As much as we love Dilbert, we beg to differ with him here!

Marketing decisions can’t be based on gut feelings or “liquor and guessing” for that matterJ.

The key to marketing accountability lies in the ability to quantitatively measure your marketing efforts and share data and insights across the organization. The ability to achieve demonstrable marketing results through analytically-driven decision making is thus paramount.

Companies across industries admit to the increasing importance of digital analytics towards improving sales and marketing effectiveness. The explosion of people interested in the term “digital marketing analytics” on Google Trends clearly demonstrates that the topic has lately been garnering increasing interest.

Is the Big Picture View still missing?

Measuring the effectiveness of marketing, however, remains one of the most intimidating challenges facing today’s marketers. According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 21 percent of B2B marketers are successful at tracking ROI.

The problem is too many organizations view marketing analytics too narrowly. And most marketers are relying on mismatched, incomplete data sets. As a result, they don’t have all their bases covered. Unless marketing is tied to sales, it isn’t possible to see whether specific marketing initiatives are contributing to the bottom line. To arrive at the right sales decisions faster and with confidence, it is essential to unify all  customer, forecast, sales, revenue and pipeline big data into a single, consolidated and trusted view. Enter smarketing analytics.

Smarketing analytics consists of a balanced assortment of analytic techniques that help to track marketing investments and interactions with prospects down the entire sales funnel. Here’s a quick look at how full-stack smarketing analytics delivers a big picture view by helping you look at all of the information mentioned above in aggregate:

  1. Figure what you are fishing for & how you will catch it

With smarketing analytics, the customer is used as the focal point of the business strategy. This enables businesses to understand buyer personas more effectively. Once you are able to identify the audience, their specific pain points and challenges, it is easier to digest it into actionable information and map a plan to capture the total addressable market.

Marketing and sales communication can then be customized based on what the customer is interested in and where they are in the buying cycle. With such comprehensive sales data, it becomes possible to thoughtfully select clients and market and sell in a contextual, personalized fashion.

You might, for instance, learn that a target customer uses Salesforce, so you could highlight your product’s Salesforce integration capacity when marketing to him/ her.

  1. Measure the entire funnel with unrivaled clarity

By using analytically driven, top-down strategy maps and marketing scorecards, it allows you to determine the right metrics for tracking and measuring your business goals down the entire funnel.

It provides quick and meaningful metrics to answer a multitude of important questions: Where are your visitors coming from? Is traffic coming from your social profile, emails or are ads the primary driver? Which content is most effectively nurturing visitors toward buying decisions? How much of it is converting? Which channels deserve the most credit for these successes? Can the marketing budget be more efficiently allocated to achieve greater ROI?

  1. Stay in total control of your pipeline

Applied holistically, smarketing analytics helps to establish which of your marketing and sales channels are working, which ones are less effective and where opportunities for leverage exist.  It also allows you to find out how lead acquisition costs can be reduced or conversion rates increased for each of your current channels and whether there is any potential for improvement in unused channels.

So you can easily avoid surprises by rectifying channel deficiencies and optimizing processes across the pipeline.

  1. Use closed-loop data for collaborative decision making

One of the most important functions of smarketing analytics lies in its capacity to integrate marketing with sales. Unless your marketing analytics system is tightly hooked up with your CRM platform, it isn’t possible to tell whether your individual marketing initiatives are actually translating into bottom-line growth. With smarketing analytics, you can close the loop by more effective lead nurturing and management and by tying those leads to sales.

Closed-loop marketing allows you to get a crystal clear view of the linear attributions that are driving leads down the funnel. For instance, by showing you exactly how your target audience is interacting with your content pieces and which topics are generating positive sales outcomes, you gain unprecedented insight into your target audience’s actions. It thus throws light on the overall status of marketing strategy and the associated causal factors, KPIs behind specific results.

  1. Honor the past, look to the future

It affords you both a historical view and a forward look at trends.

You can go beyond educated guesses by using analytic techniques such as time series analysis, which helps you look at historical sales data or current data from test markets.

Using predictive analytics, correlation analysis, trending and more, you can predict the future to support aggressive sales plans. It also allows you to concretely assess how changes in marketing budget will impact future sales revenue, what kind of targeted messages and content are needed to maximize the revenue potential from each of your existing channels etc.

Conclusion

Going forward, marketing measurability and management will only increase in complexity as businesses continuously expand into new digital channels and marketing categories. However, consider this: retail giant Walmart observed an increase of 10% to 15% in its online sales by using its analytics systems to analyze its exhaustive customer data of close to 145 million Americans and approximately 100 million keywords across product categories on a daily basis. So, with smarketing analytics affording organizations the opportunity to see things in a new light, it won’t be such an intimidating proposition.

Krittika Banerjee