The digital marketing landscape has always had its Wild West periods where innovators flush with cash (often someone else’s) craft the latest shiny new objects and must-have gadgets. Everyone fawns and palpitations ensue, but then the landlord inquires about when, perhaps, the innovator might get around to paying the back rent, and that’s when the problems start.
Those that were able to give the guy a check – or at least bring in Paladin to beat him back for a while – understood that the shininess of the object wasn’t the objective. The true objective has always been to solve a business problem, i.e., make somebody some dough.
For the group that understood the need to pay the piper from the get-go, Forrester’s recent report “Welcome To The Era Of Digital Intelligence” echoes the battle cry. Forrester’s Joe Stanhope and company identify the proliferation of digital channels that are born and die by the hour, and marketers need customer intelligence to integrate these avenues as part of the unified picture of their customer and apply analysis toward solving business problems.
However, Forrester sells web analytics somewhat short in an important respect that others like Avinash Kaushik or Eric Peterson do not. While the technology wasn’t always as slick, and the channels weren’t always as numerous, it has never been enough to simply be, in Kaushik’s always colorful prose, a “data puker.” (See “The 2015 Digital Marketing Rule Book: Change or Perish”.)
Having web analytics without applying them to larger business objectives has always been useless – even in what Forrester calls “The golden age of web analytics.” (Oh, if you could see the pictures of the monocle I wore from 2002 through 2005!) The hip and the righteous have always understood web analytics and digital performance within the larger multichannel marketing context, and just as in the supposed “golden age,” every other marketing channel an organization uses, from social to mobile to broadcast, must align the performance of web analytics – and the payoff – into the larger efforts of the company as well.
As the years of economic uncertainty continue, marketers are barraged with increasing budget scrutiny and the constant need to prove ROI. All channels of customer engagement are now under the gun, and the need to prove revenue growth or some other comparable utility (cost savings, more efficient customer support that improves customer satisfaction and loyalty, etc.) is crucial.
Without closing the proverbial loop on their prospects from interactive marketing campaigns or social interactions or videos viralized, and taking action on the customer intelligence that gets unearthed, companies waste enormous quantities of money, and effort, quarter after quarter, year after year.
Unfortunately, the times dictate that many companies and marketing executives don’t have six months or a year to wait. The time to begin aligning all those disparate platforms and programs toward customer intelligence you can act on – and make money with – is now.
About the Author:
Andrew Lucyszyn is the Director of Web Analytics at SIGMA Marketing Group.