Are too many analytics channels affecting your business?

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.

Are too many analytics channels affecting your business?

The words of John Wanamaker, a successful US merchant and major marketing pioneer from the 1800s, will always have some resonance with business leaders and marketers, no matter their experience, where he famously lamented: 

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half. 

A pretty damning quote for the marketing and advertising industry, and one that many marketers would no longer expect to be relevant in the modern age of digital activity and tracking solutions. However, many marketing leaders and industry commentators still claim that Wanamaker’s words hold true, and that in fact the majority of advertising or marketing budgets are either wasted or unable to be tracked. 

This perception is common due to the huge range of channels, tracking, and platforms marketers can expect to use during their careers, from social media and apps to newspaper ads and everything in between. From a recent LinkedIn survey of digital leaders and marketers undertaken by researchers at OmniBI, a resounding number of respondents demonstrated the sheer array of channels being utilised today: More than half of marketers use between four and six digital channels, with almost a quarter, 24%, using over ten!

OmniBi researchers also asked marketers to count individual ad platforms, social networks, websites and so on as one channel – suggesting that the true number of individual platforms being regularly accessed is even higher.

The challenge here lies in being able to identify and utilize the meaningful numbers from all of these different data points to make actionable decisions. Statistics show that 47% of marketers suffer from siloed and difficult to access data. This multi-platform data takes time to source, analyse, dissect and aggregate. Different marketers across different teams, all using different platforms end up pulling in different directions toward the one same goal – reducing efficiency and the effectiveness of data research. 

This is where adopting a universal approach to accessing and viewing multi-platform data becomes the pivotal element, enabling change within a business. Without data analytics, Wanamaker’s statement comes true ‘ with data analytics, marketers have an unfathomable advantage over marketers of the past, and those who chose to embrace a data-driven strategy will, ultimately, win out. Data enables teams to analyse the past and work out which precise campaign, message or process delivered the best results for the desired goal. In fact, businesses using data-driven strategy drive up to 8x more ROI.

A successful data-driven strategy relies on teams choosing the right metrics against which to measure success. This certainly doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone in the team ‘ the ‘metrics which matter’ vary vastly at different levels of the marketing operation and of the business as a whole.

Marketing Executives, tasked with the execution, delivery & optimisation of individual campaigns may look at metrics like ‘engagement’ and ‘sentiment’ to steer their decision making. Let’s take a social-first campaign execution ‘ it’s valuable for those managing these campaigns to dig down at all levels to measure the success of individual campaigns ‘ to identify what worked and what didn’t. This is the basis of good optimisation decision making ‘ optimisation is, by its very nature, a ‘tweak and refine’ process.

However, CMO’s CEO’s and others at C-suite level are less interested in finding out which individual image on a Facebook carousel generated the most clicks. This level of sentiment and engagement means relatively little to them in of itself. At this level, it’s the larger numbers which matter (and more often than not this boils down to revenue generated & ROI). Joining these dots is key: demonstrating that the sum of the small incremental campaign adjustments and enhancements combine to deliver the ‘big’ numbers.

To a degree, data-driven marketing in the trenches is about creating successful campaigns; but at C-Suite level, it’s more about demonstrating that success within the company. Aligning campaign performance with sales revenue to join the digital dots.

It’s clear that no matter your role in the organisation, your marketing data should be used to drive your strategic decision making, empowering you to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t, delivering better results. Demonstrating this is the challenge, one where reporting is a key differentiator.

Going back to Wanamaker’s fable, we think it is possible to know which half of your marketing is performing. In fact, it’s actually possible to determine how much of the budget is working, how much isn’t performing, where it is performing, why it is performing, who it’s performing for and what actions can be taken to optimise this performance, whilst demonstrating the impact on the ‘big numbers’ too. Across all your channels. All in one place.  

James Gray
James Gray

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