The Ultimate Guide
to Marketing Analytics

A beginner’s guide to everything you need to know about marketing
analytics and how to improve performance

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Analytics

As marketing evolves to keep up with changing customer expectations, more digital competition, more savvy customers, and a global marketplace, so do the technologies that support successful strategies. In today’s world, your marketing team needs to use every tool possible to boost customer acquisition, ensure a great customer experience, and—ultimately—drive revenue.

Data is the key to accurately measuring and improving your marketing performance. But data alone isn’t enough to increase your ROI. To make the most of your data, you need insights from sophisticated, intuitive, tools so you can take action.

To stay ahead of the curve and optimize your marketing efforts, you need marketing analytics to put your most valuable data to work. Here, we’ll take a deep dive into marketing analytics, including common challenges, benefits, and some tips to help get you started.


What is marketing analytics?

Marketing analytics is the collection of processes and tools used to help shape campaigns, pricing, and packaging, as well as assess the outcomes of marketing activities to make smarter marketing decisions. A strong marketing analytics practice leverages metrics like campaign attribution, customer acquisition cost, and brand awareness to help you better understand marketing effectiveness and ROI.

The goal is to gather data that is mined from all marketing channels and consolidated into one, centralized view, which allows for richer insights. Having the right marketing analytics solution makes it easy to course-correct your strategy in real time and boost campaign outcomes.

For example, an ecommerce organization wants to identify top items by season in order to plan more effectively. The organization then captures customer behavior and purchasing decisions data across the end-to-end customer journey. Marketing analytics identifies a large uptick in the search, digital interaction, and subsequent purchase of a particular clothing product over the holiday season. Using those insights, the company launches a marketing campaign that targets key demographics, offers discounted sales of that product, and recommends similar products leading up to the next holiday season. The result? More sales, new customers, and a better customer experience that increase retention.


Marketing analytics challenges

When optimized, marketing analytics opens the door for data-driven marketing decisions that improve your bottom line. Whether you’re at a small startup or a large enterprise, translating your data into actionable drivers can be a struggle. Here are some common challenges.

Unifying data

Collecting large amounts of data from various marketing channels just doesn’t cut it, especially if that data lives in multiple, disparate places. Manually capturing and measuring data in separate spreadsheets and programs leads to silos, lost information, and limited insight into your marketing performance. It’s a struggle to integrate data from spreadsheets and disconnected tools, which makes that data nearly useless for accurately tracking your success and allows varying interpretations of data based on individual tools.

For instance, if you work for a coffee chain and are looking at sales in one geographical location that has a drop in sales of iced coffee, you may think there's a need for a campaign to increase sales of iced coffee. However, if you don't have data for weather, you may miss that the drop in sales of iced coffee in that location was due to a weather change, not due to customers purchasing their coffee elsewhere.

Proving value

Proving the ROI of your marketing initiatives requires more than just reporting monthly outcomes or building traditional dashboards. Cost-per-acquisition and engagement rate only tell part of the story—they don’t reveal how and why marketing activities affect your bottom line. Without the right understanding of marketing analytics, proving value to others in your organization can be a challenge.

Insights disconnected from action

In some organizations, a time lag or siloed information can cause marketing analytics insights to become disconnected from action. Reporting just to fulfill a monthly obligation means your team misses out on key insights to make revenue-boosting decisions. Plus, you can’t course correct your performance to prevent hits to your bottom line. Challenges can also arise when insights have to be analyzed in one system but acted on in another, causing further disconnection.

Tool complexity

Many marketing analytics tools require deep technical literacy that most marketers just don't have. Tool complexity can be a barrier to marketers being able to interpret and act on data in an effective and proactive way. If a non-marketing technology expert is required to use and understand a tool for marketing analytics, this separates the data from the people who need to use it, which can increase errors.

