The Single Biggest Myth about Marketing Analytics

by Sara Steever
January 7, 2015

2015 is the year to kick this analytics myth to the curb.

My analytics report tells me everything I need to know about my marketing.

Don’t get me wrong – the software that churns through your marketing data and gives you a report with beautiful pie charts and bar graphs is necessary to the process of understanding the success of your marketing. Visualization can be a powerful shortcut to comprehension of data – but even easy-to-read infographics lack the insight to tell you what to do next.

That analytics report is important, however, other critical domains of expertise are just as important.

  • The economics of your industry or niche
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Trends in marketing
  • Internal business operations
  • Customer/marketplace sentiment

Often the people with expertise in those arenas are furthest away from the data to analyze. Conversely, the people closest to the data often are not exposed to the experiences and information that give analytics meaning.

Why Context Matters

If you’ve noticed that your analytics report seems less and less meaningful, it may be because your process of review is missing the context of multi-domain expertise. If your goal is to effect change on your marketing strategy and tactics, those decisions need to be done in the larger context of the areas listed above. Here’s an example:

As head of marketing, your goal is to drive inbound leads through a content strategy, which requires a consistent editorial calendar of relevant content. Here is how each of the areas of expertise might inform your editorial calendar decisions:

  • Analytics – indicates the best performing content over time and future topics of interest.
  • Industry economics – umbrella and seasonal trends drive relevant content ideas.
  • Competitive intelligence – position content to fill a vacuum or combat competition.
  • Marketing trends – take advantage of new external venues for content.
  • Internal business operations – match content with production of goods and services, or availability of staff.
  • Customer sentiment – the ultimate indicator of how relevant your content can be.

Process Will Drive Success

Once your domain expertise panel is established, only meet with the right amount of frequency to realistically enact change. Monthly is usually too soon, and annually is always too late. Documented recommendations allow you to track the success of your disciplined approach over time.

Start the New Year off right by giving your analytics the right context, and you can make 2015 your most successful marketing year yet.

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