Build Your Marketing Foundation: Analytics

Any marketing foundation starts with an understanding of your overarching business goals. Once those are well understood, they will help you shape your company’s marketing goals and start addressing your marketing foundation, beginning with your audience. Defining your audience will help you determine the right messaging to help you reach your goals as well as ensure you are building a strong brand identity. Your next step would be to ensure your online presence is easy to find and active and to set up systems to collect the analytics you need to evaluate your progress.

Colorful pyramid chart. Useful for infographics and presentations.

There tend to be two camps when it comes to analytics: Those that love them, and those that are a little more, shall we say, “analytics phobic” (a condition for which we have the cure). Whichever camp you fall into, it is important to remember this: Keeping track of certain metrics is significant in reaching specific business and marketing goals. Analytics will help you realize what is working for your business, as well as the things you can improve to see more success.

The Purpose of Business Analytics

Analytics help you understand your customer’s behavior and the impact of your efforts. If the data you’re researching doesn’t align with what you want to accomplish, then you need to determine the information that does. Another purpose is to figure out how people are connecting with you. Where does their customer journey begin? This will help you understand what the process of becoming one of your customers is like. Finally, analytics systems can feed information, like: customer feedback, click-through rates, and numbers of opened emails. Analytics will tell you what you’re doing right (what’s working) and inform you of areas of opportunity (what you could be doing better).

Analytics Systems Are Useful Only When Tied with Business Objectives

If you love analytics, the temptation might be to collect what data you can and “let the numbers tell the story.” Collecting data is great—but you shouldn’t collect data just to collect data. You need to collect the right data. So what is the right data?

The metrics that show progress (or lack of progress) toward your actual business objectives.

If you lose sight of your business objectives, you run the risk of spending too much time and energy on metrics that don’t mean much when it comes to the balance sheet. Consider “vanity metrics” on social media, for example: metrics like comments, shares, and likes. While these metrics provide proof people are interested in what you are saying on these platforms, they mean little if you cannot tie them directly with additional information about purchases or revenue.

That said, your objective might very well be brand loyalty or brand awareness. In that case, purchasing information alone would not be helpful. For example, let’s say you run an ecommerce business, and one of your guiding business objectives is to create lasting relationships with your customers. Measuring customer purchasing behavior can tell you that customers are buying, which is a good metric to know. But are those purchases telling you anything about the bond your audience has with you, or is it just telling you they like your products enough to buy them? Customer purchasing behavior will not prove who your brand loyalists are, but other metrics can, such as newsletter subscriptions, number of items bought at full price (not during a sale), and re-purchase patterns.

Use Metrics to Grow Your Business

If you are more on the analytics-phobic side of things, you have probably avoided collecting marketing and purchase data in any sort of systematic way. (If the only time you look at numbers is when going through quarterly sales and paying your taxes, you might be more phobic than you realize!) We get it: The whole data game can seem a little like smoke and mirrors, where a lot of numbers are thrown around to make something sound more important than it is.

But, when used correctly, analytics can be a powerful tool. You should be using analytics to:

Keep Your Business and Marketing Goals Aligned

Every successful business begins with clear objectives. By defining your purpose, values, and goals, you lay the groundwork for a strong business foundation. Well-documented business analytics demonstrate if marketing activities are enticing customers to take actions that impact your business objectives. Therefore, they provide direction, align your team, and serve as a compass for future decision-making.

Understand Your Target Audience

Conducting thorough market research allows you to identify your ideal customer and their needs, pain points, and preferences. By developing a deep understanding of your audience, you can tailor your products or services, marketing strategies, and customer experiences to meet their expectations.

Here at Pace Marketing, we appeal to more than one audience. This makes our marketing and business goals exciting and challenging in the best way. For instance, some of our clients are running busy small businesses with limited marketing experience. They may hire us to walk them through our Marketing Physical in order to help align their marketing roadmap with their business strategy. Our clients working at a larger scale often require a longer-term commitment from us, and sometimes these clients need to take things slow. So, we’ll start with a test project, get their feedback, and from there we can develop a marketing strategy to suit their goals for however long they need. We are able to provide services to several different types of clients because we understand who our audiences are, based on the information we’re able to gather from our marketing systems.

Continuous Improvement and Adaptability

Building a strong business foundation is an ongoing process. Embracing a practice of continuous improvement and adaptability allows you to stay ahead of the curve. Regularly analyzing your business performance helps identify areas for optimization and make data-driven adjustments. Successful businesses are not stagnant; they evolve and adapt to the ever-changing business landscape.

The Best “First Analytics”

So let’s assume that, until this point, you have not been collecting the right analytics for your marketing efforts in any sort of systematic way. It’s time for an overhaul. In the mountain of options where you could get your data, where should you start?

A good place to start is to consider your customer journey. How are your customers finding you? Where do they make “first contact”? (i.e., Do they find your website? Walk into a physical location? Pick up the phone?) How and when do they make an actual purchase decision?

Remember, purchase decisions are rarely spontaneous, nor random. There are interactions that have brought your customers to your company and your brand. You need to have a record of those interactions.

Analytics for website traffic, email marketing data and social media views are easy to obtain, but consider supplementing those with other, offline measures. Why? Because you want the full picture of how a customer came to the decision to purchase your product or service. Online data that is easy to obtain may only give you the last interaction they had with your organization before they landed on your website or submitted a form. The customer will have insights on what the most significant, impactful marketing tactics used were to pull them through their journey to a purchase. Some options to consider to collect offline data are:

  • When a client comes in for a first meeting, or a customer comes to your register, ask where they heard of your business (and record the answer!).
  • Interview your best clients to see how they found you, and which competitors they considered as well.
  • If interviewing your clients or customers is not feasible, send out an email survey.
  • Keep track of referrals. Who is recommending people to you? Where did these referral partners themselves come from?

Again, the point is not to collect all the data you can, so don’t stress over pulling a bunch of reports or setting up dashboards at this juncture. The goal is to collect enough data so that you get a “feel” for the various paths customers take to find you. From there, you will have a good sense of what efforts to invest in, which to discontinue, and which to maintain.

KPIs Make a Big Difference in Business

When done right, any data you gather should tie in with other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your business. Your KPIs themselves should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Some common marketing KPIs for businesses include:

  • Conversion Rate: Measure the percentage of website visitors, leads, or prospects that convert into paying customers. Improving conversion rates indicates the effectiveness of marketing and sales efforts in driving customer actions.
  • Revenue Growth: Measure the overall financial performance of the business by tracking the increase in sales revenue over a specific period, indicating business growth and success.
  • Profitability: Revenue growth is great, but not if it is at the cost of profitability. Tracking your profitability can help you make wise decisions about the products and services you highlight in your marketing campaigns to drive sustainable growth.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Calculate the average cost required to acquire a new customer, considering marketing expenses, sales efforts, and other related costs. A lower CAC indicates efficient customer acquisition strategies.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): Determine the projected revenue a customer will generate over their entire relationship with the business. Monitoring CLTV helps evaluate the profitability of customer relationships and guides decision-making regarding customer retention and loyalty initiatives.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Assess customer satisfaction levels through surveys, reviews, and feedback channels. Monitoring customer satisfaction helps identify areas for improvement, enhance customer loyalty, and maintain a positive brand reputation.

Reaching success in your business is a journey of continuous improvement, informed decision-making, and adaptation to changing circumstances. By implementing these strategies and leveraging the power of analytics, you can build the solid business and marketing foundation that is vital for sustainable growth and long-term success. By defining your business and marketing goals, understanding your target audience, and harnessing the power of analytics, you can drive your business toward success.

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