Forecasting

You need proper forecasting in order to identify potential opportunities, enable data-driven decisions, and predict future revenue. But it’s nearly impossible to accurately forecast if you don’t have a holistic understanding of performance across each channel or if you don’t use the right metrics. Without a detailed, unified view of historical data and the ability to accurately predict outcomes, you simply can’t decipher which parts of your marketing strategy will create the most profitable change moving forward.

Using the right metrics

Don’t buy into the misconception that the more data your marketing team has, the better you’ll understand how you’re performing. It can lead to ambiguous results that don’t translate into actionable takeaways. Some of the key marketing metrics to track include:

  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Traffic-to-lead ratio
  • Click-through-rate
  • Website conversion rate
  • Marketing-influenced revenue
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Cost-per-click
  • Marketing-generated revenue
  • Lead-to-close conversion ratio

Truthfully, marketing metrics are useless if they don’t align with your unique business goals. If you’re not using metrics directly tied to individual actions — and measuring how those actions impact business outcomes — you can’t understand whether marketing efforts at each stage of the customer journey are driving overall business objectives.

Learn how ThoughtSpot can help your marketing team boost ROI

Benefits of marketing analytics

In the past, siloed data from each channel drove strategy development. Today, the competitive edge comes from implementing tools that offer transparency, actionable insights, and a deep understanding of impact. Investing in doing marketing analytics right in order to optimize your strategies gives a variety of key benefits.

Gain a holistic view

Your stakeholders need a full view of your efforts in a centralized place, which is possible with a tool like ThoughtSpot. A strong marketing analytics tool lets you analyze the internal and external data from all of your channels (social media, website, etc.) to help you cross-analyze your efforts in a single place. Instead of digging through data in silos and spending hours consolidating information, when done correctly, marketing analytics gives real-time insight into what’s happening—and what’s working.

Improve customer experience

Customer experience is a top priority for marketing leaders. Marketing analytics can unveil the quality of the customer experience at every stage, with data from each touchpoint across every channel. You can use these data-driven insights to deliver an optimized customer experience that promises unmatched value. By breaking down silos that limit transparency, the right marketing analytics tool shows you how each customer interacts with your brand.

Increase customer loyalty and retention

U.S. companies lose $136.8 billion per year due to avoidable customer churn. An intelligent marketing analytics platform, like ThoughtSpot, empowers you to understand not only why customers are staying, but when, how, and why they're churning so you can prevent losing them. Discover which specific efforts lead to higher customer lifetime value and loyalty rates, and use that data to create strategies that boost customer retention.

Accelerate customer acquisition and conversion

It’s not easy to determine how your marketing performance impacts customer acquisition rates and costs. Marketing analytics can take the guesswork out of the equation. The right tool can help you understand your campaigns across each channel to help your team determine which activities, strategies, demographics, products, and services result in the lowest cost per acquisition and highest conversion rates. Apply these insights to make informed decisions on where to invest your time and efforts for the greatest ROI, and identify ways to speed up acquisitions and conversions in the future.

Analyze short- and long-term performance

Analyzing performance is key for tweaking marketing strategies as you go, for more effective campaign execution and better performance. You can report on the past, analyze the present, and predict the future with modern marketing analytics platforms like ThoughtSpot. Having such deep, cross-channel data makes it easy to see how each of your marketing initiatives have impacted revenue, how they’re currently performing in real-time, and how they might impact your goals in the long run.

Identify opportunities and optimize speed

When you have up-to-date, real-time data across each marketing channel, it’s easy to determine which channels and strategies are performing best, which ones have room for improvement, and how to prioritize investments. You might need to quickly pivot to avoid adverse outcomes, and a strong marketing analytics tool can help you shift your efforts without sacrificing efficiency and speed. Proactively manage your initiatives and adjust activities based on solid data.

Turn insights into action

No amount of data is useful if it's not guiding actions for an organization. By utilizing insights gained from marketing analytics, you can determine the best course of action to reach your goals. Tools like ThoughtSpot allow you to not only find these insights but to then turn the insights into action by connecting to your marketing tools.

