Marketers nowadays are expected to be one of the primary drivers of their company's growth, with 83% of global CEOs having this expectation. At the same time, data-driven marketing is a top priority for enterprise marketing leaders, with 63% increasing their spending specifically on developing strategies from the analysis of big data.
Given the business outcomes that marketing data can help drive - this should come as no surprise! When marketing data & analytics are leveraged the right way to draw impactful insights, and when those insights are turned into meaningful optimisations - enterprises can realise business value in the following ways:
1) Monitoring & managing your brand's awareness
Getting a better view of brand coverage in real-time, so when it comes to growing the awareness of your business - you know where to focus your marketing & PR efforts.
2) Optimising your marketing department’s spend
Having the ability to exactly see what’s having the most impact - so you can identify and cut any wasteful spending, and double down on the activity that makes a real difference.
3) Proving how marketing is directly influencing revenue & using that to drive further revenue growth
Demand generation isn’t just about lead gen, and marketing analytics isn’t just about highlighting the ROI of campaigns. Reporting and showing marketing’s influence on the revenue of the entire business is key in terms of:
a) proving marketing’s worth to the business,
b) knowing what channels & campaigns are the best contributors to business growth.
Pinning this down and then taking meaningful action from the insights will help drive actual revenue growth for your business. Which is ultimately always the end goal!
Despite the massive business value that’s there for the taking - huge swathes of marketers struggle to achieve any of this.
In what seems to be a big case of “talking the talk, but not walking the walk”, 87% of marketers consider data their organisation’s most underutilised asset. Not only that, but just 38% of marketers have a high level of confidence in the data that’s used to drive insights.
Let’s dive more specifically into some of the biggest marketing data challenges enterprises face, and how you can overcome them.
Perhaps your marketing team isn’t yet data-driven (beyond the basics of opens/clicks/web traffic), or currently have an array of data KPIs that aren’t connected to a defined business goal. In this case, knowing where to start, or how to adapt your data to get meaningful insights and actions, can be a huge challenge. 81% of marketers consider implementing a data-driven marketing strategy to be complicated, so this is a pain point facing many.
Working backwards, begin by determining your company's core business goals and objectives. What are your business’ KPIs and what marketing data would be useful in achieving them? Ensure your marketing objectives are not only marketing-related but also connected with other key functions, especially sales.
For example, if your business has 2 core goals:
i) Driving substantial revenue growth year-on-year, and
ii) Attracting the best talent
- then the marketing data that matters, links directly to those two things.
In this scenario, the data points to focus on around revenue growth could include:
- Marketing-Influenced Revenue (out of your closed-won deals, what % engaged with marketing content or events along the way),
- Marketing-Influenced Pipeline (out of all potential deals in your pipeline, what % have engaged with marketing content/events so far),
- Net-New Acquisition (what closed-won deals started from a marketing source), and
- Sales-Qualified ABM Leads (number of Account-Based Marketing leads monthly that were qualified by the sales team).
Data points to focus on around Talent Attraction could include No. of Applications from Website (Monthly), and No. of Successful Hires from Website Applications (Monthly).
Once you have these pinned down, you can then focus efforts on exploring MarTech platforms that will enable you to measure and demonstrate these few but specific and meaningful data points. Which is much easier than trying to work out how to set up analytics for every possible marketing metric in existence.
Did you know, there are over 9,500 MarTech solutions out there!?
There are different platforms for paid advertising, SEO, CRM, marketing automation, email marketing, social media monitoring, web analytics, project management, and more!
The typical MarTech stack in any marketing team involves numerous platforms & sometimes it can be difficult to have a single, overall view of everything. You don’t want to have to go into the analytics section of 10 different platforms to present on marketing performance to your board of directors! Or manually create powerpoints with charts from all those platforms.
You need to integrate all your MarTech solutions. And from the main platform that is most widely accessible across your business (e.g. the CRM <like Salesforce> - which senior leadership and sales would have access to) - set up a dashboard incorporating all of your core marketing metrics in one single view.
