Insights That Marketers and Agencies Want From Analytics [study]

Marketing AnalyticsOn average, client-side marketers from around the world estimate that 43% of the analytics data they collect is useful for driving decision-making, while agencies similarly estimate that 40% is useful, per a recent study from Econsultancy and Lynchpin. The survey finds substantial year-over-year increases in the percentage of marketers and agencies reporting that analytics drive actionable recommendations that make a difference. But what exactly are respondents looking to get out of analytics?

 Analytics Data for Marketers and Agencies

In-house marketers surveyed for the report were most likely to cite conversion rate optimization as a top-3 growth or profit-related requirement for analytics, with 55% doing so. That was clearly the top choice, ahead of acquiring new customers (43%), improving marketing ROI (42%) and improving customer retention/loyalty (39%).

Among agency respondents, improving ROI was on par with conversion rate optimization as a top-3 analytics requirement (54% each), with ROI improvement cited by the largest share of respondents as a first choice. Close behind, a slight majority 51% cited the acquisition of new customers as a top-3 requirement.

Company marketers were also asked to identify their most important requirements for analytics as they relate to understanding the customer. The most popular of those were: tracking behavior across devices and channels (56% citing as a top-3 choice); identifying patterns of content engagement and campaign response (55%); and personalization and targeting (53%). Interestingly, fewer (44%) said that evaluating the overall customer experience is a top-3 requirement, with marketers preferring instead, it seems, to focus on specific aspects of customer behavior.

In order to meet their business goals, company respondents identified two types of data that are most important: CRM (57% citing as a top-3 choice); and clickstream (i.e. website interactions; 55%).

Compared to last year, a larger percentage of company respondents are planning to increase their analytics budgets for technology, internal staff, and consulting and services. For those beefing up their analytics staff, digital analytics tools skills will likely be in high demand.  That tracks with recent survey results from Accenture Interactive, in which CMOs were asked what would be the fundamental changes occurring in marketing over the next 5 years: a leading 43% cited analytical skills becoming a core competence.

About the Data: This is the seventh annual Measurement and Analytics Report (formerly known as the Online Measurement and Strategy Report), published by Econsultancy in association with Lynchpin. There were 1,052 respondents to the research request, which took the form of an online survey in April and May 2014. Respondents included both in-house marketers and analysts (51%) and supply-side respondents, including agencies, consultants and vendors (49%). A majority of respondents are based in Europe.

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Marketing Channels E-Commerce Companies Are Investing In

Media mix is a frequent topic all marketers are curious about. It’s a critical decision that requires getting and spending money, such as setting a media budget or purchasing a software tool.

This MarketingSherpa chart illustrates the channels e-commerce companies are investing in.

e-commerce marketing channels

Email marketing is almost universally used by e-commerce companies

Email marketing is one of the only channels (direct mail comes to mind as well) that forces a decision. To paraphrase a famous Apple ad, customers can glorify (clickthrough) or vilify (delete or unsubscribe) emails. About the only thing they can’t do is ignore emails. As long as your email earns its way into the inbox, customers have to make a decision on what to do with it.

Emails also have among the shortest lead times of any channel, so marketers can use it to quickly respond to events and it provides feedback on customer performance whether through A/B testing or simple analytics reviews. Companies can use this information to change campaigns on the fly, as this marketer alluded to in his Benchmark Study survey response:

Why is the number not 100%, then? Well, to use emails for marketing, you have to first build that list, so it can be a difficult for very new companies to pull off (aside from buying lists).

The top three channels most frequently invested in – email marketing, social media marketing and SEO – often require content

While content marketing is the seventh most-used tactic, according to the e-commerce marketers, there is an interesting similarity among the three most frequently used channels — they all tend to be heavily used channels for content marketing.

The marketers who said they invested in one of these channels, but not in content marketing, could focus all of their email efforts on promos, all social media marketing on ads, and all SEO on search engine friendly development.

Or, one might surmise, that even when they are engaged in content marketing — they don’t consider themselves to be engaged in content marketing because they are writing a check to an SEO agency or an email service provider. For this reason, there is technically no line item for “content marketing” and investment in this channel can be overlooked.

Nevertheless, content marketing does require an investment to be successful, as this marketer pointed out.

