Over the past few years the ability for companies to measure aspects of their marketing activity has increased like never before. Once upon a time advertisers would measure the level of interest their adverts had by the power surge on the national grid (people making cups of tea during a commercial break) things have come a long way since then.
The street research professional standing on a windy street corner asking passers by if they have ever heard of a brand or a product have been replaced by a range of “Analytic tools” the biggest and best known being Google analytics. These systems now give a huge amount of information about visitors, potential customers, social interactions etc.
Companies have been asking for more and more diagnostic information regarding not only their websites but also the wider range of marketing activity. Like “big data” this information is very impressive, but does it give you greater insight?
Well, I guess it comes down to one; know what questions you are asking of the data (by the way, top tip is to define the questions you want answering before you structure the information gathering landscape otherwise you are endanger of asking only the question you feel the information you have can answer) the second is knowing how to interpret the data you have. Now this might seem like a silly thing to say but even over the last few years the data that is available for diagnostics tools has grown exponentially, it’s easy to arrive at a situation that I call information myopia – or better known as “not being able to see the wood for the trees”
I’ll try and deal with each of these points separately but it is important to consider the answers you arrive at as a joined up approach.
The question of structuring your information gathering before you start any campaign should be carefully considered. What you wish to measure, what are the key indicators for success, remember the actual sale or exchange of money might happen further down the process so be careful about selecting simplistic measurements such as clicks on the website.
Once you have decided what information is essential, desirable and then nice to have, structure your information diagnostics tools to report on these events. As an example you can embed analytics throughout your website or email campaigns, assign different values (against the value you place on each interaction such as filling out an order form would probably have greater value to you then a visit to the homepage) – I would also consider linking up your information priorities across different marketing channels to see if you can measure the customer journey!
The second issue is that of information overload. Refining your information priorities will guide you in terms of prioritizing information generation, simplify reports, link anomalies to actions (raise in website traffic to TV commercial etc) and refine your data sets as your insight grows.
A key point to remember here is to be realistic, if you want to measure bottom-line results, profitability, sales etc then you must track and action right through the business operational infrastructure (marketing, sales, accounts etc) this will allow you to look at the acquisition front end and drive efficiencies within new marketing campaigns, or even modify existing campaigns.
I hope this has been helpful, if you have any question just drop me a line!