If you aren’t measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, there is no point in running the campaign in the first place.
Sure, you are getting something out the door, and marketing activity needs to occur in order to create mindshare and, as a result, increase the likelihood of generating qualified leads and eventually customers.
But if you are just running campaigns without collecting data on how the campaigns are performing, the only measure of success you have is leads generated (assuming you are even tracking that).
Below are three reasons why marketing data analysis is important, and what to do with the data in order to generate more leads online.
Without data analysis, the best case scenario is leads are increasing but you don’t know which campaigns are responsible for the success (so you can do more of what is working); worst case, if leads are decreasing or remaining flat, you have no insight as to why this is happening nor what levers to pull in order to reverse the trend.
It’s kind of like trying to fly a plane without instruments. When the skies are clear, you can visually fly the plane, but when visibility is low or if you want to fly above the clouds you have no idea if you are going in the right direction or not.
To put it in marketing terms, without marketing data analysis you have no idea which campaigns are working and which ones are not, nor do you have any yardsticks against which to measure success. You are basically flying blind, and there is nothing worse than misguided marketing and lead conversion campaigns.
There are three primary reasons why data is important:
Marketing data allows you to measure business metrics like traffic, leads, and sales, and which events (both on and off your website) influence whether leads become customers.
Using data allows marketers to analyze how each of their marketing initiatives (e.g. social media vs. blogging vs. email marketing) stack up against one another.
Measurement and analysis in turn allows you to learn from what is working, and more importantly, what is not working, toward achieving your business goals so that you can prioritize activities and optimize them based on ROI.
In addition to understanding why marketing data is important, there are several great applications of what to do with the data.
- Integration Across Different Marketing Channels
Use data to get a good look into the direct relationships between your marketing channels. It's great to be able to see how each of your individual channels (e.g. social media, blogging, email marketing, SEO, etc.) are performing. Going a step further, use your channel performance to tie the effect of multiple channels' performances together.
For example, when running a campaign, not only measure how individual channels are performing, but compare performance across channel. Did the email generate more leads than the blog post? Is this true over time and for different campaigns?
- People-Centric Data on the Customer Lifecycle
Data doesn’t have to be impersonal. In fact, you should use data to gain insight into individual prospects and leads. Examine how specific people are interacting with your different marketing initiatives and channels. For example, how did an individual lead first come to find your website? (Search? Facebook? Direct traffic?) Is that lead subscribed to your email list? Do they read your blog?
Data analysis can tell you all of this and more, providing you with extremely valuable lead intelligence that can be applied to lead scoring and lead nurturing. Look at the individual performance information in aggregate to identify trends among your prospects and leads. Perhaps you find that many customers' last point of conversion was on a certain marketing offer. Having this data makes it possible to implement an effective lead management strategy, enabling you to score and prioritize your B2B leads and identify which activities contribute to a marketing qualified lead for your business.
- Closed Loop Data
Of course, the ultimate objective is to tie marketing activities to sales. Sure, your blog may be effective in generating leads, but are those leads actually turning into customers and making your business money? Closed loop marketing can tell you.
Having this closed loop data can help you determine whether your individual marketing initiatives are actually contributing to the bottom line. Through it, you can determine which channels are most critical for driving sales. Perhaps you find that your blog is your most effective channel for generating customers, or conversely, you find that social media is really only powerful as an engagement mechanism, not a source of sales.
All of the insights, information, and data you can gather from your marketing is really only useful if you do something with it. The true value of marketing data analysis isn't just to prove that all the marketing activities you're doing are worth the time and money; it's also to help you improve and optimize your marketing performance on both an individual channel-by-channel basis as well as an overall, cross-channel machine so that you can measure and track your progress toward your ultimate goal: more paying customers!
To learn how marketing data analysis can be applied toward generating more B2B leads, download our free Lead Gen Blueprint: