CMOs will spend more money on analytics, yes. But will they do it right?

Is Marketing Analytics A Good Thing?

Via TrackMaven, here are some key takeaways from the 2015 CMO Survey. In general, marketing spending will rise — and especially on analytics, which may double:

Marketing Analytics Spending

By “double” in this case, though, it’s still only slightly above 1/10th of the entire budget. It’s not that huge of a deal.

It would seem that “an increase in marketing analytics spending,” which is what the chart above is proving, is a good thing. But, er, maybe it’s not. 

Start here: “Big Data” and analytics are, on face, great concepts. But how we’re using them might be wrong: we don’t teach it enough (or properly), there’s a major issue with human bias vs. analytics, etc. You can see a bunch of information about the challenges here. And always remember: “synthesis” and “analysis,” which are two of the ways you’d need someone to deal with data and analytics, are actually very different things that people often view as the same thing, and that also is a concern.

Then look at this: by some measures, only 2.3 percent of marketing budgets go towards the analysis of analytics. That could mean, for example, that a marketing team devotes headcount to a position “focused on analytics,” but in reality they’re just taking base Google Analytics data and sending them to advertising partners. (Banner ad click-throughs, etc.) That’s not a job that requires any analysis. That’s a rote job. You see the difference?

The same TrackMaven post talks about a 14.7% increase in digital marketing spend, and a 1.1% decrease in traditional ad spend in 2015. That’s cool — it’s good to see marketers are moving in the generally right direction here. They should actually be probably focusing more on mobile, specifically because of this nugget:

Bricks-and mortar retailers also have been responding to omni-channel shoppers’ needs by building their own digital experiences to coordinate with offline offerings, Kahn says. Those offerings include mobile apps that send coupons to shoppers, alert them to promotions and generally engage with them digitally. The result is that consumers get better service and a more efficient shopping experience. “Consumers want the omni-channel experience — and frequently, the mobile phone is the connector between the offline and online worlds,” she notes. “Coordination between the offline and online experience is going to be the norm.”

Here’s a part that is close to my heart about “coordination of offline and online.” Let me explain.

  • I had a job at ESPN after my ESPN TV job. I worked for ESPNTheMag.com (now defunct). It was supposed to be an online version of ESPN The Magazine, even though the best content from there was getting loaded to ESPN.com anyway. As you might expect, nothing looked the same way it looked in the magazine, so the print editors lost interest over time. We went from “barely relevant” to “essentially irrelevant” over the span of a few months. We’d always hear in meetings that we were “an important part of the brand,” but every action went the other way.
  • I worked for PBS for a while. I worked on the website. TV is everything to them, and the website was definitely not really a priority.

Here’s what happened in both jobs: we were always told that “TV/The Magazine” (whatever world mattered to the speaker) was “integrating” with online, but the actions were always in opposition of that.

Here’s the basic deal that you probably already know: at work, people have areas they give a shit about, and they focus on those areas. That’s most jobs.

But honestly, most of the time the idea of “digital” and “main channel” integration is kind of a farce. Companies don’t invest in it. The website is often not even invited to some branding discussions. If you work in marketing, you’ve seen this happen a dozen or so times, if not more.

If you really want to be serious about ideas like “telling the story” and “omni-channel branding,” here’s what you need to do, plain and simple:

Integrate your digital plan with your overall plan. 

That’s it.

If you want “marketing analytics” to matter, they can’t matter in isolation, or assigned as a rote task. They can only matter if they’re part of a bigger fabric of everything you’re doing.

Valuable content is the job of the entire marketing team, yes.

But everyone should be made to feel a part of what the marketing team is doing — there isn’t “the magazine vs. the website” or “TV vs. the magazine vs. the website.”

Integrate the channels and tell the story. That’s your job, right?

Ted Bauer

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