Arriving in Bozeman, Montana for the first time and seeing the vast landscape and stunning mountain peaks, it is easy to fall in love. Golden fields give way to squares of green, bordered by roads that seem to go on forever. With the occasional building popping up, mimicking the distant peaks like Sacajawea Peak, the blend of natural and human landscapes appear with a respect for each other.
When I first ventured into the Marketing Analytics realm so many years ago, analytics were simple. All we needed to know was how many visitors made it our site and from where, and then how many of those converted to trials and sales. You can easily satisfy marketing stakeholders by slicing these conversion rates into their area of focus, be it Affliliate, Online, Email, or Offline to name a few.
But, over the years since I have to say that Marketing Analytics have evolved into quite a profound and somewhat complicated science that is even more fascinating. As time passed and companies struggled to control Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and Marketing budgets got slashed at the same time, Marketing execs found themselves having to dig deeper for a few reasons.
First they had to justify their current CAC by tapping into the Finance metric of Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV). They then had to dive into cancellations to understand Drop Rate to see how many of their new customers were “sticky” versus “loose” (we called these net zero customers, who purchase and leave in the first month). It used to be that Revenue was key, but many Marketers have learned that Revenue metrics are slow to respond to changes in the acquisition funnel. Hence the need for Drop Rate and CLTV by acquisition to compliment conversion rates. But then a fundamental shift in marketing came just a couple years ago.
Social media is the latest marketing fad. The most difficult thing about this fad is the lack of measurement. Facebook “likes”, Twitter followers, mentions and wall updates are extremely difficult to translate into a monetary return on investment (ROI). Successful companies have invested a lot of into creating and maintaining their brand, which pulls money away from more traditional and easily measured channels. While cancellations and CLTV are not directly impacted here, the health of a social media campaign can only be judged by how much it enhances the brand. Along side our conversion rates, we see “interaction metrics, such as responses to tweet and wall updates. You see, if your social media guru is posting stuff that your customers do not comment on, your guru is not a guru.
Not only do marketers have to know if your customers interact on Twitter, but they also need to know how their customers use their products. So, marketing should have readily available metrics from the CRM/product/content teams such as % usage rates, % support calls, as well as product personas. If your company uses the Net Promoter Score, heck, marketing should have access as well.
What does Marketing Analytics look like today? Well, those conversion rates are enhanced by post acquisition metrics. However, it isn’t as easy as it seems. In order to provide marketing with the enhanced data sets they need to compete in today’s corporate world, they need the support of Business Intelligence & Web Development teams to tie everything together. There is nothing worse than having a great product and not knowing anything about your customers because no one ever thought to implement unique customer tracking on the website.
While Marketing Analytics today are a bit more complicated compared to a few years ago, it is a fascinating place to be. Marketing is one of the few departments that really need a global view of the company, the product, and the customer to succeed. As an Analyst, this viewpoint is a goldmine for data geekery.
When wast the last time your Marketing team looked beyond conversion rates?