Many MarTech solutions are geared towards being integrated with the most used platforms (e.g. sales intelligence platforms can be integrated with Salesforce, and the main marketing automation tools like Marketo/HubSpot can be integrated with Salesforce). They typically have user guides on how to set up those integrations, which should be followed to connect the platforms.
Once connected - you can build your marketing dashboard. If you are building this dashboard in your CRM - you can use the data points that sync onto your CRM as the source for your charts (e.g. Marketing-Influenced Revenue = % of closed-won Accounts that have marketing activity synced onto their Activity History). In some cases though - you may need to use a tool called Zapier to assist with this if a MarTech platform isn’t easily integrated with your CRM. Your developer team or IT department should be able to assist you with this.
Once you’ve honed down your core marketing metrics and have got a single view of them together - you may find it challenging to show the data points you need to highlight. This is caused by data gaps! (e.g. missing lead sources / event attendances / CRM info, etc.).
The lack of adherence to process (e.g. in your CRM system and/or your marketing automation platform) by both sales and marketing teams is a major cause, which can snowball over time if not addressed. Another common cause is not having your marketing systems integrated properly.
Spend some dedicated time examining your CRM database & website analytics to identify the main gaps in data (e.g. Is it that Sales aren’t marking up any follow-ups unless it’s a sale? Is it that event tracking hasn’t been set up for connecting Google Analytics to content assets on your website? etc.).
After you’ve done that - it’s a case of working backwards from what you’ve identified.
If Google Analytics event tracking is broken or unlinked between certain platforms - see if your development team can help fix those links. If the sales team isn't updating your CRM properly and that’s what’s causing the data gaps - make the CRM fields you need compulsory. That way, sales won’t be able to save the contact record without filling in those compulsory fields. Also, spend some sessions with your sales team training them on using the CRM properly and introducing a process to follow if necessary.
If your identification process has flagged any MarTech systems not integrating - look into solving that and getting those integrations working. If not already covered in any integration user guides that come with your MarTech platforms - reach out to your account management teams or the tech support of those MarTech platforms for help.
As marketers - at some point in our careers, we all will have come across at least one business stakeholder not having a clue what you’re talking about! This confusion can then escalate into misunderstandings spread across your business, a lack of buy-in into your marketing initiatives, or even a mistrust of marketing!
This issue is typically caused by presenting too many metrics, not being centred around the core goals of your business, not simplifying how you present your marketing data to business stakeholders, and not communicating it (and what it means for them and the business) in an effective way.
How you solve this - all stems back to the first challenge in this blog! (Re-read the solution under “1) Deciding where to start & what data to focus on for marketing”). It’s easy as marketers to drown ourselves with loads of data, but once you have honed down the data points related to your business's core goals - you can filter out all the noise. And just focus on those core metrics linked to what’s most important for your key stakeholders.
Once you have your people, processes, and technology in place - you’re in a solid position in terms of insights & optimisation based on historical data.
But what about when it comes to predicting future trends? What about when it comes to predicting future customer behaviour? Being able to respond fast enough to events happening in real-time? Or even, showing ads to the right people at the right time?
You need to harness the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning at the core of your marketing data & strategy. Interestingly, 83% of decision-makers who adopted AI early, have already achieved substantial or moderate business outcomes.
Consider how AI & ML may be used to aid in the prediction of future outcomes for your marketing strategy. Not only can AI & ML automate the analysis, insights & optimisation of your data - but they can also construct models from data across all your MarTech platforms to predict what will happen if you start employing a new tactic or stop doing a current activity.
Many enterprise marketing teams face an array of significant challenges that obstruct the use of data in driving meaningful insights and optimisation. However, these challenges can all be overcome with the solutions detailed above, to unlock substantial business value.
In terms of staying ahead of the curve - AI & ML is critical in that equation. For many marketing leaders out there though, AI & ML can be intimidating to deploy since they need significant effort and resources to implement successfully. Not just in the implementation phase - but also in how to continuously leverage them to help drive growth constantly.
If this is something your marketing team needs help with, or if you’re already on your journey with AI/ML implementation and are wondering how to accelerate it - feel free to reach out to us for a chat.
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