing KPIs to track behaviours and preferences from the top of the funnel all the way through to the bottom. Noticed that your social media is getting high engagement rates and driving great traffic to your website? But for some reason the traffic is not converting and your bounce rate is super high? It may be time for a content audit. Analytics pave the way for a more comprehensive awareness of the actions you need to take to coax customers through your whole journey, effectively super-powering your funnel.

This greater awareness can also reveal patterns and trends that you can use to segment your audience more effectively. If you’re able to segment more effectively, you open up more opportunities for greater personalisation for each slice of your customer base. 

This is great news for marketers everywhere because the current age of choice overload we find ourselves in is one where consumers are crying out for, nay, demanding personalisation. Research by Shep Hyken suggests that 81% of customers favour companies that offer personalised experiences (see his 2024 ‘The State of Customer Service and CX’ report for more). Meeting the demand for personalisation can lead to customers feeling seen and heard by a brand and therefore more likely to award a brand with their loyalty. 

So, having a grip on your analytics can lead to greater insight to the customer journey and more personalisation? Yup, it definitely sounds like marketing analytics can give you a win here.

The ever-evolving digital landscape has undoubtedly opened up a lot of opportunities for society. It has also made way for a lot of competitors who are constantly fighting to dominate the market. How can you keep up with them and maybe even beat them to the throne? You guessed it – marketing analytics. 

You can use marketing analytics for competitive analysis to see how you compare to the market. Are your engagement rates comparable? Is your follower count growing at comparable rates to theirs? What kind of channels and tactics are they using? Having information like this in your arsenal will help you be aware of a) your competitors’ performance, and b) areas that you may need to pour some more blood, sweat and tears into if you want to stand out. Also, while you definitely don’t want to simply copy others, your competitors’ actions may inspire you to refine your own strategies or explore a different direction. If your competitors are pulling in the (relevant) masses, it might be worth taking a few notes. 

More generally, staying on top of the analytics will allow you to keep an eye on what’s going on and gives you the chance to quickly respond to any significant changes in the market. 

Marketing analytics is not just for your consumers – they can also pack a punch when it’s time to demonstrate value with your stakeholders and shareholders. We know, there are a fair few people who think that anyone can do marketing with their eyes closed and one hand behind their back whilst balancing on a tightrope (!). Such people may need a bit of help to see the value of marketing. 

Marketing analytics can be the eye-opener they need as they bring precise metrics and insights to the table that demonstrate the effectiveness of marketing programmes. Quantifying the impact of marketing initiatives in terms of KPIs such as conversion rates, customer acquisition costs and customer lifetime value helps stakeholders to more easily understand the return on investment (ROI) of the marketing budget. Setting the story of the impact of marketing within the context of data can help you to secure the buy-in you need from the senior leadership team to justify continued or further investments in new technologies or campaigns. Sometimes, it’s simply easier to make a case with numbers. After all, when used with integrity and great responsibility, numbers don’t lie ;)

These are just a few aspects that in my opinion broadly show some of what marketing analytics brings to the marketing table. It allows us as marketers to act from a data-driven perspective and make strategic decisions that are informed by more detailed insight. 

A note of caution though: while marketing analytics are powerful, they must be wielded with thought. To get the most out of them, really think about the question(s) you want to ask of your data. Asking the right things will add direction to your marketing, helping you to select relevant KPIs to measure. Without a relevant question, you are essentially reducing your data to a series of inane numbers. What’s the use of knowing your bounce rates, average reading times, impressions and other stats like that if they don’t help you answer questions and ultimately achieve your objectives? Remember, your data is a storytelling tool so make sure to establish a sense of direction so you can tell the best story.

Overall, having access to more detailed insight means that you’re in a better position to work out whether you’re actually meeting the customer’s needs and, by extension, your objectives. This is important because, as previously mentioned, the customer is the true beating heart of marketing. Anything that gives you more information to the workings of their mind will help propel you closer to marketing success. 

"In essence, the way this humble marketer sees it, marketing analytics leads marketing to be its most marketing-self. Ain’t that a treat? "

BIG thanks to Abena for sharing her musings on marketing analytics. Follow her on LinkedIn for me. And for everything else, you can pick our brains here:

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