UDS Blog

Why EVERYONE needs a data analyst on his or her team

“How do we know it’s working?”

It is inevitable that every advertising and marketing professional will hear this question from a client, manager, CEO, CFO, etc. (this list goes on).

All the work you and your team put into each campaign strategy and execution; all the long hours of reviewing performance metrics to tell an engaging story and you’re asked this simple question.  If, after hearing this question you don’t feel your heart stop a little, you might not be human.  You have meticulously laid out a compelling campaign performance and outlined key insights supporting your work.  So, what went wrong?

After you revisit and outline the metrics and KPIs of your success to reiterate that it is in fact “working,” you ask yourself a similar question.   What other piece of information did I not provide that would help clarify and ultimately justify this spend?

Connecting the dots between your marketing efforts and business objectives has become increasingly difficult.  This is especially true with the constant introduction of new and emerging platforms.  Technology has catapulted the amount of data capable of being collected.  Organizations are inundated with this influx of data and often struggle with the means to use it efficiently and effectively.

Many companies, agencies and organizations use the phrase “data driven ______” to describe their process.  While this statement may be true on many levels, there is a greater chance there is great deal of data not being utilized to it’s fullest potential (or in some instances not at all).  With all of the discussion around “Big Data” and being “Data Driven,” having all of the data in the world is of no use if you don’t know how to analyze it.

Allow me to introduce you to your new best friend: The Data Analyst.

Data analyst help to build the bridge from the daunting world of data analysis to actionable marketing & business decisions.  Marketing data analyst help identify ultimately what is working, not working and the possibility of potential while taking in consideration an organizations business objectives.

You’re probably asking yourself:  “I have a full time marketing staff and we have an agency, shouldn’t they know this?”

The answer to this question is yes… and no.

Digital marketing on virtually every level uses data to dictate strategy, optimizations and ultimately improve performance.  A good digital marketing professional can rattle off a handful of acronyms to a client or executive for comparison to industry or historical benchmarks at the drop of a hat.

While those metrics provide value and are important, they do little to speak to business leaders who are more concerned with how these metrics apply to their annual business plan.  Essentially, campaign performance and metrics consist of a single portion of the data pie.

Marketing professionals run into a few obstacles when attempting to juggle big data along side channel performance.  In most instances marketers don’t always have access to all of the data required to conduct meaningful analysis.  When data is readily available, many times it’s not in a digestible format.  This is where your new best friend the data analyst comes into the picture.
Data analysts are able to look at the picture using different lenses.  Beyond answering the typical “what happened” and “what is happening now” questions, analyst dig deeper to answer the following questions: Why did we see these results? (statistical analysis) What results could be expected? (predictive analysis) and What will likely happen? (simulated analysis).

How long can you survive without access to a data analyst?  As it turns out, big data isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  A large percentage of organizations are currently using data to their benefit.  In a recent Forbes article Forrester was cited in their research as attributing big data analytics and it’s findings increases a marketers’ ability to “get beyond campaign execution and focus on how to make customer relationships more successful.”

Do you find your organization asking any of the following questions?

  • Are we focusing our efforts on macro marketing instead of micro marketing?
  • Given what we know about our customer lifecycle, how many new customers do we need to operate? How much can we pay for each new customer?
  • What is our return on ad spend or what is our ROI?
  • Can we predict the number of responses we can expect for this next campaign?
  • Can we project the amount of budget we will need to make an impact in the current market/channel/geography?
  • How are marketing channels performing today and how will we perform in the future? How did we perform in the past and what did we learn?
  • Did any of our traditional marketing efforts provide lift to our digital marketing channels?
  • What is our cross channel performance? What devices were used most by consumers in our target market?  What devices do our current customers use?
  • How did our marketing mix perform and did we allocate the appropriate funds to the each channel effectively?
  • Who are our competitors in each marketing channel? How did we compare and should we do things differently?   What do we test next?

If you’ve asked any of the previous questions, you should have hired a data analyst yesterday.   Alternatively you could work with one of ours at Utah Digital Services.  In either regard, when posed with the question “how do we know it’s working?” the data driven response should be “let me ask my analyst.”


Columbus, Louis (2016, May 9) Ten Ways Bit Data Is Revolutionizing Marketing and Sales

Retrieved from:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2016/05/09/ten-ways-big-data-is-revolutionizing-marketing-and-sales/#5b29763a21cf