Analyse This! A Looming Crisis in Marketing?

At the behest of our Head of Marketing, Ashwin, Social & Content Marketing Manager, is experimenting with overly dramatic blog titles, in an effort to address what he sees as a troubling trend in the marketing sector.

What’s worse – not utilising social platforms, or using them and not quantifying your results to see if it’s worth the time and money?

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Credit / iStock

The Numbers Behind The Numbers

Social is still a relatively young medium, but one that’s maturing at a frightening rate, leaving many organisations behind. The CMO Survey published earlier this year, looked at the progression of 400 marketers sampled through from 2009. They were asked questions regarding their marketing, optimism for the future, but most importantly, their use of analysis within their roles.

Research found that of the companies surveyed, the percentage put aside within marketing budgets for Social Media, on average, was steadily increasing. Over a third were planning to spend more than they currently do in the next 12 months, and significantly more over the next 5 years.

Although more resources are being put into social, as well as similar forms of outbound and inbound marketing, many firms haven’t been able to show any real attribution towards business goals. Why are businesses investing in a marketing strategy that isn’t yielding the results they want? Is it that they aren’t receiving the results or is it they do not have the expertise to analyse their data and marketing outcomes pre and post campaign?

The CMO survey found that most companies do not have the talent to analyse their marketing strategies and whether social media is aiding them. A mere 6.1% said that they had the right talent needed to assess the leverage of marketing strategies; measured on a Likert Scale it showed that 33.5% of firms believed they did not have the capabilities to assess the impact of social media. It may be that social media marketers are focusing on creating ‘good content’ – but what is the measurement of ‘good’? A lack of quantification, and thus goals, will not help to accurately target future campaigns, or help understand exactly how brands are engaging with users.

Mal-Content Analytics

While the survey focussed on Social, it speaks to a wider problem across industry of a talent drought within digital marketing analytics. At the risk of plugging our own product – on our own blog, God forbid – dotMailer has several native functions and integrations that allow for data visualisation – producing reports and actionable analytics. However, if you don’t have the talent to interpret the data and match it to the arc of your digital strategy, a cool tool quickly turns into a dull spoon.

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Credit / iStock

It’s not all bad news. Edison Research‘s Tom Webster, believes that now is the opportune moment to build capabilities within analytics, to recruit analysts and to integrate measuring pre and post campaign results into the marketing schedule.  If you lack the internal resource, hire an analytics agency – getting on the road to understanding your data is paramount to moving forward with a modern digital strategy.

That solution doesn’t build resilience from a HR perspective. Another answer is wider training. Google’s Analytics ‘university’ offers free courses and certification in site analytics – understanding the basics is a huge step forward, and it’s pretty much a universal language that bridges the gap with social, and wider digital marketing. Ask yourself – what if your whole marketing team were empowered with that knowledge?

Cool Tools

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For those that have the basics locked in, there are a few free and very affordable social metrics solutions that I would recommend:

  • Sprout Social – at its heart, a scheduler. However, it’s got a great analytics suite. Try their 30-day free trial!
  • Topsy  – Running an event with a #hashtag? Want to see if people are talking about your brand? Check this free tool to see how you shape up on twitter compared to the competition (there’s also a paid version available)
  • Pagelever/Unified – Realtime Facebook analytics, it gives you a solid idea of the virality and velocity of how your posts are spreading across the biggest social platform on the planet, along with providing insights on your paid promotion and ROI.
  • Simply Measured – I fell in love with SM at my last job. There’s nothing else like it – if you manage a lot of brands or verticals and have a big social presence, there really isn’t anything else that can compare. It provides the deepest metrics across *every* social platform out there, giving you awesome dashboards that you can run waving into meeting.

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(Btw we’ve also got a great bunch of eCommerce and Magento agency partners that can also help out with understanding your site analytics and data visualisation.)

How do I measure success? That’s a whole blog in itself. However, here’s a great post by global Facebook Marketer, Jon Loomer, who talks about the 8 Facebook engagement ratios you should be looking at.

Lastly, you might be asking, ‘Why is an email marketing automation company writing about social?’ Well, it’s my specialism; secondly, as I said before, learning audience analytics – on any medium – can only develop your understanding of your customers; and lastly, we do have great content sharing insight on the dotMailer platform…and also a social insight tool that’s currently in closed beta. But that’s also a blog for another time.

How does your organisation shape up to the CMO Survey? Do you have the talent you need? How have you managed to work around the issue? Do you have a cool social tool you’d love to suggest? Let us know in the comments.

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