Marketing Analytics has developed a bit of a bad reputation. The Harvard Business Review has found it guilty of promising too much and underdelivering.¹ But, dig a little deeper and you might find we are partly to blame. So, while Marketing Analytics may be a little winded from a media pounding, we tag in with a God-honest defence.

Round one, fight.

The challenge of measuring marketing KPI to sales is a tale as old as time. While sales departments are more revenue focused, marketing departments tend to focus on clicks and eyeballs. Since the KPI’s for marketing vary from sales, there would be no direct attribution.

This challenge is seen when companies invest in expensive platforms to capture a 360 degree view of their clients to better depth sell. The Digital Marketing Institute cited Gartner mentioning “10% of companies have this view but only 5% leverage it to grow their business.”² This begs the question of whether man-hours and budgets spent doing this yield any returns.

We have all heard this piece of advice, “Don’t just work hard, work smart.” So wouldn’t it make sense to set objectives for data collection so marketing analysis is kept within scope? This makes generating insights into customer behaviour much more affordable and infinitely less strenuous on your processing bandwidth.

Speaking of bandwidth, the ability to consume data and execute analytics do not rest solely on the data analyst. With the availability of BI tools in the market such as Microsoft PowerBI, Tableau, etc., leveraging analytics is now very accessible. The end user has a part to play in ensuring frequent communication with analysts to ensure their requirements are being met.

In short, to actualise the benefits of marketing analytics is to find the right KPI’s, simplify your data capture, governance and consumption processes and involve the end user. Who better to catch flies than a spider tuned into movements in its web? The depth of our understanding has a direct impact on how effectively we deploy analytics. This implies we need to avoid scepticism about learning analytical skills and platforms and get on it.

It is in our nature to be sceptical, but it is also in our nature to learn. Learning to consume data and knowing what data to use will transform the way decisions are made; particularly marketing decisions. We cannot be solely reliant on platforms and software to change the way we feel about data. It is all around us and we need to be data competent to move forward.

After all, Muhammad Ali didn’t win because he had better gloves.