Print is the top offline channel

While print has been a much beleaguered marketing medium of late, it is a natural fit for e-commerce.

Unlike TV or radio, which often offer fleeting mentions of URLs, print advertising puts your website in customers’ hands. Beyond simply a printed URL, e-commerce advertisers also use QR codes, apps and other technology to make the connection between offline and online even easier for customers.

Beyond direct response, print helps reinforce the brand as well.

Print marketing can involve more than just traditional paid media, as content can play a role here as well.

Radio and TV ads are the channels least used by e-commerce companies

While broadcast tends to be the medium most associated with marketing and advertising, it is only used by a minority of e-commerce companies. Not only do radio and TV ads tend to be more expensive than other surveyed channels, they can also be more difficult to connect to traffic, sales and ROI than other channels.

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Targeting – A Top Marketing Challenge [study]


Marketers are focusing on customers this year—both new and old.

According to a February 2014 study by DNN in collaboration with Lawless Research, Survey Sampling International (SSI) and Qualtrics, acquiring new customers and increasing retention were the top two 2014 marketing priorities for US marketing executives, cited by 87% and 86%, respectively.

A December 2013 study from Forrester Consulting for ExactTarget found similar results. Once again, acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones were the top priorities cited by US marketing leaders.

ExactTarget reported that marketers still looked to “targeting large-scale, demographically defined audience segments” as their primary mode of customer acquisition. And the source noted that new technology should help improve such efforts, as marketers would be able to target more effectively, personalizing content for customers while building better relationships.

Based on the findings from DNN, Lawless Research, SSI and Qualtrics, this technology may be necessary for marketers to overcome their top challenges. Among US marketing execs studied, getting or holding target customers’ attention, as well as finding their target audience online, were the top two major challenges.

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How Digital Optimization Leaders Differ [study]

Digital Optimization Leaders
Increasing conversion rates is a top digital priority for marketers this year, and a new study from Adobe offers insights into the ways in which the top 20% of performers (by conversion rate) differ from the other 80%. Among the highlights, the survey results indicate that the top 20% are more likely to use testing as a form of decision-making, and are 54% more likely to be allocating more than 5% of their marketing budgets to optimization activities.

Digital Optimization Leaders Differ

In fact, 1 in 10 top performers reported directing more than one-quarter of their total marketing budgets to optimization activities (including agency fees, professional services, technology), versus 5% of the bottom 80%.

Not surprisingly, the top-performers were more likely than the rest to use a range of customer experience measurement and optimization tactics. Some of the biggest gaps were for audience segmentation (+111%), use of mobile analytics (+90%) and performing A/B testing (+60%).

Also of note: the top 20% was almost twice as likely as the rest to report that multiple departments have input into the optimization process (15% vs. 8%). They were also more likely to use an automated program to determine significance and program winners and far less likely to use manual testing and analysis.

Finally, the study’s results indicate that top-performers are more attuned to mobile than their counterparts: some 83% said that it is very (41%) or somewhat (42%) important to focus on mobile to support their cross-channel efforts this year. By contrast, a relatively smaller two-thirds of the other respondents placed that degree of importance on mobile.

About the Data: The Adobe 2014 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey had more than 1,000 respondents globally – 60% from North America, 27% from Europe, and 13% from Asia.

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Marketing Is Playing A Larger Role In Business [study]

According to the current IBM C-Suite Study, CMOs are wielding more power in the boardroom, as CEOs increasingly call on them for strategic input. The CMO now comes second only to the CFO in terms of the influence he or she exerts on the CEO. A growing number of CMOs are also liaising closely with CIOs with remarkably positive effects on the bottom line. Where the CMO and CIO work well together, the enterprise is 76% more likely to outperform in terms of revenues and profitability.

CEOs rely increasingly heavily on CMOs for strategic input:
marketing business
On the other hand, very few CMOs have made much progress in building a robust digital marketing capability. Only 20% have set up social networks for the purpose of engaging with customers, for example, even though online input is a crucial part of the dialogue between a company and its customers. The percentage of CMOs who have integrated their company’s interactions with customers across different channels, installed analytical programs to mine customer data and created digitally enabled supply chains to respond rapidly to changes in customer demand is even smaller.

marketing business 2
In 2011, 71% of the CMOs interviewed felt underprepared to deal with the data explosion. Today, 82% feel that way. Two-thirds of all CMOs also report that they’re not ready to cope with social media, which is only marginally less than was the case three years ago.

