From IT and marketing working together; to getting micro-analytical; to using analytics to be predictive; to focusing on the “smaller” in SMBs, the New Year is shaping up to be a challenging and opportunistic one for marketers
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” This quote from American business magnate John D. Rockefeller could be the theme behind our look at four trends in performance marketing for 2022. Many marketers are doing just fine, despite what 2020 and 2021 threw at them, but we can all do better. We believe the New Year brings promise and opportunity for those willing to use analytics tools at their disposal.
Data from marketing analytics and the insights drawn from it will be more important than ever. Imagine if Rockefeller, one of the wealthiest Americans of all time, were alive today and had all the marketing analytics data available at his disposal to make his businesses grow?
With that entrepreneurial spirit in mind, we compiled our list of what’s new and different about the marketing attribution and customer journey analytics space for 2022 – and how to put it to work to grow your business, small or large:
1. Focusing on the “Small” in SMB – Analytics is for Everyone
Whether a global business behemoth with a massive marketing team, or a small business with one part-time marketing person, paying attention to marketing analytics has more value today than it ever has. For our purposes here, we are focusing on the Small-to-Midsize Business (SMB) category.
The “small” in this category applies to companies that make less than $50 million annually, while companies that make between $50 million and $1 billion are considered mid-sized. That’s quite a gap but compared to mid-market and large enterprises that earn multi-billions annually, the distinction is not all that surprising.
SMBs are near and dear to us, as we’ve worked with more than 30,000 of them over our 6 years in business. Which brings us to our point: the “small” businesses in SMBs should take full advantage of marketing analytics. Multi-touch attribution (MTA) and customer journey analytics (CJA) can provide a lot of value by encouraging, informing, and driving increased marketing performance.
It’s time. We are raving fans of analytics, and we think SMBs should be, too. Whether they use a full analytics suite of products like we offer or take advantage of attribution add-on tools such as those in WordPress or Shopify, for instance, SMBs will be getting into the analytics game. As an example, for our customers, we have our own WordPress plug-in they can use to immediately get started with analytics via attribution.
The trend here is that analytics is pervasive. Small businesses should use analytics tools at their disposal to inform their marketing performance so they can improve their campaigns and improve top-line growth and bottom-line profit. Optimizing return on ad spend (ROAS) is more important for small businesses than any other business type. Every. Dollar. Counts.
In 2022, SMBs will continue to adopt analytics at a rapid pace and can, and will, benefit from the best practices established by larger, global brands. With a little effort, analytics can be a powerful partner to any business, pushing efficiencies and – more importantly – boosting profit.
2. Predictive Marketing – Get Humans Involved with the Data
Data is great – whether it is collected from online forms, inbound call info captured on pen and paper and transferred to a spreadsheet, via an algorithm that processes data, or other methods. No matter how it is gathered, we believe data is even better when combined with human intelligence, even gut instinct.
Data can be messy in a lot of cases. Without a human, data is useless. Human touch makes it useful. Data is, and should be, an invaluable asset. It’s more than just a reporting mechanism; it’s actionable.
“People + Data = Better” is a mantra we here at LeadsRx operate under. Sure, we can take Google at its word that all those clicks on paid ads should give them full credit for conversions. But we know there are, in many cases, more steps in that customer journey. Our insights and analytics team goes to work examining the data to identify exactly what touchpoints deserve partial credit for contributing to that eventual product sale or contract signed. Rarely is a journey a one-stop shop.
Imagine being able to harness that path-to-purchase data from past customer journeys, as well as capturing how other brands within an industry are faring, to predict the best way to reach existing and new customers. Predictive marketing, based on past analytics and benchmarks, is coming to the forefront.
Existing attribution and customer journey analytics data can, and will, fuel increased marketing performance. What if the outcomes of marketing campaigns could be predicted, with a small margin of error? It’s almost like brands soothsaying their way to success and mitigating failure. We are working hard to use aggregated, impartial data – creating inferred and predictive analytics – to drive a more sure-step approach to marketing.
Predictive analytics is nothing new. It is, however, becoming something marketers cannot ignore. In 2022, it will become a powerful tool marketers can wield to improve performance. According to one article, “If you don’t start incorporating these strategies into your marketing, you could quickly fall behind your competitors.”
For us, it’s less about a business falling behind its competitors; it’s about a business improving its own marketing efforts so it can grow and improve its bottom line. That can be done by optimizing ROAS, but it takes analyzing and garnering insights from historical and current data and statistics.
