Data Analytics… The Missing Link

Matt Swain
Nov 11, 2010

John Wanamaker, known as the father of modern advertising, once made the now-famous statement: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” With today’s analytics capabilities, marketers no longer have the luxury of ignorance. This week, Henry Stewart Conferences and Events hosted a Marketing Analytics conference at the John Hancock Conference Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Sponsors included KXEN and Portrait Software (now a part of Pitney Bowes Business Insight). This was the inaugural Marketing Analytics event for Henry Stewart Conferences and Events, which will hold a similar event in London on November 19th.

(The Henry Stewart Group has established its presence within our industry through its Digital Asset Management (DAM) events, with DAM LA 2010 coming up on November 15th and 16th. Use the code “INFO” to get $100 off your registration.)

This was an intimate event, with a mix of speakers from the enterprise, vendor, and consulting communities focused on business and marketing analytics, as well as on solution development and integration. The event kicked off with a keynote panel of executives from, Staples, and Mass Innovation Nights who provided insight on the topic of realizing tangible benefits from marketing and advanced analytics.

For Nauzar Vimadalal, Manager of Marketing Operations at Staples, analytics allows Staples to step back and say “What do we need to stop doing that is not working?” Analytics provide the insight needed to address age old problems and keep marketing efforts in line with business objectives. This point was reinforced by Jean-Paul Isson, VP of Global BI & Predictive Analytics at Monster Insights, Monster Worldwide Inc., who made it clear that, at Monster, “what is most important is that we can address the business objective, and measure the result.” Measurable results allow marketers to present their relevance, and effectiveness, within the business model. The importance of measurability was the primary message that resonated throughout the keynote discussion.

Other sessions included insights from data experts at Cognizant Technologies, Portrait Software, Deloitte Consulting LLP, dunnhumbyUSA, KXEN, Epsilon, Teradata, Wipro Technologies, Gold Consulting, and Marathon Technologies. Several themes that emerged were:

  • Data provides the foundation to marketing — track everything
  • Leadership demands evidence of return on investment (ROI) sooner than ever before — whether for marketing efforts or technology implementation
  • Analytics works — it provides an actionable process based on metrics
  • When analytics is leveraged, it is often a disjointed effort — it occurs in silos within the organization or on a per-project basis
  • Many companies still see marketing as an art form, not a science

Organizational alignment regarding the value of analytics for marketing remains a hurdle; however, insight from the conference suggested that it was mainly due to poor communication of the data analysis. One speaker suggested that marketers present three items in the boardroom: the results (data), an actionable plan, and a subject matter expert. In order for marketers to be successful in the future, analytics needs to be embedded within the business process.

As service providers continue to move upstream into data management and analytics, they should consider attending educational events such as this to better understand the opportunity, but more importantly the challenges that marketers face. For instance, InfoTrends recent study entitled “Capturing the Cross-Media Direct Marketing Opportunity,” showed that only 18% of more than 500 marketers surveyed in the United States review marketing campaign performance during execution. The majority of marketers are not fully leveraging the opportunity that comes from real-time tracking. With the proliferation of tools to manage and analyze the vast amount of data now available to marketers, it is time to embrace the science of marketing.

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