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Best Practices

How To Be DataWise: Interpreting Data Doesn’t Have To Be A Horror Show

My guiltiest pleasure at this time of year is horror movies. Tapping into my greatest fears and moving out of my comfort zone is truly thrilling. Oddly enough, the anticipation of gathering and interpreting marketing data often gives me the same rush of adrenaline. The unusual or unknown can sometimes a source of fear. A dark alley, an unexpected noise… or campaign data that is ambiguous or misleading (duh-duh-duhhh!). You never know what unexpected insight is hiding behind the next corner of your campaign or what disjointed puzzle you’ll have to face.

Nightmare on Data Street

The data- it’s out there. And marketers are obsessed with collecting it. The more information the better, right? Marketers everywhere are building huge martech stacks, investing time and resources into mining mountains of information. According to a Marketing Technology Industry Council Study, the average B2B marketing department uses 16 different technologies to manage its data with larger enterprise companies using more than three times that! That’s a terrifying investment considering only 12% saw a “significant” amount of value creation from their martech investment. There are many data-related reasons your technology stack might be failing you:

  • Too much data: It’s impossible to tell a cohesive story with mountains of information to sift through
  • Disjointed data: Siloed organizational structures make it hard to see the full picture
  • Insufficient data: (I can hear your screams from here)
  • Inaccurate data: Different tools in the same martech stack can deliver contradicting metrics

However, data collection and interpretation doesn’t have to be a horror show. Marketers can and should use data to abate fears and help ensure future campaign success. Check out 3 important steps to take in order to survive the dark and sometimes dusty corners of marketing analytics and become DataWise.

Choose your tools and decide how to use them

The size of your tech stack does not correlate with the quality of your data. 50% of B2B marketers polled by the Council’s study reported having too many technologies as one of their biggest challenges and 49% said platform integration was their biggest pain. Having all the pieces of the puzzle is great, but only if you know how they all fit together.

Take stock of each piece of your martech stack: Your marketing automation platform, CMS, CRM and so on. What purpose will each of them serve? Is there any overlap or are there any gaps in the dataset? Once you’ve answered some questions, it’s imperative to build a strategy on how to seamlessly franken-stitch the metrics together to tell the whole customer story and inform future campaigns.

Design a framework to interpret the data?

Many organizations are drowning in data but lack a tactical approach to make sense of it. It is critical to develop frameworks for data analysis to ensure it’s accurate and can be used to optimize your marketing strategy.

Data is organized differently across platforms. Check some key questions off to ensure you’re getting a cohesive set of insights that will drive your campaigns forward:

Orange and Blue Ask Yourself questionnaire on a white background

CAUTION: There are bots lurking around out there delivering false positives to your MAP. Make sure you’re armed with the right tools and practices to combat these data-killing bots to get a crystal clear picture of who your customers are and how they’re engaging with you.

Turn data into action

Full tech stack? Check. Seamless integration? Check. Now’s the truly tricky part–figuring out how to action your precious data to effect change.

First, ensure your tools have customizable views for analytics. That way you can filter out the metrics you don’t require from the platform and stay laser-focused on the ones that matter most.

Set your dashboards up so you’re always able to compare the performance of new campaigns to old campaigns. Understanding how your new campaigns stack up will make it easy to continually set realistic benchmarks and stretch goals. Your dashboard should also help you view your metrics in real time so you can identify issues ASAP and optimize on the fly.

Finally, consolidate your metrics as much as possible to minimize manual data entry and having to pull different numbers from different places. This will streamline your reporting process and help avoid human error to get the most accurate data possible.

With a little careful planning, it’s not so scary to navigate and uncover the deep dark corners of your marketing data. Put the right tools in place, answer the right questions and you, too, can become DataWise.

 

Written By
Matt Everson
Matt is National Director, Digital Marketing Services at KPMG Canada

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