By Wade Crang on October 27, 2011
The promise of digital marketing is that metrics, measurement, and data-driven decisions will help marketing executives to produce a higher ROI. And yet, as most top-performing marketers know, the proliferation of campaign data and tracking analytics has actually made our jobs harder, not easier. Layer on top the convergence of offline and online marketing campaigns and the issue further complicates itself.
Consider that in a 2011 study by Forbes nearly half of respondents reported increasing their spending on business intelligence and 78% reported that they were placing more scrutiny on what channels performed.
Yet in the same survey two-thirds of executives admitted to being challenged by the task of converting data into action. In fact, six in ten of those surveyed (60%) expressed fear that their reliance on metrics prevented them from having “breakthrough ideas.” And 58% of executives said that they spend more time analyzing than creating.
In simplistic terms, we know we are supposed to be making decisions on data. We know that tracking technology can show us the entire customer journey. The promise and ability is there. But we are still not quite using data and tracking technology to its full potential.
Here at Impact Radius we have been talking to our clients, and have some predictions about the challenges marketers face in 2012 as we try to turn the promise of robust data and real-time tracking into its full, profitable reality.
So many collection points. So little time.
It’s easier to harvest data than it is to interpret it. With the growth of social media analytics, remarketing, behavioral targeting and mobile marketing in 2012, marketers have more and more data sets to consider. Add to this the existing data collected from your web analytics, eCommerce system, ad networks, email
service provider, CRM database and campaign tracking solution–and the number of data points becomes overwhelming. What’s worse is that all this data sits in silos and is accessed through separate interfaces, which can lead to overlapping reporting. Benchmarks and KPIs are also not always present, making growth and performance measurement even more difficult.
Digital marketers understand the importance of such tools. They know that they provide a broader view of customers and the journey from initial impression to point of conversion for all channels. But none of these tools alone can give a holistic picture of how a customer moves from awareness through to a sales decision. That’s where multi-channel attribution comes in. Data from multi-channel attribution promises to show us the true value of each media channel and consumer touch points in an increasingly complex, fragmented purchase path—but we are still faced with the task of knowing which combination of channels is optimal.
In the study cited above, 26% of respondents listed that a top challenge was their ability to understand the influence of a marketing campaign beyond acquisition and conversion to include the influence of each interaction. And 25% cited that their greatest challenge was obtaining an integrated view of customers across multiple online marketing touch points.
More Data. Less Confidence.
In 2012, marketers will continue to try to bring maturity to their understanding of how we acquire, convert, and retain customers. But are digital marketers and CMO’s ready for the complexity of this data? The research suggests “no.” According to a survey of 1,700 CMO’s conducted by IBM, only 48% feel prepared to cope with this increasing amount of marketing data over the next 5 years.
In the Forbes study (cited above), more than 40% of executives said that they found it difficult to measure customer interaction via social media and via mobile media. This is pretty alarming, considering that social and mobile are not minor marketing channels: these are the new mediums in which our customers live. According to the IBM survey mentioned earlier, data explosion is cited as the #1 headache for CMO’s followed by social media (#2), proliferation of channels and devices (#3) and shifting consumer demographics (#4). (See Below).
How to better use real time data
Real time data is great so long as you have the technical capabilities to store, parse and analyze it in a meaningful way. Without a business intelligence (BI) tool to pull all the data together, marketers are left aggregating reports with low-tech spreadsheet solutions. This negates the luxuries afforded by real-time data capture.
To really optimize the data flow, and make efficient changes to your online campaigns, your web analytics need to talk to your eCommerce system which, in turn, needs to communicate with your partner tracking solution and your bid management system. Only then can you start, stop or pivot your campaigns and ad spend based upon real time ROI and engagement metrics.
These real time adjustments are essential in the digital marketplace. There is no such thing as mass marketing any more. Social media is empowering consumers. They want better products and services, more choice and more value and they’re willing to spend the time seeking their peer’s opinions to find the best purchasing option.
Consumers are now publishers and marketers need to capture real time market data to better understand the fragmented purchasing cycle. Offers need to be refreshed, ad messages need to be hyper-tailored and near instant post-conversion support needs to be delivered. None of this is possible without the ability to perform real time data analysis and pivot (adjust) digital campaigns accordingly.
Data Clarity Solutions Coming Soon
Impact Radius closely monitors problems and challenges faced by digital marketers, including issues pertaining to campaign data management. The Impact Radius product suite is designed to help marketers track online campaigns and provide greater clarity into the metrics that matter most to your online marketing programs.
If you’d like to learn more about how Impact Radius can help you better manage your campaign data, or if you just want some free advice, message us on Twitter or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.