Improve your industry insights

In order to remain competitive, you need visibility into both your internal marketing activities and broader industry trends. Marketing analytics technology helps you analyze your performance alongside changing demographics, market trends, and overall demand. Easily anticipate changes in your industry, identify new customers, and determine how your initiatives will impact (and be impacted by) these shifting dynamics.

Boost forecasting abilities

Consolidating marketing analytics related to your key data allows for more accurate predictions. Robust tools like ThoughtSpot take advantage of the entire modern data stack to pull in cross channel data in real-time, blend with other data sets, incorporate predictions with machine learning, then surface all of that to marketers through search and AI. Gain a clear view of future revenue so leaders can make informed decisions and better investments.


Three steps to successful marketing analytics

A strong marketing analytics practice relies on a strategic process and the right tools for support. To build a successful marketing analytics program, start by following these tried-and-true techniques.

STEP 1

Identify, capture, and analyze the right marketing metrics


Once you understand the potential ROI of marketing analytics, it’s tempting to adopt an all-or-nothing mindset. But when it comes to metrics, measuring too many (or the wrong ones) can muddy the waters and make it difficult to decipher impact.

Instead, focus on choosing the metrics that best align with your business needs. If, for example, you need to boost your leads for the quarter, focus on metrics like cost per lead (CPL) and marketing qualified leads (MQLs).


These will help you determine the cost of gaining a new sales lead and how many of those are actually qualified, which reveals how effective your current initiatives are.

Analyze data related to past, present, and future performance to identify what worked, what didn’t, and new opportunities. Then, you can maximize your spend by optimizing your campaign strategies to operate in tandem with broader organizational goals.

STEP 2

Evaluate your marketing analytics capabilities


Next, determine how your team will actually use your data to ask questions and get answers. Do you have a dedicated marketing analyst or data scientist on the payroll? Can they invest the time to thoroughly analyze and report on all of your key data across every channel?

Many marketing teams are better off with a tool that any marketer can easily use to uncover insights and make decisions that drive performance. Look for technology that offers intuitive design and interactivity, so your team can easily access and analyze data while remaining productive.


The right tool should also be highly scalable for cloud data volumes so you can break silos and unify data without limitations. And with so much data, the platform you choose needs to be infused with AI to help find hidden insights through self-service analytics. Actionable tools like ThoughtSpot also provide insights that can be used to trigger actions elsewhere in the marketing tech stack, like within your favorite business apps. That level of integration can help you get the most out of your marketing analytics for smarter decisions.

STEP 3

Take action on marketing insights


With the right tech and data in place, use your newfound insights to drive meaningful action. Leverage your marketing analytics to etermine a new use case that delivers business value and can be influenced by analytics. Plan your rollout by finding a group of individuals with high pain related to your use case, test with them, get feedback, and then improve as you widen your circle.

 

It’s vital to have data literacy training (complete with a data dictionary) built into your program. Your insights are only beneficial if your team understands what they’re looking at. The platform should offer training tools for accelerating adoption and increasing user knowledge.


Modern marketing analytics for better performance

In order to outperform your competitors and delight your customers, you need to understand the data that shows not only how you've performed in the past, but signals your future. Simply capturing and unifying the data isn't enough. It needs to be put in the hands of every marketer in order to understand the past, inform the present, and plan for the future. That's only possible with intelligent marketing analytics tools. To get the most of your data—and to gain deep insights that better inform your strategies—you need intelligent marketing analytics tools.

With Live Analytics from ThoughtSpot, you can analyze, create, and operationalize insights from all of your marketing data to make smarter decisions at the point of impact. With an intuitive, user-friendly interface and powerful search and AI capabilities that help you uncover opportunities for growth, ThoughtSpot puts the power of data in your marketers’ hands.

Prove your value, align effort to impact, and deliver more
personalized customer experiences with ThoughtSpot