CMOs, however, are not ignoring technology’s potential, says the report, planning to make even greater use of some key marketing technologies in the next three to five years. Predictive analytics and mobile applications are particularly high on their wish lists, although customer relationship management and collaboration tools come close behind. And 74% of CMOs intend to partner more extensively in the future to help them realize their goals.

“To succeed in the digital era, you have to be totally in sync with the behavior and preferences of your customers in a fast-changing landscape. You have to be quick and adaptable.” CMO, Retail, United States

With a current gap between aspiration and action, it’s questionable whether CMOs are moving fast enough to keep up with the speed at which the commercial landscape is evolving, opines the report. The study found that “… our biggest challenge is creating the data infrastructure.” A CMO, Insurance, New Zealand, says

CMOs plan to use certain technologies more extensively in the future:
marketing business 3
The study identified three distinct kinds of CMO, each at a different stage on the path to digital nirvana:

The Traditionalists are just setting off. 37% of the respondents, they’re challenged by the data explosion, the growth in social media and the plethora of new channels and devices; have yet to integrate their physical and digital sales and service channels; seldom engage with customers via social networks; and rarely use analytics to extract insights from the customer data they collect.

The Social Strategists, 33%, recognize social media’s potential as a vehicle for engaging with customers, and are building the infrastructure they’ll need to operate in the social arena. But, haven’t yet begun to exploit the opportunities arising from the data explosion and advanced analytics.

The Digital Pacesetters, 30%, are reasonably prepared for the data explosion and well placed to handle the increasingly heavy social and mobile traffic from a growing range of devices. They’re also actively putting the resources required to operate as a fully integrated physical-digital enterprise in place, and regularly use advanced analytics to generate insights from customer data.

The Digital Pacesetters in the survey have invested far more heavily than Traditionalists or Social Strategists in capturing and analyzing data during every phase of the customer lifecycle. Digital Pacesetters typically have a far clearer picture of their customers than other CMOs. Enterprises with a deep understanding of their customers are 60% more likely to be financial outperformers, says the report.

The CMO of a German chemicals company notes that “… marketing is a data-driven science… (but) people often see it as a ‘nice-to-have’ because they don’t think it drives the future of the company… (however) marketing is actually about using data to target audiences and create value… it’s about monetizing things…”

Marketing business 4
Digital Pacesetters lead the way in building an infrastructure and rewarding customer experiences: 82% of Digital Pacesetters expect digital channels to play a bigger role in their interactions with customers in the next three to five years, compared with just 64% of Traditionalists and 76% of Social Strategists.

CMOs have the same top priorities for managing digital change, but they seem to have given up on taming social media. Monetizing social media has sunk to the bottom of their agendas. Only a quarter of Traditionalists and two-fifths of Social Strategists and Digital Pacesetters are attempting to make money via social channels. The rest see social mainly as a tool for building awareness and forging connections.

Key goals:
Design customer experiences for tablet/mobile apps
Position social media as a key customer engagement channel
Deploy an integrated software suite to manage prospects and customers
Monitor the brand via social media
Measure the ROI of digital technologies
Conduct online/offline transaction analysis
Develop social interaction governance, guidelines, policies, etc.
Gain comprehensive visibility of supply chain
Monetize social media

A significant number of Traditionalists are still wrestling with relatively basic problems such as developing a set of digital guidelines. Social Strategists, by contrast, are more concerned with conducting transaction analysis, while Digital Pacesetters are preoccupied with managing the customer relationship and creating a transparent supply chain to fulfill orders rapidly.

CMOs face different challenges for much the same reason, depending on how far they’ve gone down the digital path:

Lack of a cohesive strategy for leveraging social media/business   71%
Other competing priorities or initiatives   58%
Undefined return on investment   50%

Social Strategists
Other competing priorities or initiatives   62%
Lack of appropriate technology   61%
Lack of a cohesive strategy for leveraging social media/business   54%

Digital Pacesetters
Other competing priorities or initiatives   61%
Undefined return on investment   59%
Lack of a cohesive strategy for leveraging social media/business   51%

Concluding, the report offers salient comments by two of the respondents:

The CMO of a Canadian bank noted, “… we’re increasing the emphasis on the customer… building a better understanding of digital, mobile and social media… drawing insights from knowledge and analytics… collaborating with technology partners to enhance the customer experience.”

