This week we look at three studies that cover topics you know as a digital marketer you can’t ignore: marketing analytics, mobile marketing and social identify. All of these can contribute greatly to creating more personalized, contextual experiences for your prospects and customers, but none of them are simple to implement and apply to your marketing strategies.
Marketing Analytics in 2014
The B2B Marketing Analytics Report for 2014 from the Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn gives us a view of the challenges marketers face with marketing analytics, but it also provides those who are getting started with an idea of what metrics to track across different channels and activities.
The study, based on a survey of 500 community members found four key benefits to using marketing analytics: what platforms deliver the most ROI, better prioritization of marketing tactics, better message and positioning and better demonstration of the value of marketing to sales.
The study found that 46% use analytics to measure effectiveness, with 67% looking at better insights into the sales funnel, and 40% looking to measure marketing attribution across channels. One point of interest is that 15% weren’t able to access or use data at all.
There was a difference between challenges based on the size of the organization. The biggest challenges for large orgs included lack of system integration and data quality/integrity. For smaller orgs, lack of resources, the time to collect and analyze data, and the ability to actually generate useful insights were the top challenges (see full results below).
In terms of budgets, 38% spend at least 10% of their marketing budget on analytics, and overall 46% expect their budget to grow. However, 35% don’t expect their budget to change at all over the next year.
With all the marketing analytics tools out there, you might be surprised to know that spreadsheets are the most popular technology for this study, with dashboards coming second. Functionality like data visualization and data modeling were at the bottom of the list. The most popular tool was Google Analytics at 58%, followed by spreadsheets at 51%.
There are many types of marketing analytics functionality. According to this study, dashboards were considered the most important, followed by real-time reporting, predictive analytics and cross channel views.
Let’s finish off with some of the things that marketers track and the metrics measured:
- 80% track and analyze the website, looking at Visits (80%), Views (71%) and Duration on a page (61%).
- 77% track email marketing, looking at open rates (76%), clickthroughs (73%) and unsubscribes (59%).
- 46% track content marketing, looking at views (56%), downloads (55%) and leads (53%)
- Of those that track social media, 62% track social reach, followed by traffic referral (45%). It’s worth pointing out here that tracking brand sentiment, share of voice and sales by social channel were ranked very low, but are really some of the best indicators of social performance.
There are a lot more details in the report, so check it out.
Mobile Marketing is a Must Have
The first thing the Ascend2 Mobile Marketing Benchmark Summary Report tells us is that companies need to take mobile marketing seriously. In a survey of 271 marketing, sales and business professionals, only 42% were using mobile marketing, with another 42% planning to use it sometime in the future. Unfortunately, that future is now.
There are a few reasons mobile marketing is so important. In this study, top drivers included increasing customer engagement, lead generation and brand awareness.
Unfortunately, not all those who are doing mobile marketing are happy. Only 25% rate their efforts as very successful, and 69% say “somewhat successful.” There are plenty of things that can contribute to a lack of success. In this study, the top reason was lack of in-house expertise (38%), followed by budget limitations and lack of an effective strategy.
There are, however, plans to increase mobile marketing (let’s hope the strategies fall into place before that happens). Here’s a look at what’s being planned.
It’s not really surprising that mobile-optimized websites and mobile apps top the list, but it seems like these are really table stakes today. The opportunities for marketing with mobile go well beyond the website, but they are likely much more challenging to implement and track performance.
Building Relationships by Leveraging Social Identity
Altimeter recently released a report on how companies can and should leverage social identity to improve customer experience through more relevant, contextual messages. The challenge that is occurring for many marketers is that prospects are doing much of their own research before they even reach out directly to a brand, but at the same time they expect their experiences during that research phase to be highly personalized. It’s kind of catch-22.
It’s true that marketers have a lot of data on customers outside of the social identity, but as the report points out, much of it (if not all) is based on transactions, and always within the context of a previous purchase. But social profiles, on the other hand, give marketers insight into the actual person they are trying to engage.
“Social profiles contain demographics, age, geography, affinity, and more, while ongoing social signals can provide insight into a customer’s real-time context, influence, and needs.”
In the following diagram, Altimeter offers a number of examples of how you can leverage social identity during different stages of the customer lifecycle to improve the customer experience. This clearly shows that there are many departments across the organization that can leverage this information, so it needs to be made available throughout the organization in a way that provides a single view of the customer.
Altimeter offers some best practices on how you can capture and integrate this social data into enterprise records. Capture methods include, direct association (search and paid matching), social profiles (social login, promotions, contests), social signals (social actions and keyword identification) and inference (infer social attributes and infer association with existing records).
Of course leveraging social identity comes with its challenges. Privacy is always a big concern and something every organization needs to pay careful attention to. In addition, organizational hurdles can be a bigger challenge than technical ones with everyone wanting to own the customers and as a result, the social profile. Finally, the question of what content should be provided and to whom needs to be carefully thought out and implemented.
This week I’ve focused on marketing tactics and tools because they are things every organization is dealing with. Next week, we’ll step further into the organization and look at customer experience management from the inside, after the sale has been made. There’s plenty to consider after the sale to continue to retain happy customers.