We believe the “A” in Artificial Intelligence marketing tools should really stand for “Augmented.” It takes a human looking back at data from past marketing efforts and using that data to inform future marketing campaigns. Identify what has and is working, and has and is not working, to improve marketing performance down the road. Get predictive.
3. The CMO-CIO/CISO Relationship – Partners in Safe, Effective Marketing
The days of IT and marketing butting heads are long over. It truly is a partnership with one goal in mind: driving the business forward while protecting consumer privacy. The CMO and his or her team collect and analyze lots of data; and the IT team is charged with protecting said data.
Marketing needs the data to not only show the worth of the marketing department and its marketing spend, but to gather insights through analyzation of that data to provide insights to augment future marketing efforts.
The CIO, CISO, and the IT teams they oversee, on the other hand, are tasked with keeping marketing (and all other company) data safe and meeting internal data privacy standards and obeying external consumer privacy regulations. We must protect consumer privacy.
Consumers have driven the new landscape of increased regulation, and governments – and even web browsers – have taken action to protect customer privacy and avoid data breaches, whether nefarious or accidental.
The road is only going to get tougher, and the demands to protect data only more restrictive. The buck stops with the IT department; but it certainly does not mean marketers must halt collecting data or that a business will be blocked from using that data to retarget or serve up an excellent experience for existing and new customers.
Data Clean Rooms (DCRs) became a much bandied about term in 2021, and it will be more prevalent in 2022. For example, we offer the LeadsRx Privacy Studio™ service to one of our biggest clients, and many more are interested. Our definition: “LeadsRx Privacy Studio™ is a framework that establishes a Data Clean Room and puts IT teams in control of where and how collected data is stored. Corporate policy for privacy, user consent, and access become cornerstones of the system with IT squarely at the helm.”
Having IT “own” the data sounds ominous, but it really isn’t. It’s simply putting mechanisms in place so the data is managed and accessed in a secure manner. It’s a new requirement for marketing analytics and puts a spotlight on the importance of the CMO, CIO, and CISO being on the same page. In the end, the business is operating more efficiently and effectively with a privacy-first mentality while still having an eye on improved performance and profitability.
4. Precision Analytics – Segment and Target
We could easily have called this trend for 2022 “Micro-Analytics & Micro-Segments.” The idea here is to take data – from multi-touch attribution (MTA), customer journey analytics (CJA), additional demographic and psychographic data, and buying intent attributes – and divide it all up into smaller market or brand segments.
Let’s use a medium- to large-sized hotel chain as an example: Say it has hundreds of locations or more across the U.S., from large properties near amusement parks to boutique locations in urban settings to small 50-unit-or-less buildings in very rural areas near hiking or skiing.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know what is driving business in each of those specialized locations? How does the buyer of the downtown niche hotel room want to be marketed to vs. the outdoorsy type looking for that rustic room closer to nature?
It’s easy to see where insights drawn from analytics data can help a franchise with varied venue types and geographies. What messaging and cadence of campaigns works for middle America likely does not work for a big city property; or maybe aspects of each do cross over.
This micro-analytics approach is less about a business or brand separating itself from the competition (though that is nice); it’s more about examining the marketing programs they have done, and are doing, to determine what is working to attract paying customers.
It’s a strategy that puts the customer at the center of everything a business does. What are they offering that the consumer wants and/or needs, what messaging is effectively communicating their value proposition, and what touchpoints within their marketing campaigns are resonating either solely or, more likely, in tandem with other channels?
Precision analytics will tell you. As the referenced blog says, “Consumers often expect, if not demand, that the brand experiences they engage with understand where they’ve been, what they’ve bought, and what they are most likely interested in. In other words, they expect intelligent customer experiences whenever they engage with a brand.”
It continues: “Precision marketing matters because a brand’s desire to build a more meaningful, emotional, and contextual relationship with a consumer is now more aligned then ever with what consumers are demanding for brands to earn their continued business.”
Analytics from MTA and CJA help segment out customer paths-to-purchase and identify shifts necessary in existing and future campaigns to effectively and efficiently reach various sub-categories. Then a business can optimize its ad spend and overall marketing budget so it is indeed reaching the right buyer at the right time.
2022 – The Year Marketing Analytics Goes Mainstream
We opened with one of the most successful businessmen of all time, Rockefeller, so it is fitting to close with another. Said Henry Ford: “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”
It’s a bit facetious, as analytics may in fact determine that the advertising a business does is not working at all, and it’s that social influencer that’s really driving business. More than likely, there are several touchpoints working together to help marketing campaigns soar. But not measuring campaign effectiveness is the real crime.