But the gap between desire and daily reality large as the CMO of a Brazilian professional services firm explained, “… the only way CMOs can… close the gap is by invoking their growing influence in the boardroom… other C-level executives don’t have a deep knowledge of marketing… so they don’t understand marketing as a strategic role… ”

For additional information from IBM click here.

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What Types of Ads Are People Ignoring?

A new survey from Goo Technologies, conducted by Harris Interactive, looks at the types of ads that consumers say they are most likely to ignore. Overall, the study finds that online ads are ignored by the largest share of respondents (82%), with traditional media ads such as TV ads (37%), radio ads (36%), and newspaper ads (35%) a fair way behind. Drilling down into the results, some interesting demographic differences emerge.

Who is Ignoring Which Ads?Looking first at online ads, the survey indicates that banner ads are ignored by the largest share of respondents overall (73%), followed by social media ads (62%) and search engine ads (59%). In each case the propensity to ignore ads rises alongside age – by a significant degree. Here are some interesting breakdowns:

Compared to 18-34-year-olds, the 65+ crowd is:

  • 50% more likely to count online banner ads among those they ignore the most (87% vs. 58%);
  • 58% more likely to ignore social media ads (76% vs. 48%); and
  • 53% more likely to ignore search engine ads (72% vs. 47%).

Interestingly, older respondents are ignoring more banner ads despite seeing less of them: a recent study from comScore determined that during November 2013, 18-34-year-olds saw on average 2,311 display ads, compared to 2,212 for 35-54-year-olds and 1,803 for those aged 55 and up. With those types of numbers, it’s really not surprising that 3 in 4 respondents to the Goo Technologies survey are ignoring banner ads the most – they’re seeing about 70 per day!

How about TV ads? In this case, older Americans watch significantly more TV than their younger counterparts (and presumably therefore see more ads). Consistent with the results above, the oldest group reports being almost twice as likely to be ignoring TV ads as the youngest group (50% vs. 26%). That’s an interesting stat worth repeating: young Americans are about half as likely as older Americans to say that TV ads are among the ones they ignore the most. (They’re slightly more likely to be skipping recorded TV ads, though, according to the comScore study referenced above.)

Finally, while there’s not as much of a gap, the oldest group also says it’s more likely to be ignoring radio (46% vs. 34%) and newspaper ads (41% vs. 34%).

Research finds Boomers to be more reliant than Millennials on advertising as a purchase influencer. Perhaps when they do pay attention to advertising, older Americans are more influenced by it?

While there does not appear to be much difference in the propensity to ignore ads when sorting by gender, there are some patterns that arise when breaking down the respondents by other variables:

  • Respondents from higher-income households ($100k+) are more likely than those from lower-income households (<$50k) to be ignoring all types of online ads, but the reverse is true for each type of traditional media ad;
  • College graduates are more likely than those without a college education to be ignoring each form of online ads, while there is no statistically significant gap when it comes to TV, radio and newspaper ads;
  • Those with kids at home are less likely to be ignoring each type of ad; and
  • Married respondents are more likely to be ignoring each type of ad save for radio and newspaper ads, where there is no gap.

So how can online ads get more attention? The survey lists some potential improvements, finding that respondents would be most likely to pay more attention to funny (40%) and entertaining (32%) online ads, continuing what appears to be Americans’ love affair with humorous advertising.

Fewer would pay more attention to online ads if they had stunning graphics (19%), were interactive (12%), featured a sexy man or woman (10%), or were game-ified (7%). But the fewest votes went to ads where the celebrity is the spokesperson (6%); see here for more details regarding the influence (or lack thereof) of celebrities in advertising.

As for the demographics of those responses: in general, younger groups are more likely to want online ads to be funny, as are respondents with children and those who are not married.

About the Data: The survey was conducted online within the US by Harris Interactive on behalf of Goo Technologies from January 17-21, 2014 among 2,047 adults aged 18 and older.

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