Data is foundational for businesses, and this is especially true in marketing. When collected and measured effectively, data can be credited for increased return on investment (ROI) and authentic brand loyalty. But the opposite holds true as well. When data is measured and analyzed incorrectly, it can produce results that are misleading and futile.
Today more than ever, organizations rely on data and analytics to drive not only marketing decisions, but decisions made across all departments. Yet, many find it hard to trust the insights that are driving these changes. In fact, Forrester Consulting and Marketing Evolution polled 200 marketing and advertising decision-makers for its report, “The Current State of Marketing Measurement and Optimization,” and found that an astounding 65% are concerned about the quality of their data. Still, The CMO Survey, released in 2018 and conducted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, reports that the amount of marketing budget companies plan to allocate to analytics over the next three years will go from 5.8% to 17.3% -- resulting in a 198% increase.
If organizations don’t trust their data, why are they funneling so much capital into it? Because marketers need data to meet the mark. But challenges like disparate and disconnected measurement methods are standing in the way by providing data that marketers simply can’t trust, hindering its ROI altogether.
What do your marketing measurement methods look like?
In exploring this juxtaposition further, the same Forrester report found that fewer than one-third of organizations meet all six of Forrester’s competency areas for an achieved state of “maturity” in their marketing measurement. To me, this suggests that the majority of marketers are using outdated measurement methods that produce siloed results and misleading campaign optimization recommendations. This is a major disconnect, and it is causing marketers to distrust the data provided to them.
By failing to leverage the right processes and the right tools, marketers are denied a holistic measurement approach and will not be armed with the tools they need to succeed. As analytics increasingly drives the future of campaigns, there needs to be a strong emphasis on ensuring the quality of results yielded. In doing so, marketers will trust the data and analytics and feel confident about the decisions they’re making.
In order to earn back their trust, it’s critical that marketers have a unified blend of analytically backed insights that strategically drive all elements of the marketing mix. Success hinges on an organization’s access to -- and ability to act on -- timely, accurate and increasingly granular data. This is because today’s empowered customers expect seamless, real-time and relevant brand experiences during all interactions.
If marketers fail to deliver on this and simply continue to bombard customers with irrelevant ads, they risk losing the sale altogether. But organizations seem to be having trouble implementing a unified measurement approach. Why is this?
It may be time to reanalyze your measurement approach.
To lead the data revolution within your organization, a variety of challenges must be overcome. Most common challenges include difficulty in collecting, integrating and managing data; difficulty implementing a holistic approach across silos; and, as no surprise, insufficient budgets.
The solution may be in finding the right technology partner that understands your data challenges, has experience addressing them and can become an extension of your own team. As technology continues to ramp up, the basis on which organizations compete will shift. Though the complexity of the data might prove overwhelming for in-house teams, the right partner can help build trust within your marketing teams by boosting the integrity of data analytics and allowing marketing teams to optimize campaigns in real time. (Full disclosure: My company, Marketing Evolution, offers marketing measurement and optimization solutions.)
If finding a technology partner seems like the right next step for your organization, there are a few things to keep in mind once you’ve finalized the request for proposal (RFP) process, checked and vetted references, and agreed on pricing. For starters, your partner needs to be fully transparent about their process, deadlines and how they plan to complete projects to support your goals. For instance, implementing milestones and identifying certain objectives can help to keep everyone aligned. The key to success for this new partnership is that the vendor seamlessly integrates into your day-to-day operations and helps drive results that can be proof points of increased ROI when presented to the boardroom.
Alternatively, if your organization’s preference is to keep things in-house, there are just as many steps you can take to ensure success and restore trust in your analytics. No matter how your data is harvested or what tools you use to optimize your campaigns, everyone using this data should ask themselves the following questions:
• “Where did this data come from?”
• “Why does this data matter?”
• “How will it be used?”
• “How will it drive value and increase ROI for this campaign?”
• “How will it be maintained and validated for accuracy?”
Lastly, all departments must be transparent about their data (even the poorly performing results) in an effort to break down data silos, miscommunication, discrepancies in results and duplicate data. This will help to keep everyone accountable and honest.
Whether your organization chooses to partner with an outside solution or handle data measurement in-house, data is here to stay, and it’s only going to become increasingly critical for success. As the digital transformation continues to make waves across organizations and industries, there is no doubt that there is an influx of data, and there will always be quick and dirty ways to analyze it. But it’s the teams that ensure measurement techniques are as accurate as possible and adaptable to the reams of data that will find success, leaving the competition far behind in the race for customers and brand loyalty.