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Marketing performance analytics: Hello. Is there anybody out there?

This post was originally published on the Novacom blog.

Way back, when I first started in the marketing sector in London UK, one of the first tasks I was involved with at the agency I worked with was the production of a series of ultra-high quality brochures for one of our global clients.

Two years after completing this project, I was invited to attend a meeting at this same client's office in Brussels, Belgium. After our meeting we were headed out to a nearby restaurant, and my client host went to a storeroom to get an umbrella to protect us from the rain. I went with him.

Umbrella, but no ROI

As I stood in the storeroom doorway, I spotted a large pile of around fifty unopened cartons labelled with the title of the brochure I had produced for them two years previously. So, it seems these brochures had been researched, written, printed in six languages and dispatched across the EU to die in a storeroom in Belgium.

This seems like a pretty bad return on investment (ROI) and while I subsequently discovered that due to a commercially valid issue these brochures had had to be ditched, I bet the performance deficit this created was never recorded.

You can't hide from an unrealised ROI with an umbrella.

Analytics, but no clue who

It’s easy to think that the lack of accountability couldn't happen now, but it does. While hard copy brochures are now very much in decline due to the rise of digital marketing, marketing performance measurement is still in its infancy.

That is to say, as I speak with many of our new clients about what we are planning with them, I am often surprised at their lack of understanding of just what is now possible in terms of performance measurement including personal profiling, demographic targeting and behaviour tracking.

Data, but no raison d'être

These clients will often tell of receiving purely one dimensional performance analysis from their previous agencies, ticking the agency's data delivery box, but in reality not really offering much more than bare and lifeless statistical information.

The unfortunate issue with these situations is that the client often didn't know what data could be made available, so didn't know what to ask for. That said, unless the data had been extracted from multiple touch points and coalesced appropriately, it would have been just more of the same one dimensional data.

Numbers, and now vision

The reality is that valid, usable and meaningful data acquisition requires skilfully constructed data harvesting architecture across the complete length and breadth of any digital marketing programme. This is because data only has legitimacy at highly specific points in a campaign, and where and why it should be harvested are critical questions in this acquisition process.

And this in itself will not deliver an answer, because data harvesting is just that - data harvesting. What now needs to happen is that the data should be coalesced into performance metrics relating to statistically robust visitor behaviour analysis, to give it shape.

Vision, and now learning

If data is coalesced within these tight, focused and structured metrics, a clear picture of the target audience becomes clear, meaning you will not only know how many people you are dealing with, but who they are and precisely what they want.

Acquiring data is one thing. Data needs to be harvested at logical, precise and controlled touch points, and identifying these clearly means your digital marketing agency must have a good understanding of your business sector.

Insight and ROI

So, when choosing a digital agency, make sure you are fully aware of their performance monitoring and analytical capabilities.

If you select the right agency for this work, you can ensure your campaigns are analysed in a way that makes data truly three dimensional, giving you the market insight you need to deliver critical ROI through data-driven marketing.


Secondary photography (1): Crossing by Robert S. Donovan. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0