Anna Barcelos is Director of Client Solutions at ten24 Web Solutions, based in Boston, MA. A former colleague with the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Anna kindly agreed to answer some quesitons I had for her about her area of expertise: Analytics!
Anna manages ten24’s marketing and new business development along with helping potential clients and partners define their specific business needs.Anna has over 16 years of data-driven integrated marketing communications experience. She has spent her career in progressive financial, sales and marketing positions for both B2B start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. She co-moderates #IMCChat on Twitter and blogs about various B2B marketing topics.
1. Why is analytics so important for marketing today? First, I think it’s important to define analytics – “...the process of obtaining an optimal or realistic decision based on existing data." Analytics answers questions, whether they are marketing or business related. Analytics has always been important for marketing, and there are data-driven companies that attribute their success to it. The beauty of analytics today is that technologies have made it easier for marketers to understand. I also think marketers and data folks are realizing more and more that they must collaborate to understand customer's needs and deliver.
2 How can you use analytics to measure results on the web today? Most online marketing and interactions can be tracked and measured. The key is going beyond measurement by taking the data and making it actionable. Many companies still struggle with this today because you need to have the right people and technologies in place to do it. It takes a real commitment to become a data-driven company. FedEx and Cisco do this very well because the commitment to be data-driven comes from the top, and they have built internal systems for the sole purpose of serving their customers while making it efficient for their employees to do so.
3 What if you are running a non web campaign, how can you use analytics to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns? Being an integrated marketer, I have always tried to combine offline with online marketing to better understand customers. Examples of offline/online combinations can be using PURLs (personalized URLs) or QR codes to collect data from offline methods including direct mail and catalogs. I’ve also seen them on storefronts. If you look at print media, the savvy companies are using QR codes to collect information on customers and prospects and enhancing the experience with social media, location-based applications and video.
4 For example, I work for a publishing and custom content marketing agency, we produce a lot of magazines, for those clients where we just produce print, how can we use the web to measure the effectiveness of our editorial content for clients? Or measure the effectiveness of ads for the publications where we sell advertising? Adding on-line elements to off-line campaigns such as the items I mentioned above would help you to analyze and measure the effectiveness of your content to provide what your customers are asking for. You're able to collect survey data, responses to certain call to actions, and other information that you can leverage to enhance your products.
5. Who are your influences in analytics? Who do you read to keep up with the industry? Wow, there are quite a few blogs I subscribe to and books that I read, but if I’m going to focus solely on data and analytics, here are some of my faves - some you may recognize, some not so much. Analytics is King, KDPaine’s PR Measurement Blog, The Information Advantage, Interactive Insights Group, Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik, Social Media Examiner, Top Rank Online Marketing Blog and Trends & Outliers - Tibco Spotfire Blog I really like the Social Media Today community and its related sites as well. I highly recommend the last few books I've read to help marketers better understand the value of data/analytics from the basics to actionable insights: Data-Driven Marketing by Mark Jeffery, The Buying Brain by Dr. A.K. Pradeep and a book turned desk reference for me, Measuring Public Relationships by Katie Paine
6 What are the mechanics of being a good analytics marketer, could you take me through a typical marketer’s day based on your past job experiences, what did you do, how did you make your time more efficient? What are some of the inside tips you can share with other marketers to getting the most out of analytics? Wow, lots of questions rolled into one. An analytics driven marketer focuses on the use of data to drive decisions and understand customer needs. My typical day includes working with clients on 1. What their goals are. 2. What existing data they have and its state. 3. Turning 1 & 2 into executables. Most of the time it translates into customer acquisition, retention, upsell and engagement programs. I have also put together data strategies for clients who want to take care of the marketing strategy part. That was the bulk of my work at Mercury. Now at ten24 Web Solutions, I'm leveraging that expertise to help partners and clients identify web strategies. It's a lot of fun!
7 Agile marketing is becoming a hot topic, how can analytics help with the organizational marketing process? Real-time analytics are invaluable for agile marketing. Having access to that data enables you to adjust and test various elements of marketing programs. You have to have a combination of internal collaboration, systems and expertise to support an agile marketing model. They have been doing it in software development environments for years. Long-term, mass marketing programs of the good ole days are no longer effective in today's fast-paced, social environment.
8. What tools do you like best and why? It's important to stress that it all depends on what you're trying to accomplish and then come the relevant tools. For data analysis, I really love Tableau (about $1,000 for a license). It's a BI & data visualization tool that is easy to use and provides great data insights fast and in an easy to understand format. There are plenty of free tools out there that are very effective as well. I'm a fan of Google Apps (Alerts, Analytics, Fusion Tables). Free tracking tools like SocialMention keep track of particular keywords in the social media space. I keep the tools bookmarked because there are so many.
9 If you just had the basics and not a lot of cash as a marketer (small business) what can you still use as analytics tools? Google Analytics is an excellent start. A CRM system like salesforce.com is very cost-effective for a small business and a great way to begin gathering customer and prospect data.
10. What’s next for measurement of marketing? Wow, this is a tough one. There is information overload out there about marketing measurement. As I mentioned previously, continuing to try and have a system in place to interpret and use the expanding mounds of data will be an eternal challenge, in my opinion. I think the best way to gain more focus on marketing measurement is to get back to the basics like knowing what a customer and prospect are worth to your company and ways to keep those customers & prospects buying and coming back. This type of data is available in every organization but only about 20% use it! My long-time wish for an integrated marketing platform that tracks all marketing touchpoints (traditional, online, social, mobile), is user-friendly, and provides dashboard analytics still hasn't been realized, but I'm an eternal optimist and I know companies are working on this as I write this, right? ;-)