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April 20, 2015

Can Analytics add substance to marketing reports? - Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

In the previous blog, we have discussed about the common examples to show how use of advanced analytics help create marketing reports and provide better forecast and trends to customers. In this part, we will discuss in detail about the three key areas which we have identified as primary areas of innovation by use of analytics tools.

1. Industry trends and financials: An effective report must capture the industry trends and growth potentials. Analyst reports and predictions from Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and Reuters should be used to derive trend charts, analytics charts, visuals and dashboards. These can give a subject oriented dimensional model to the predictions, and can reflect a 360 degree-view of portfolio, performance and risk in business opportunities.

2. ROI analysis of marketing expenses: It is very difficult to track and trace the ROI from the visual marketing expenses. However, marketers can use advanced analytics to trace the number of footprints that a marketing campaign creates and percentage of actual conversion ratio from the campaign.
           a. Display Ads / Website - We can only gauge the number of visitors on the webpage and can analyze visits from target geos and customers (for both B2C and B2B). However, the question remains how many of the visitors do actually convert to a customer of the product or service that is being advertised? The same lies with display ads or banners. Modern marketers need to think, plan and device tools and techniques to tap the conversion ratio of viewers into customers from the ads/websites. Analytics and reporting tools like Radian6, Brand6 or Tableau have come a long way to track the data from the survey results and analyze the ROI of the marketing campaigns.
           b. Marketing collaterals & content marketing - Modern organizations spend a lot of time and effort in marketing campaigns to influence strategic target customers with positioning messages and content that promotes a unified global messaging. It is easy to track the number of hits for a video in Youtube, or the number of downloads for a PDF, or hits on a blog/article. The trick lies in gauging how much revenue is actually coming out of this expenditure. We need analytics experts to track these numbers.
           c. Social media marketing & search marketing - Thousands of dollars are being spent on digital marketing campaigns like Adword campaigns, Google campaigns and social media campaigns via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other channels. Marketers are spending mammoth amounts on targeted campaigns, positioning key messages, and channel optimization, paid promotions, search campaigns etc. The revenue outcome of these campaigns are difficult to trace, and we see many organizations cut down drastically on such marketing spend during times of economic downturns. However, for better management and planning of such efforts, we need analytics to track the ROI from the campaigns. Tapping the data from numerous social media activities of target customers, marketers need to create trend charts to analyze the effectiveness of the campaigns. Surveys should be conducted to gauge the customer conversion ratio, customer engagement in specific campaigns and maximum outreach and leads generated from the campaigns.

3. Leads from corporate relations: The key to brand management is to keep a healthy relation with the clients, media, analysts and partners. Today, all large organizations keep specific workforce who function all the year round for betterment of client relations, analyst and media relations and strategic partner ecosystem network.
           a. Client engagements - Other than providing necessary services and products to customers, large organizations aim at excellent CRM services to address customer specific requirements, handle customer complains, provide after-sales service, capture consumer behavior to trace new emerging business opportunities. Analytics is the key to get a quantitative measurement of consumer behavior, complains and customer acquisition and customer retention ratios. Companies must focus on analytics derived trends which helps identify customer pain points, emerging requirements, and new innovative products or services, by conducting timely and periodic CSAT surveys and feedback.
           b. Analyst & media relations - Engagement with media and analysts is also very important for marketers in enhancing the brand value and highlighting the brand image. It is not only about participation in analyst rankings, or news media coverage, marketers and PR folks need to maintain an all-round annual relationship with the media and analysts, and track their activities. Analytics tools can help in tracking media mentions, analyst mentions, analyst summits and forums, trends in analyst blogs, social media presence and mentions of the brand. PR folks work continuously to enhance the brand value through analyst and media coverage, thereby creating a footprint of the brand to the customers.
           c. Partner relations - Large organizations partner with a number of vendors - these may be their IT partners, technology partners, channel partners, supply chain partners, brand partners, consulting partners and retail partners. Partner activities have been of key importance for maximum outreach of the products or services, and offer end-to-end products, services and solutions to customers. Organizations focus on their core competencies to excel in innovative offerings, and outsource complementary offerings to partners to fulfill the entire value chain. Widespread use of analytics for the betterment of channel or technology partners could be a key driver of business growth, and market leaders should aim at conducting annual PSAT (Partner Satisfaction) surveys and use of analytics reports for key business decisions and strategic partnerships.

April 14, 2015

Can Analytics add substance to marketing reports? - Part 1

We are in an age where social media captures humongous data about the probable customer base for any product or service. Look at Facebook for example. You post a photo and mention where it is taken, say "at Burj Khalifa, Dubai", the Facebook page for that place will immediately increase the count of visitors for that place (e.g. the "Burj Khalifa" place will show "200209 people have been here" instead of previous "200208 people have been here").
Just imagine how huge the backend data set must be, that for each such tag, given by billions of such users, it is mapping the data with the right data table, and running the relevant programs to show the updates! Not only for places, such mapping is being done for numerous hotels, restaurants, cities, and also for dates, calendar years, comments, likes, shares etc. Such a network of data is known as BigData and modern companies are all focused on tapping this data and doing the necessary data analysis, mapping, data modelling, and data structuring. The practice of plugging and playing with data, with the use of mathematical modelling comes under analytics. Today, all the major players in technology are increasingly focusing their budgets and resources towards analytics practice.
Modern day marketing reports are being exceedingly equipped with use of such advanced analytics and interpretations. Needless to say, that it helps modern marketers to help assess and analyze customer trends in a better way. Look at websites like - it co-creates such an interactive forum with the customers - you have ratings, prices, menu list, contact details, photos, customer feedback and even restaurant management responses! It is time for all modern organizations to be upfront and use analytics to blend its marketing reports with trend analysis, predictive forecasting which help the business leaders to take correct strategic decisions on marketing expenses, budgets and focus areas. In short, we need marketing teams to hire analytics experts to have more insights on how better reports aimed at effective forecasting and trend analysis can be made. An effective marketing report must focus on key success factors, major marketing expenses and their ROI, what are the emerging areas for the business, strong growth focus areas, competitor profiling and industry trends. Analytics can give a report an objective viewpoint and enable better decision making, especially in the context of the dynamic market scenario. In this blog, I have only discussed about common examples to help you think about how marketing can be intertwined with analytics for better predictability and forecast. In the next blog, I will discuss about the following factors which can be vital instruments for a good strategic marketing report:
1. Industry trends and financials
2. ROI analysis of marketing expenses
3. Leads from corporate relations

Read Part 2 here.