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How businesses are driving value from marketing analytics

How businesses are driving value from marketing analytics Tricia Heinrich

Today's connected customer leaves a trail of valuable digital data, and marketers are developing increasingly sophisticated ways to harness and take advantage of this information. In a recent study of B2B marketers that we conducted, 97 percent of respondents reported that using marketing analytics has made them more successful, and 87 percent said they plan to increase their marketing analytics investments in 2015.

Specifically, we're seeing marketers use analytics to drive development of hyper-customized content, build a complete and holistic picture of their target audience through data integration, and send the right message at the right time through real-time analytics. Let's examine each of these.

Analytics for hyper-customization

Gathering information on your target audience isn't a new phenomenon, and marketers have been tracking website clicks to deliver more personalized content to customers for some time now. Seeing an item you recently checked out on Amazon appear on the sidebar of your Facebook page is nothing new. What is new, however, is the depth of the data and resulting insights marketers now have on customer behavior. Marketing technologies are becoming increasingly sophisticated and able to provide more detailed, in-depth analytics on how customers are engaging with content (including questions they may have asked about a product or service and their purchase history), ushering in a new era of customization.

With the detailed behavioral analytics available, marketers can develop highly targeted personalized content. Additionally, analytics that are built into various platforms (such as websites, webinars, and social channels) reveal not just what customers are interested in, but also the degree to which they're interested. This intelligence provides marketers with a classification or lead score on an individual's level of interest that arms sales teams with the information needed to market to specific customers.

Integrated data

Too much data is not necessarily always a good thing. Our research recently found that big data still remains largely elusive, with 77 percent of respondents noting that it is still a promise, not a reality. With so many data-gathering opportunities and tools available, vast amounts of information are bogging down marketing teams. Moreover, this data is often siloed, with analytics not being shared among different divisions in a business. It is not uncommon, for example, for a company's Marketo system to be gathering and storing information in one place and its Salesforce CRM application to be collecting and saving data somewhere else.

This is now beginning to change. Of marketers we recently surveyed, 86 percent report they are able to measure how customers are interacting with their content. Sophisticated marketers are integrating analytics captured from various sources to paint one cohesive and holistic picture of the customer. It is crucial that marketers connect information to create an integrated analytics ecosystem so they can develop meaningful insights that direct sales and marketing teams' strategies for successful results.

Timing is everything

When making actionable business decisions from data, timing is key. Every marketer understands it is critical to target the right people with the right message, at the right time. Sending along a pricing sheet when your customer is not yet far enough along the purchase path can actually have an adverse effect on your efforts to close the deal.

Information accumulates on customers at a rapid space. The 24/7 connectivity of customers, combined with information-gathering systems analyzing their digital footprint, is providing a rich, vast amount of analytics that can quickly transform leads. A new search or new question asked about the product, for example, can dramatically affect the quality of a lead. For marketers to leverage this information and develop the right approach for these leads, they need near- immediate access to these details. Fortunately, marketing platforms providing real-time analytics are available. When integrated with an organization's entire analytics ecosystem, this data can update leads in real time so marketers distribute the right content at the right time.

Marketers have come a long way in collecting data, and the myriad of CRM and marketing solutions available is offering more analytics than ever before. How are you maximizing the value of your marketing analytics? Have you had success with any of these strategies?

Tricia Heinrich is senior director of strategic communications at ON24.

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Tricia Heinrich is the senior director of strategic communications at ON24, provider of cloud-based webcasting and virtual communications solutions.

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