There’s a lot of talk about big data these days. It’s very buzzy and, for those of you who know and work with me, you’ll understand that I have a healthy skepticism for shiny objects and marketing babble.
But don’t get me wrong – most of this chatter surrounds topics that we should care about and that can prove very meaningful to our marketing efforts. But not just because you can sound important when talking to your CMO.
This brings me to the topic of Big Data. These is so much input these days and the power of Big Data lies in our ability to put our arms around all of this data to truly inform and improve our marketing results by better understanding our prospects and customers. This is an important and challenging endeavor but one that needs to start in a place that is rooted by an inherent understanding of our audience and our objectives.
To provide a specific use case for what I’m referring to, I will use social media. One of my favorite analytics tools is Simply Measured. It is simply amazing and provides companies with a veritable treasure trove of data. And it’s incredibly tempting to pull down pretty reports that show things like what time a Facebook visitor from Ireland viewed a specific post and which browsers my Twitter followers use.
While all of this is very interesting and can make us look smart, are they really important in understanding how my company is performing in social media based upon the objectives we set out? Probably not. But there are some important data pieces that you can and should be reviewing. So how do you know what to look at?
Time and time again, I see marketers and marketing analytics teams reporting on this kind of detail when they don’t even understand whether they have strong and growing engagement with their followers. And I also see executives who scratch their heads as they look at these reports wondering if they should care about these metrics or not.
So put away the fancy terms, pull out that Powerpoint that details the marketing objectives (that are also hopefully aligned closely to corporate goals) and figure out how you’re going to measure your results in a way that you and your team can share. Big data is a cool topic but wrapping your arms around key insights that relate to your specific objectives is even cooler.
Looking to drive brand awareness, for example? Figure out how many times your company is mentioned in relationship to specific terms, i.e. your keywords. How does this compare with the mentions for these same terms amongst your competitors? These numbers will begin to show whether your brand recognition is on the rise or if it’s stagnant.
And always remember your attribution. It’s tempting to say that a goal of social media is to drive sales. But if your product is one with a long, complex sales cycle, then it’s shortsighted to say that one interaction drove a sale. More likely, this is just one piece of the marketing and sales pie that helped to drive the sale. So think about the attribution of your marketing activities, as they are not all created equal.
In an upcoming post, I’ll discuss how you can begin to think about lead scoring. While you may think that you need a fancy marketing automation system – and it does help but is not a requirement – you can start to develop a simple scoring model that will help you to better report on marketing results.
Renay M. Picard
The Take Root Marketing Blog is intended as a vehicle to assist and engage with marketers and social media addicts like myself - please share your thoughts, good, bad or otherwise. I'd love to hear from you!