5 Ways for Marketers to Overcome the Analytics Hurdle

Overcoming the analytics hurdle

Too many marketers think marketing data, such as from attribution, is too complex; but truth and trust in impartial data can chart a path to marketing optimization

Study after study, survey after survey all reveal an overwhelming frustration by enterprise marketers that the data from marketing analytics is just not reliable. Mid- and senior-level marketing managers couldn’t possibly go to their CMO – who in turn needs to convince the CFO, CRO and CEO – asking for more precious marketing dollars to spend to promote the business. Especially if they don’t have confidence the data, say from attribution, is completely accurate.

Here are 5 surveys and commentaries lamenting the trustworthiness of marketing analytics, including addressing data confirmation bias, poor data quality, and the inability to make sense of analytics results:

1. Poor Data Quality

Only 54% of marketing decisions are being influenced by marketing analytics, with respondents citing poor data quality, unactionable (sic) results and nebulous recommendations as top reasons for why they don’t rely on analytics to make decisions.

Source: Gartner Marketing Data and Analytics Survey 2020, September 2020 (400 marketers surveyed)

Our takeaway: Data can’t have influence if it is not impartial and not grounded in an actual KPI, such as return on ad spend (ROAS), where what is spent is tied to revenue achieved. Chief financial and revenue officers need proof of what is working and what is not to approve shifts or increases in spending.

2. Inability to Manage Data

Over half of respondents (54%) find their inability to manage data volume to be very or extremely challenging. Most respondents (54%) also find outdated data collection or tagging processes to be a top challenge for their teams. And 55% of respondents believe that their current digital analytics tools are unable to manage the freshness of data.

Source: A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned By Google, July 2020 (750 marketing decision makers surveyed)

Our takeaway: If an enterprise marketer commits to collecting data, paying a vendor such as LeadsRx to pull in multi-touch attribution data and insights, they HAVE to do 2 things:

Make sure the vendor is collecting 100% of the data possible, which may require the business to provide additional data points (particularly from a company revenue standpoint), and that the data is up to date and in real time;

Commit resources – most likely a person with an analytics background who can make sense of a lot of data and communicate what that data means for the business’ top and bottom lines.

3. Getting Lost in Data

Too often, marketers invest countless hours collecting a sea of data without a clear strategy for harnessing that data to drive decisions. That leads to mental fatigue and a tendency to revert to assumption-based decision-making. Our research has found that nearly a third (31%) of marketers say they face the challenge of “too much data to analyze” when optimizing ad performance. They’re swamped.

Source: Harvard Business Review, “Is Your Marketing Strategy Based on the Right Data”, May 14, 2020

Our takeaway: Having a single collection point for source data, such as through the LeadsRx Universal Conversion Tracking Pixel™, goes a long way to helping make sense of immense amounts of data.

Ingesting that data into a dashboard that can be manipulated into helpful reports based on touchpoints, conversions, etc. gives marketers an edge and can counteract the data “fatigue” so concerning to marketers.

There are several data visualization vendors out there with tools for taking multi-touch attribution data, and other data points, and putting it all into a relatable, board-worthy presentation. NinjaCat has a great blog post (available in audio): An Intro To Effective Marketing Performance Reporting.

4. Trusting Instinct Over Data

Some 36% of executives working with data still base their decisions on instincts. About 22% think their data investments aren’t worth it, and one third report that creating a data-driven culture within their business is a challenge.

Source: MediaPost Inside Performance Commentary, “Marketing, Sales Teams Least Data-Driven Departments”, May 11, 2021 (stats from Talend Report on 2021 Data Health Survey; 529 executives surveyed, including from departments beyond marketing)

Our takeaway: Basing decisions on instinct typically comes down to the marketer trusting what they already know and believe – their inherent bias – and not necessarily what the new data in front of them is showing.

If a marketer thinks radio advertising is effective because it has always worked for them, they are likely to disregard the data and insights that proves paid Google search ads are more effective for a particular marketing campaign.

What multi-touch attribution will show is how the radio and Google ads worked in concert (or not) to push a consumer toward conversion, perhaps with radio creating awareness and the Google ad pushing the consumer to click through to the company website.

5. Shallow and Vague Customer Data

Nearly 60% of marketers point to inconsistencies with the level of depth and granularity of customer insights, while a shocking 36% admit they just don’t have the data to know their consumers, let alone anticipate their needs.

Source: CMO Council Survey, referenced in a Teradata/CMO Council report, “Forging the Future of Customer Experience – Building a Unified Data Foundation for Turning Customer Insight Into Action”, 2020

Our takeaway: A marketer CAN collect the data it needs to know its customers and, more importantly, know their paths to purchase. This allows marketers to anticipate the needs of those customers and others like them, adjusting marketing campaigns and ad spend, accordingly, to reach them where they want to be reached.

To address the “inconsistencies” and “granularity of customer insights” issues, this requires obtaining data across marketing channels, mapping their effectiveness individually and as a cohesive unit, and making sure impactful insights are garnered from the data.

Making Sense of It All

A broad-brush stroke of the above survey results paints a gloomy picture, with stressed-out marketers feeling challenged more than ever to produce results for sales to increase revenue and to “defend their spend.”

Marketers shouldn’t get mired in the perceived, or real, concern that there is too much data, or that they won’t be able to parse it all out into usable and presentable insights. More data will help prove the revenue juice is indeed worth the spend squeeze.

And once they have the data, marketers should cast aside any frustration that either vendors can’t or won’t help them manage the data, or they don’t have the internal staff to do the job. Vendors are there to help and have the expertise to make sense of it all, and there might be a diamond in the rough on staff that is eager to showcase marketing’s value through data analytics.

Request a LeadsRx demo that walks through the capabilities and power of attribution and marketing analytics.

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2020 D2C Attribution Report

iheart radio automotive study

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