Marketing data collection has grown to such an extent that processing it can be a deep dive. As more companies opt for automated methods of data collection, the size of data assets increases, and this can increase the gap in time between data collection and actionable insights.
There are ways to make for more effective data processing, however. Setting things in place early on can make for faster processing time and allow actionable results to be generated and used efficiently. To help, 13 experts from Forbes Agency Council discuss the most effective and efficient ways of interpreting large volumes of marketing data to create insights.
1. Set KPIs First
A common challenge is designing reports that show clients quickly the impact and results of your marketing efforts. Reports lack structure and purpose when they aren’t tied to specific campaign key performance indicators (KPIs). At the beginning of every campaign, set KPIs that tie back to overall organizational goals and are specific metrics that you can report on each month, week or quarter. - Mary Ann O'Brien, OBI Creative
2. Focus On Your Objectives
You need three figures: click-through rate, bounce rate and conversion rate. They expose how well your funnel fared and where you succeeded or failed. A great CTR means your message resonated with your audience. A low bounce rate and a high conversion rate (somewhere between 1 and 3%) means your ROI is positive. If any of these isn’t up to the mark, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. - Ashar Jamil, Digitally Up
3. Go After Data With Intention
Data can often be difficult to sift through because we accumulate as much as possible without regard to what we are looking for in the first place. That specific actionable answer that we're after should be the first thing on our minds before you have the data in your hands. With that answer in mind, you have a more solid stance to begin asking questions, conducting tests and gathering data. - Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO
4. Focus On The Big Picture
Review the data points that reflect the greatest impact on revenue growth and ROI. Focus on the big picture -- the business outcomes. In digital marketing, these outcomes are most often driven by quality data -- data that allows marketers to engage with the right customers or prospects at the right time on their journey with the business. - Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
5. Compare Results With Objectives
The best way to use marketing data is to compare results with objectives. If a tactic did not yield the expected results, then data should be used to understand if tweaking the tactic can yield results, or if the tactic should be eliminated and replaced with a more effective one. - Stefan Pollack, The Pollack PR Marketing Group
6. Combine Online And Offline Data Sources
Brands often create profiles of target consumers via their online behaviors, and that’s great. What’s truly powerful is combining those digital insights with experiential analytics based on consumers’ in-person interactions with a brand. This holistic approach to analyzing actions leads to quicker insights on what consumers really want, shorter sales cycles and better measurement of campaigns. - Scott Kellner, GPJ Experience Marketing
7. Look At Website Page-Level Data
One digital marketing insight we provide our clients uses website page-level behavior data. Google Analytics lets you easily view a report of your website content and the ability to sort by these insightful metrics. Very often, you can find outliers in "Site Content," reports that have high exit rates or lower time on page, which tells you those pages are immediate areas for improvement. - Ben LeDonni, CreativeMMS
8. Track Visits To Leads To Customers
Marketing analytics can often take people down many different paths without a clear, actionable next step. One thing I always look at to see what is performing best and what needs improvement is the website visit-lead-customer conversion ratios. If you track this by source, such as email, social, organic and more, you can quickly see what is driving new customer acquisition and revenue. - Elyse Flynn Meyer, Prism Global Marketing Solutions
9. Know The Most Important Numbers
One thing that is very important to know is that every industry has their key metrics that make the difference in success and failure for them. It is important to ensure that these are the numbers that are being measured when looking at the company. It is important to look at those numbers first and know what you need to do to make sure they stay the best. - Jon James, Ignited Results
10. Analyze Live Data
Reporting on data can often mean that it's already old and dated. More often than not, traditional reports take time to compile -- sometimes days or weeks. As marketers, decision-makers or owners, we need to shift our thinking to live data to make actionable decisions. The more real-time the data, the more our predicted outcomes will be realized. - Eric Vardon, Morphio
11. Look For Patterns Over Time
One approach we've learned over the years is to look at data sets over different horizons, and to run analyses to see if patterns emerge. For example, if you're looking at which marketing program shows the highest ROI, a report that analyzes 30 days of data will likely produce a different answer from one that looks at a six-month horizon. It can be illuminating to compare data year-over-year versus quarterly. - Megan Cunningham, Magnet Media, Inc.
12. Use A Data Visualization Tool
Today’s data visualization/business intelligence tools are incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. Upload your marketing report data and start seeing patterns and relationships within the data almost immediately. We went from one person trying it, to one team using it regularly, to it becoming an organizational mandate. Being able to synthesize and interpret data quicker has become a competitive advantage for our agency. - Andrew Au, Intercept Group
13. Get A High-Level View Of Your Funnel
To see where your marketing is working and not working, take a high-level view of your funnel at every stage. For example, you might check web traffic (awareness), contact form submissions (consideration), and sales numbers (conversions). Find a weak spot? Dive in and take action. - Scott Baradell, Idea Grove