You’ve got marketing data. The problem? You don’t have the resources to analyze it. Or maybe you do have resources, but you’re having a hard time pulling actionable insights from your data. We get it.
But picture this: All of your marketing data in one place with easy-to-follow visualizations. You’ve got a wide-open window into all the information you have ever wanted to know. Now you have the power to make optimizations to improve results in real-time.
And it’s not just a data analyst who has the only keys to the data kingdom anymore. Everyone can see it, read it, and be informed to make recommendations. Your entire team is smarter, their brains infused by the power of data.
Sounds ideal, right?
Well, here’s a secret: It’s not a fantasy (unless you were picturing yourself with a cape. But that’s on you). This step-by-step guide will set you on your way to marketing data bliss.
Step 1. Align as a team
Gather your team into a huddle and begin with the key performance indicators (KPIs) of your business. You will all need to align on these before you even begin deciding what to measure, let alone actually analyzing any data.
Next, align on your cadence for data review/analysis – will you be looking month over month? Year over year? Quarter by quarter?
Finally, align on the data priorities. Not sure what this means or want more context? Read on to Step 2 for all the juicy details.
Step 2. List what you want to gain from analyzing marketing data and decide what to measure
Begin by asking yourself and your team what you want to get out of analyzing the data. This will guide what you’ll measure. This could be a mile-long list, but narrowing it down gives you a starting guide.
Ask these two essential questions before diving into data analysis for a marketing campaign:
Where do you want to gain more understanding? Pick one area of focus to begin. This could be questions like:
- Who is my audience?
- What are users doing on my site?
- What creative is most engaging?
- Which messages perform best?
- Which channel is giving me the best ROI?
What is worth measuring? Refer to the answer from the prior question and decide which metrics will be the most useful. Not sure where to start? Go back to the discussion with your team about the business goals from Step One. This will reveal what could be the key performance indicators for the campaign. Choose somewhere between 4 and 10 KPIs to focus on, whether that’s CTR, visits to site, sales growth, or leads.
Step 3. Understand where your data is coming from and integrate, integrate, integrate
Before you even begin to analyze marketing data, you need to get your hands on the right data to analyze. Once you start digging in you might be surprised to find all of the sources of data you have access to and then you start making connections.
Honestly, this might be the scariest part. Stick with me, I promise it will be worth it.
First you have to make friends with the person with access to the sales data (providing that’s a thing for you). Buy them a beer. Get to know their kids’ names. Because having this data along with digital sales will help you make deeper connections . It’s really essential to understanding where your successes or short-comings are.
This data will need to be integrated with your website data tracking tool, which may as well be the free data gold mine known as Google Analytics.
The way we look at things here at LSB is that it’s essential that you integrate the different systems where your marketing currently lives and figure out how to connect them so you can see the bigger picture. If you look at each platform in a silo you will lose valuable connections and build a less compelling story.
To integrate on-site behavior and digital sales to marketing:
- Link Google Adwords to your Google Analytics account directly
- Implement tracking parameters for social and other digital media
- Build goals and ecommerce tracking for desired on-site actions and digital sales data (told you it was coming)
To integrate all data sources and metrics:
- Use Google Data Studio’s the free platform.
- Consider buying one of the million tool options that will more easily integrate and visualize your data in one place. This will take analyzing marketing data to the next level (who doesn’t want that?).
Step 4. Visualize your data to tell a story
Ok. So you connected all those data streams. You narrowed down what you want to learn and gain from analyzing marketing data. What’s next?
It is now up to you to put the most human element in by using simple visualizations to tell a story with data. Analyzing marketing data through visualizations will make it easier for you to comprehend the information and get others excited.
As author and data analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik says, “we should present our data as effectively as possible in order to … allow our leadership teams to understand the singular point we are trying to make so that the discussion moves off data very quickly and on to what to do with the insights.”
Fortunately, there are tools that make this easier. Using Google Data Studio or a paid tool, you can visualize the connected data in a single dashboard.
But not so fast! All too often, dashboards can get cluttered and confusing with too much information or graphs displayed.
Here are 5 quick tips when creating a story through visualizations:
- Know your audience
- Only include visualizations that you will refer to when telling the story
- Less ink is better
- Look at graphs from an outsider’s view; if they are easy to understand in under 15 seconds, you are on the right track
- Don’t over-complicate. This could mean you have nothing more than five bar graphs. That’s OK! Don’t create a pie graph just because it will shake things up if all it does is confuse.
When telling the data story, you should also use industry standard metrics to compare your performance to others.
Sure, any data is great, but using industry specific benchmarks gives your story more color. You might even be able to build your own benchmarks to compare against past campaigns if historical data is available.
Step 5. Optimize using your knowledge
What good is all of this hard work if it doesn’t lead to action and better results?
Use your awesome dashboard and platform connections to begin taking action. Is the story you formed in step 3 the one you are proud to tell others? If not, what can you change to make it better? Revisit step 2 and start with those metrics you picked out as KPIs. Work to improve those first and then dive a little deeper.
The goal is mid-flight optimizations and continuous improvement. Optimizations are an uphill climb (cue Miley Cyrus’ The Climb); you won’t be able to tackle all of the amazing ideas you thought of while analyzing your marketing data in one day. But, trust me, with a focus on the data and optimizations, you will start to see your results trend in the right direction. And eventually, you might need that cape after all …