Analytically Dismantling 4 Popular Marketing “Facts”

marketing analytics staffing myths

Some marketers would have you believe that marketing is more of an art than a science. Years as marketing recruiters filling marketing positions of all kinds for clients of every shape and size has shown us otherwise.

When you look at your marketing efforts through an analytic lens, it becomes possible to uncover specific, accurate information about customers and trends and reveal the truth about common assumptions. Here are four real-world examples of successful marketing strategies that regularly defy common assumptions:

“Fact” #1: You Get the Results You Pay for

The “You get what you pay for” mindset is prevalent in the marketing industry, and understandably so. Some things, like top-shelf marketing talent, don’t come cheap. But just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s always good.

There are plenty of ways marketers can invest their dollars. But too often they’re put towards platforms and strategies with little demonstrable value.

Still have marketing leaders focused on anything other than ROI? Time to upgrade.

Trouble arises when brands believe in these investments without having a rigorous model behind them. While the idea that advertising on any given channel might be fundamentally sound, the real question is; does it make enough of a difference? Does it attract enough new customers? Does it drive enough sales to make it worthwhile, or could that money be better spent elsewhere?

These are the questions your marketers need to answer. Just because something is costly doesn’t automatically make it the right investment for your marketing dollars. You must be realistic with your goals and what you can expect to get from your budget. Are you confident your marketing strategy is giving you the best possible ROI?

“Fact” #2: Not Everything in Marketing is Measurable

It’s easy to measure basic metrics, such as sales and customer acquisition. You can plot them on a graph and track them in a spreadsheet. There is rarely any confusion about their value.

The most important– and often overlooked– part of developing a model is in its adoption.

It’s not so easy to assign value to more abstract concepts, such as linking brand affinity or social media followers to ROI. In these instances, rather than collecting and analyzing a direct, numerical measurement, it’s necessary to compile a number of different observations into a model.

Click here to learn how to find a social media marketer that knows how to measure ROI.

The tricky part is that many marketers still don’t believe in their models. Models are meant to simplify complex situations and data sets, but that also leaves room for confusion and doubt, things we marketers hate. When reviewing the derived output of a model (like ROI), inevitably questions bubble up about the nature of the model. What does the number mean? Where does it come from? Why does it matter?

The most important– and often overlooked– part of developing a model is in its adoption. If an executive audience doesn’t understand and trust the “rules” of a model, it’s a useless tool. When a model isn’t valued, people write off whatever is being considered as “immeasurable” and simply give up. This is why it’s essential to have marketing analytics talent in house or through analytics staffing to translate data as simply as possible and marketing executives at the highest levels that can interpret and act on it.

Your marketers must strive to not only ensure the quality of your models, but also to find ways to integrate them into the overall company culture. After all, most things can be measured or modeled in one way or another; the bigger challenge is building trust in them.

“Fact” #3: Radical Innovation is Essential for Success

Big ideas are great, but they’re not always necessary. Sometimes the simple stuff works best.

A great Web experience isn’t innovative; it’s smooth and user-friendly. Especially in e-commerce situations, the biggest payoffs come from emphasizing the convenience of the browsing and ordering process, getting rid of friction points, removing distractions, improving navigation, and making it easy to find and buy a product. Got it? You can stop there. The wheel works. There’s no need to reinvent it just for the sake of doing something new and different.

Big ideas are great, but they’re not always necessary. Sometimes the simple stuff works best.

Though vital for winning edge in a competitive market or ensure long-term success, innovation can also be expensive and uncertain.  In many cases, the surest ways to maximize ROI is to minimize spend and focus on the areas that make an immediate difference. Once you have a solid marketing base built on best practices, then you can consider innovating and experimenting.

There is a time and place for “disruptive” ideas, but perfect the fundamentals first.

“Fact” #4: Inaccurate Measurements are Useless

Measurements don’t need to be perfectly accurate to be useful. But they do need to be precise.

A brief explanation of the difference between

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Often, models don’t provide an accurate picture of the world. For example, in order to compare the performance of two marketing campaigns, your marketing analysts or analytics staffing could create a model to calculate campaign ROI. The model may assign value to incremental sales, customer acquisition, and customer retention. These factors would be combined to create an ROI model.

Your model might not calculate your ROI down to the exact dollar. But it will give you a general idea of what’s working and provide useful comparisons between your test subjects.

It’s likely that any model we create will be incomplete and therefore at least somewhat inaccurate. Given some basic level of thoroughness, however, the model still has precision value. With a precise model, we can effectively compare the campaigns to determine their relative performance. Even if the model is not accurate, per se, it can still tell you what you need to know: Which campaign performed better?

While most marketers have long left their science lab days behind, scientific practices can steer and shape smart marketing strategies. If you want to build a better basis for your marketing strategy in 2015, turn to someone who approaches marketing with an analytic mindset. You might be surprised what you can learn.


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