Creating An Analytics Culture: The Problem

creating an analytics cultre

As we have seen marketing evolve, we have also watched it become very complex. The combination and addition of channels, platforms, and new technologies have created a deluge of data that actually makes it harder for someone to get a clear picture of their marketing performance.

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With these advancements, especially the rise of digital channels, we have also seen an increased demand for measurement to be used in all parts of marketing. This has created a need for marketing teams to adopt an analytics culture. 

In part one of this two-part blog series, we will break down the challenges that come with creating an analytics culture and what to look for in a marketing technology that can get you there.

The Real Problem

In many organizations their structure impacts marketing. Organizations have different products and product lines, departments are in different parts of the country if not the world, which can also include different brands all wanting and needing to push their marketing efforts through different channels. With each marketing effort, you are exponentially growing your data, which is a serious challenge. This means you are going to have to track more if you want to have a comprehensive and holistic view of your marketing efforts across all lines of business as well as an understanding of your customers’ interactions and relationships.

The good news is that there are a lot of tools that make it easier to do just that. But with this explosion of marketing technology, there has also come an added level of complexity. It is no longer a simple process to find a product that can help gather and make understanding your data easy. In fact, the marketing technology landscape has become so big there are now tools to manage those tools.

Confusing right?

The real piece keeping marketers from embracing an analytics culture today is not the organizational challenges but is choosing a marketing technology. These tools need to be able to deliver analytics at scale, across multiple lines of the business, based on various evolving systems to enable better decision making and positive customer outcomes. This is a problem that has not been easy to solve…

Picking An Analytics Tool

So how do we get there?

Analytics has always been about getting actionable insights from business problems. We have always known what questions we needed to ask, but we weren’t always sure how to get the data needed to find those answers. Through trial and error we have realized you need all three of these elements to make an analytics tool that can drive culture change and marketing impact: 

  1. Accuracy
  2. Timeliness
  3. Flexibility

And it has taken us awhile to figure out exactly how to achieve all three…

In the beginning, we used to go to our IT departments. They had programmers they would be sent off to learn analytics languages in order to interpret the data for those specific questions. This worked for awhile but what we realized is that if we had more questions, it wasn’t an easy process to get the answer. Getting answers faster meant hiring more people who would be expensive so instead forms, queries and meetings were created to filter out requests which made the process harder. So although the data was accurate, it was not timely or flexible.

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Then we decided to own, deploy and maintain our own analytics tools. This worked for awhile because everyone could submit their own questions whenever they wanted to. The problem arises when you do not think of all the questions before you start. If the questions you needed answered were different than what you had anticipated you then had to go back to IT and start all over. So although you were getting accurate data faster, it was still not flexible.

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Then came the early development of analytics tools that made it easier to ask as many questions as you wanted because it connected directly to the channels you used. Although this answered more questions, faster, data become messy. So you could get accurate answers to all your questions in a flexible manner, but you spent more time on the task because you had to clean up your data.

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And finally, we have tools that are now able to deliver on all 3. These tools provide accurate data that you can scale for multiple lines of the business based on the varied systems and sources you pull data from and still provide the answers you need promptly. 

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It’s no wonder your teams have been wary of this analytics thing. It has taken awhile to find tools that actually make it easier to perform their marketing tasks but now that you have proper tools available they can start to understand how and why using data-driven marketing is important.

Fostering An Analytics Culture

When you have the right marketing technology in place, it promotes an analytics culture because:

1. You can grow productivity, not headcount…You used to have to add people if you wanted to do more with data. Now, these tools have increased productivity so you can do more with the same amount of people.

2.  You used to have to hire programmers, now can hire analyst… These tools have shifted the skill set you look for. You can hire people who understand the business first and equip them with tools needed to understand the data.

3. Empower independence… Teams can do more on their own.

4. Flip the 80/20 of gathering data vs. analytics… Saves your team time, so they don’t have to spend 80% of their time gathering the data, now they can actually spend that time analyzing.

With these new tools, your team now has the ability to think about the stories the data tells, the implications, and recommend actionable responses. 

Now that you know what elements to look for when picking a marketing technology and how the right marketing technology in place can foster an analytics culture next week we will explore the three benefits of an analytics culture. You can check out that blog post here!

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