3 Tips for how to Utilize your Digital Marketing Data
February 01, 2015
As a marketer one lives in measurable times. In this digital era, where data is abundant marketing managers finally have the chance to tackle the statement:"You can't manage what you can't measure".
The demand for accountability, and accordingly justification, has always been a marketing mantra but historically, data has been limited and often expensive to access. John Wanamaker's famous quote "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half," has haunted marketing for almost a century, as many have aspired to get true acknowledgement at the C-level.
Therefore, it is no wonder that the relative easy access to data in digital marketing is so highly trumpeted. Finally, we can put numbers on all digital marketing. While this partly rings true and holds new and exciting opportunities, marketing more than ever needs a steady hand. So what’s important to keep in mind when working with your marketing data? To get the insight you want, look at these 3 points:
Go beyond the classic funnel focus
Simplifying data too much may mean that you miss out on the new role of marketing. This is a legacy paradigm as for decades the main focus of marketing has been at the top of the funnel (yes, it’s still alive). In a digital world this will translate into signing off your marketing effort in terms of how many visit your website have or the number of likes on Facebook. You have to dig deeper into the funnel where marketing cross sales and even further. You need to look at the whole customer journey. If you don't, not only will you miss out on the chance to learn new things about your customers - you will also miss out on customers.
Data is just...data
Don't dig too deep, though. Full utilization of data is demanding in terms of the right software, resources and expertise. Today, few organizations have the capability to really capitalize and aggregate on big data and get a return from the investment in people and software. The risk of data overload or even using the wrong data to build digital presence is at your risk. Rather use small bites of data with a few core insights and then learn along the way.
Metrics is not a prime driver of your business
"All the money I spend on marketing has an effect, but I only do half of it because I can't measure it all". That could turn out to be the reverse reality of yesterday’s saying: in the pursuit of accountability marketing risk to go blind on metrics more than what actually moves the business. We then lose sight of the strategic goal and effects in return for small tactical gains. Deciding what needs to be done must not be defined by what is easy to measure, at the cost of what is the right thing to do. Due to the complexity and the demand for accountability, it is very tempting to prioritize the efforts that we can easily measure. But how does one measure the long term brand impact of the User Experience (UX) in your service app? How does one put a meaningful metric on trust in the interaction and design choices you have made on your website? Bounce rate? Not really. Still, you don't skip UX or designing the right graphical brand expression. That's because Marketers are primarily in the people persuasion business, and not digital media accountants. And when it comes to people we can't measure everything.
That's not saying you shouldn't do performance metrics. Au contraire. Anything that can give you an indication or, even better, exact numbers on your digital performance is valuable. It's just shouldn’t be the sole driver of your digital business. "You can't manage what you can't measure" is often wrongfully dedicated to Peter Drucker (in the context of effectiveness in organizations). But he never actually said that. What he did say about people management was: “It (the key objective) is the relationship with people, the development of mutual confidence, the identification of people, the creation of a community". Trust, engagement and personal communication. That's also what digital marketing is all about. It does not start out with an Excel sheet, but rather by understanding behaviour, triggers, needs and motivation. It is about the customer. Use new data sources to measure where possible, but more importantly use these new sources to broaden and deepen the understanding of your customer journeys, for instance through social listening, search patterns and behavioural data, which can be done with qualitative methods like interviews or user monitoring. Design around these insights with your business targets as a baseline and it will ensure your digital marketing strategy is a success.