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Unlocking ROI insights for marketers with data analytics

Susan Graeme, senior director of EMEA marketing, Tableau Software, explains how marketers can better demonstrate the ROI of their campaigns.

With businesses across industries doing everything they can to work as efficiently as possible and keep costs down, departments are under increasing pressure to ‘trim the fat’. One example is the growing need for marketing accountability, with the wider business now demanding to see the return-on-investment from campaigns and activities.

For years, this has been a challenge across multiple disciplines of marketing. After all, with the growing number of platforms and channels at the fingertips of marketers, measuring ROI can be tricky to track consistently.

One example of this is social media, with the impact on business performance historically proving difficult to measure. So much so, that a 2016 social media marketing industry report found that only 41% of marketers agreed that they’re able to measure their social activities, with a significant 35% unsure of whether their Facebook marketing is actually effective.

In today’s market, it’s more important than ever to understand how the marketing budget is being spent. And in order to allow for course correction, it’s crucial for teams to quickly identify which marketing campaigns are not performing as well as expected. So how can marketers tap into these insights?

Simple answer: data analytics.

The past year has only reinforced the role of data as an essential and disruptive driver of business decision making. For marketers specifically, in order to stay competitive we can’t ignore data analytics as a key tool for insights and smart decision-making. Why? Because data analytics offers levels of transparency and insight on campaigns and activities previously left to ‘finger in the air’ assessments – which we’ve all been guilty of.

With new research showing that 72% of marketers now consider data analysis and management to be the most important skillset for their business to acquire in the next two years, it’s positive to see that marketers not only understand the benefits of data analytics, but are one of the strongest advocates in business today.

Take measuring ROI as an example of where data analytics can play an active role.

From tracking website visits, lead generation, web form submissions, calls, social interactions, webchats and ultimately sales, data analytics is key to demonstrating ROI before and after the campaign, and everything in between. Each of these areas produce valuable data sets, providing a rich representation of impact. Marketers not analysing data around performance are missing an opportunity to demonstrate their successes to key stakeholders.

After all, data without analytics is just data.

Leveraging data through analysis helps demonstrate marketing’s contribution to the business. In doing so, marketing teams gain credibility with sales and finance departments, ensure proper alignment, and motivate marketers when data is driving conversations and decisions. With data at the centre, conversations go from ‘what happened?’ to more strategic questions of ‘why’ and ‘how’
Further research shows that 72% of organisations demonstrating ROI also claim their marketing strategy is effective and are 1.6 times more likely to receive higher budgets. The data really doesn’t lie.

A business that successfully leveraged the benefits of data analytics is Mindshare; a global media network focused on making their clients’ brand more famous and more profitable. For one client in particular, they struggled to see how their advertising spend translated into profit.
By combining several data sources – including the client’s website traffic, media and call centre activity – and visualising this data in a dashboard for analysis, Mindshare was able to connect their client’s TV advertisements with spikes in website traffic and calls into the call centre. The insights gained from this gave Mindshare and their client a more comprehensive way of understanding what the customer journey looked like and how best to reach them.

Another example is Spil Games. This leading mobile game company with more than 100 million monthly users wanted to find ways of improving the user experience. However, they struggled to analyse the masses of data stored in multiple sources across the company. By using data analytics platform to monitor how users navigate their gaming portal, Spil Games could quickly identify non-performing marketing campaigns, helping them to achieve a 500% return on investment from its search engine advertising spend.
It’s clear that without data analytics, marketers would continue to rely on ‘finger in the air’ methods for tracking ROI. The ability to analyse marketing data, gain valuable insights, and then share and respond to those insights quickly is crucial to identifying new opportunities or pivoting current plans.

In a landscape where marketing activities and responsibilities continue to evolve, data analysis is not only to the benefit of your marketing efforts but to the business as a whole.

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