In the past five to ten years, the field of marketing has shifted significantly from a field of branding and awareness where success was measured by vague measurements like how a customer felt about your brand to a scientific field based on precise metrics and optimizations and insane levels of tracking your customers. Even CEOs and business owners are catching on to the fact that there is a wealth of data available for each and every marketing tactic you pursue and the availability of that data can drastically change how you approach your marketing.
Businesses that are using data to determine what customers are looking for and how they go about their buying journey are able to constantly reach millions of targeted consumers. When implemented well, data can be the engine that powers your brand. And you can take advantage of both the right channel and data-driven marketing trends to get your message to the right people at the right time.
As a marketer you probably spend a good amount of time setting up tracking pixels and determining how to measure site visits, clicks, etc., but are you spending the right amount of time analyzing your data and drawing insights from that data that you can use to optimize your marketing? Having tracking and analytics set up for all your marketing efforts is just the first step in your data process. You also need to ensure that you are regularly analyzing your data and making determinations based on those numbers and trends. But how do you know what data to analyze and how to go about preparing your data to ensure you’re looking for the right information and gaining valuable insights? Let’s take a look at the 10 questions every marketer should ask when preparing data for analysis.
- What are our overall business goals?
The first thing you want to consider when pulling data is your overall business goals. Your CEO or business owner probably established these goals at the beginning of your company’s fiscal year. Some common business goals include growing the business’ revenue by X amount or gaining X number of new customers. Determining whether your marketing efforts are working towards accomplishing these goals is likely to be of the utmost importance to the higher ups at your company and you, as a marketer want to ensure that you’re proving to them that their marketing dollars are being well spent and are working towards reaching their overall business goals for the year. In order to prove this, you want to make sure to pull analytics that help show how marketing is helping to accomplish these goals.
EXPERT TIP: Depending on your business goals, you might have to pull some business data in addition to your marketing data in order to determine whether marketing is helping you reach your business goals. For example, if one of your business goals is to increase your average sales price by $20 per purchase, you’ll have to not only look at the customers you’re converting through your marketing tactics but also how much they are spending per purchase.
- What are our overall marketing goals?
As with your overall business goals (but perhaps a little more obviously), you want to take a hard look at your overall marketing goals to ensure that the data you’re analyzing will help you determine whether or not your marketing is working towards those goals.
EXPERT TIP: When setting your marketing goals, you want to make sure that they are SMART goals that you will be able to use data to measure. For more information about setting SMART marketing goals, check out this helpful article.
- What data are we currently measuring? How does that data help us reach our goals?
Obviously you can’t analyze data that you don’t have so when you go to pull data to analyze, you’ll need to take a look at what you are currently tracking. If what you’re currently tracking isn’t related to your overall goals, you may want to consider changing up your analytics.
- How does that data help us determine if we are reaching our goals?
Ideally you will have set up your data to pull based on your overall business and marketing goals and the marketing tactics in your plan. For example, if one of your marketing goals is to convert more visitors into leads, you want to ensure that you’ve set up your website analytics to track the number of people converting to leads by signing up for your email newsletter or filling out a form on your website.
- What timeframe should I be looking at?
The answer to this question depends on a number of business factors and how your superiors want to look at the data. Does your company track sales on a weekly or monthly basis? When does your CFO check revenue gains? Does your CEO look for customer increases on a quarterly basis? When is the last time you did an in-depth analysis of your marketing data? All of these are things you’ll want to consider when determining what timeframes to consider.
EXPERT TIP: You’ll also want to consider where in the fiscal year your company is. If it’s the end of your year, you’ll probably want to conduct a deeper analysis than if you’re only two months in.
- What marketing tactics did we use in this timeframe?
This is probably one of the more obvious questions to ask, as you definitely want to make sure that you’re measuring the tactics that you actually put effort behind. This doesn’t, however, mean that you want to ignore metrics coming from other sources. There are tactics that you’ll want to pay attention to regardless of whether or not you actually focused on those tactics.
- Who are these metrics important to?
Before determining what you will analyze, you should determine to whom you are presenting this information. Think about it, the information that will be of interest to your Director of Marketing will likely not be as important to your CEO and visa versa. Much like you target your marketing messaging to your audience, you want to make sure you’re targeting your data messaging to the correct audience. This might mean you need to pull multiple pieces of data for different people but, we promise, it will be worth it if you’re presenting the correct information to the correct person.
- What types of data do I want to pull?
Now that you know what data you have access to, the next step in this process is to determine what you want to pull. Make sure you’re taking everything you learned in the last seven questions into account when you’re deciding what you want to pull. All of the data that you ultimately analyze should be based on your company’s goals and efforts.
- How should I organize the data to analyze it properly?
It’s no secret that reading data can be complicated even for the most experienced data scientist let alone your CEO who is really great at running the business but isn’t so great at understanding what a conversion percentage is. It’s your job to organize the data in a way that even the least experienced person at your company can draw conclusions and understand what the data means. This might mean you need to put in a little extra work on your end. You might want to forego individual numbers and instead plug everything into a chart to show the upward progression.
- Do I have to report on everything I track?
This is one we can answer for you… The answer is NO! You’re most likely tracking a lot of data and there is no reason you should feel obligated to pull, analyze and ultimately report on every little piece of it. (Unless, of course, your superior has asked that of you.) As we touched on earlier, some of the data you’re tracking will not be of value to the person you’re presenting your findings to, maybe you’re tracking it so you can better optimize your campaigns. Other pieces of data aren’t relevant for your overall business or marketing goals and therefore wouldn’t be of use to your superiors when determining whether your marketing is working towards your end goals. No matter what the reason is, the fact of the matter is that you probably won’t have to report on all of your metrics, unless you are asked to do so.
Regardless of the type of business you’re working in, you should definitely be spending time analyzing your metrics, as they will help you determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Ensuring that you are paying attention to the most important data for your business will help ensure that your efforts are working towards your overall business and marketing goals and helping grow the business.
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