Marketers have gone from being experts on who purchases their product and how to communicate with them to people who study data and implement software. Meanwhile, an underutilized group of web analysts pulls reports and isn’t truly engaged in the marketing process. These two groups are complementary, yin and yang, two peas in a pod. How do we utilize marketing data to make real marketing decisions?
Early on in my career, I recall sitting in the paste-up room at the agency I worked for and watching art directors stress over small little details to make their print ads perfect. This obsession was one that yielded high quality pieces that connected with the target market, spoke their language and gave them something they could relate with. There was research, loads of it, that helped with painting the picture of the consumer that was to buy the good or service. This research spoke to who they were as a person. In most cases, I could nearly place the name of a friend on the persona that was created. It was an incredible process!
For some years, now, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of digital marketing in many different capacities, but largely as a web analyst. Want the number of visits that came from PPC? Or how about the number of conversions? You got it! Web analytics, as a tool, has grown tremendously since I’ve been in the field, but how about its usage? What are we using the data for?
For the last 10 years or so, marketing teams have been told “it is all about data”. Teams get instant feedback and know whether their idea worked or didn’t and they don’t have to wait for 6 months to see the influence on their organization. This is indeed a powerful place to be, however, more often than not, marketers have become data analysts before being marketers. The alignment of a well orchestrated campaign is incredibly difficult to find on the web. So what is digital marketing really?
At its core, digital marketing is simply an addition to your marketing mix. Recall Seth Godin’s book Meatball Sundae where Mr. Godin relates marketing to, well, a sundae. We all know that a delicious start to each sundae is ice cream, or the product/service that is desired by the market it seeks to serve. All of the toppings (cherries, whipped cream, sprinkles – fill in your favorite) are the marketing channels; they can easily be added or subtracted from the sundae. This very approach means that you need to have a solidly aligned marketing campaign (or ice cream), so when you put the toppings on (add more marketing channels) it becomes even more of a tasty treat (tempting to the audience). In the instance you don’t, you end up with what Mr. Godin terms a “meatball sundae”.
How does this all relate to web analytics? Web analysts are in charge of measuring, both qualitative and quantitative results, and in addition, we can also help create and understand meaningful metrics that lend insight to how marketing is performing. One benefit to having a web analyst is they can truly tell you how your campaigns are resonating with your audience based upon how they interact with your website. It becomes easy to understand if you are meeting your goals and also see where there are struggles. Studies such as this go wildly beyond the simple quantitative questions of how much traffic? how many conversions? Instead, it drives the point that people have a need to be fulfilled and it is in showing them how the product/service meets the need that conversion happens. It is easy to see that web analysts are well beyond people who compile reports, but, instead, partners who want to see your business succeed.
This means that marketers need to concentrate on marketing. Why does the consumer want to purchase from your company? Create pages, websites that give consumers the information that they need to make a decision based upon who they are and the needs they have. Put your business in a place where the visitors who are coming to the site want to hear your message as opposed to forcefully broadcasting to everyone. After all, aren’t 5,000 visitors who want to hear your message more valuable than 5,000,000 who don’t really care?
The players needed for digital marketing are here, but many marketers tend to get caught in the mire of numbers. Instead, let’s get caught in the game of creating your favorite ice cream sundae, in a bid to gain valued business. Learn what customers want, what they currently think and dive deeply into the research of who they actually are. Be willing to attach a name of a friend to the persona, make the personal connection, because it is then, and only then, you can speak clearly to their needs. Embrace your web analyst and let them help you test your new sundae and help you to understand how it resonates with your market. A better sundae raises conversion rates of all channels, an improvement felt across each campaign. After all, don’t we all love a better sundae? I know I do!
If you would like to figure what ingredients that you need for your perfect ice cream sundae, please connect with our web analytics team!