These days it seems that every marketer is focused on getting more data- and analytics-focused. The promise of digital has always been getting real insight into the true impact of our marketing investments on sales. But for most of us, that promise has been just that -- a promise. The notion is appealing, perhaps, but it's often been more of a future hope than a current objective.
The problem is that most of us are going about it wrong. Here are the top five mistakes people make as they try to take an analytics-based approach to marketing.
Most companies are underinvested in marketing analytics infrastructure. OK, that's not necessarily what a frugal marketer wants to hear. But think about it. You have tens of thousands -- perhaps millions -- of customers. That's potentially hundreds of data points per customer -- across time. And customer information is just the tip of the iceberg. You also need to know about the people you touched but didn't convert so you can know if what you did actually had an impact.
You can't analyze tens of millions of events in Excel. And, by the same token, you can't derive the true value of all this data from a software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool that took two hours to implement. It's millions -- possibly billions -- of marketing events! When someone contends that you can unlock the value of all this information quickly with an off-the-shelf tool, does that sound credible?
The sooner that we all accept that investing appropriately in analytics infrastructure is critical, the sooner we can actually know what works. Only then will we have real guidance on what to do instead of basing our budgets -- and careers -- on hunches, confirmation bias, and the like.