Analytics, Dashboards, Scorecards, ROI – these are some of today’s hottest marketing buzzwords, yet the industry still struggles to achieve true accountability. It’s not that we don’t aspire to it:
- Increased accountability is a key aspect of the ANA’s Marketers’ Constitution
- 31 percent of respondents to the CMO Council State of Marketing Study indicated that they intend to improve marketing performance measurement in the next year
- Another 32 percent of study respondents said they will also be looking to upgrade customer data integration and analytics.
Marketers are not suffering from a lack of information – we’re drowning in Google Analytics reports, Webtrends data, Social Media sentiment charts, Facebook friends, CPCs, and CTRs. The issue is more a lack of actionable insights. Just because something can be quantified, doesn’t mean it is valuable.
Data and analytics are only as good as the objectives that drive them. Data without strategy is nothing more than the analytics equivalent of an Oscar-winning Sally Fields (You like me, you really like me, or as she actually said, You like me, right now, you really like me.)
Effective measurement must start with clearly stated, strategic marketing objectives. Your plan will be even more actionable if those objectives are quantifiable, realistic, and aligned with business goals. Most marketers would benefit from thinking in terms of KPIs – Key Performance Indicators – because the language itself demands an articulation of the performance that is expected as a result of the marketing efforts.
So, how can marketers achieve their accountability goals in 2011?
- Focus on strategy before diving into the data
- Don’t assume that the information is valuable just because it is a number
- Identify and measure the path from engagement through conversion
- Hold yourself accountable to real business results
And finally, heed the warning of the Cheshire Cat, who said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”