How to Construct an Analytically-Oriented Marketing Operation

PR marketing analytics staffing organization

It is becoming increasingly important for marketing leaders to be able to design and build meaningful, consistent data analytics frameworks– setting goals tied to ROI-oriented objectives, determining relevant KPIs to pursue, and tracking the right metrics to inform decision making. To succeed in these ambitious goals, executives must architect marketing organizations that are agile and collaborative, supported by analytically-minded talent from the ground up.

Some structural building blocks are essential in laying a strong foundation for a data-minded marketing operation:

Pursuing Organizational Nimbleness

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In the past, measurement of results and optimization came at the close of a marketing campaign. This made sense in the era of long lead cycles (TV commercials, print advertising, etc.) where advertising staffing painstakingly collected data offline and access to measurable results was limited and untimely. But those days are long gone (and good riddance).

Responsive, agile marketing now demands close integration between execution and performance measurement by marketing analytics staffing to make sense of the mountain of data being received. A tight feedback loop that enables real-time adjustments across owned, paid, and earned campaign components based on live data is critical to maximizing ROI.

Of course, that’s easier said than done for today’s CMOs. Marketers everywhere are struggling to make sense of the highly complex, fragmented data pouring in from various sources. Without guidance from a carefully executed marketing analytics executive search, many organizations find themselves without the data-oriented leadership they need to effectively gather and translate an endless flood of information. Picking out meaningful marketing signals from the rest of the noise is becoming harder and harder, and many marketing operations are overwhelmed by the needle-in-a-haystack challenge of teasing apart campaign-specific insights from their massive data pools.

Compounding the problem, responsibility is spread across multiple departments, teams, and locations. Reporting frameworks are inconsistent, inaccurate–or both. A recent Gartner study reported a direct correlation between companies’ revenue and investment into tools for their marketing analytics staffing. That should come as no surprise: technology is critical in overcoming these barriers and achieving agility. But data-smart marketing executives know that true agility takes more than simply throwing money at the problem and acquiring new tools.

The adjustment takes time, persistence, and the deft executive change management. CMOs must innovate: try new tools, run tests during campaigns to pinpoint what’s working and what’s not, conduct digital marketing executive searches to bring in fresh new minds, and allocate sufficient media spend towards experimentation (5-10%) to see real results. Foster a culture of creativity, reward new and disruptive ideas, and constantly seek new ways to improve.

Redefining Objectives

marketing analytics staffing objectives

A lot of organizations  get caught up in the trap of relying on traditional marketing execution systems– or worse, generic business intelligence tools not geared to marketing at all–for measurement activities.

It’s easy to understand the appeal: with just a click, almost anyone can pull sleek real-time reports on digital metrics like click-throughs, opens, likes, and shares. But the metrics a marketing leader should actually care about now are invariably cross-channel, classified by personas, product lines, geographies and more. They are comprised of ingredients that are more nuanced than even some data science staffing might realize.

To truly understand the business impact of marketing initiatives and translate basic analytics into meaningful insight, it’s critical to view marketing data holistically, as one important part of a bigger business picture. That means separating execution from measurement and utilizing a dedicated centralized system to correlate everything–from the effectiveness of creative assets in driving conversions, to audience segmentation information, to high-level business impact data like spend and revenue.

A standardized and widely-adopted measurement system instituted by talented marketing automation staffing reduces the manual, resource-intensive cycles once needed to piece disparate marketing data together. Additionally, automating and scaling the measurement process helps marketing teams reduce errors, maximize data quality, and further tighten the feedback loop.

Cross-Company Collaboration

Data-smart CMOs must realize that in this new world order, they can’t do it alone. This can be a difficult pill to swallow for some executives who prefer to be self-reliant and in complete control. But to develop an analytical culture, there are numerous partnerships–inside and outside the organization–that are critical for success.

Perspectives on Digital Transformation from Key Executive Stakeholders

video from The MIT Sloan CIO Symposium

To start, it’s essential for marketing executives and their teams to work hand in hand with the CIO and other tech stakeholders to drive organizational change, uncover new insights out of marketing data that can benefit the organization at large, and deliver highly relevant customer experiences. Depending on the organization, a dedicated marketing technologist executive search might be needed to bridge the gap between marketing and IT.

Next, executives should consider assembling and assigning responsibility to a centralized team of marketing analytics staffing and leadership to drive all measurement initiatives. The team needs to be given considerable authority to establish processes and best practices, but must also be accessible to and closely aligned with various business units so that division-specific needs and issues are promptly addressed.

Finally, strategic relationships with tech providers, vendors, agencies, and digital marketing consultants cannot be overlooked. It is important to work with these integral marketing partners to establish measurement best practices and ensure performance data is captured in a consistent, effective manner.

Keeping on Target

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With a wide variety of marketing signals bombarding today’s organizations at rapid-fire speed, it’s easy to drown in the data. Many companies are struggling to even stay afloat, let alone get ahead of the competition.

Prioritize these foundational building blocks to start the transition to a more data-intelligent business, while staying focused on the bigger picture–the way your marketing is bringing the organization as a whole to growth. Instead of rolling out a daunting laundry list of companywide objectives tied to a measurement framework, start small with manageable, well-defined, and consistent goals. This will improve accountability, enhance effectiveness, and maximize collaboration across your entire marketing organization.

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