Marketing over the web is probably one of the easiest, fastest and most measurable way to identify communication between your advertising/marketing efforts and audience. There is no excuse to not put yourself on the web already today – From manufacturing plants to die-hard David Beckham fans, the Internet is a medium that allows you to be extremely customized, free, easy and effective for both your business and yourself.
Today, you don’t even have to bother submitting your website address to search engines anymore: They find, index and lead people to your website for all you care.
Google the data-hungry company, gives you a million reasons to use them – Free, highly personalized & customizable, powerful & effective, gives you credit without you asking for it, etc. And for all you know, they are everywhere on the web: Registrars, search engines (which makes them huge database centers for individual to business profiles), application providers, social network platform, advertising center, etc. So you may ask – “What are they doing?” If you keep track of this company’s whereabouts, you’ll know why they do this – Data.
So should your company, too. Collecting data is never enough: You can never understand your customers fully by looking at raw or translated data itself. Web analytics can only tell you a story, provide ideas, proof and trails for you make an assumption. Google has by far created an advantage for themselves through data – The more you get, the more you understand. Yet again, so should your website.
What’s going on? I’m deeply saddened by knowing that many companies out there still do not put this powerful analytics tool to good use. Many small advertising companies with millions of annual turnover are only telling you as much as you need to know. Let’s keep it real, no bullshit. They tell you what you want to know in general, because a culture was born out of what people want their audience to ‘s happens here is that you’re duped into believing that if everyone says so, then it’s probably true.
But as time moves forward, trends shift. And if you don’t move in time, you’re putting yourself at risk of having your ass on fire. There is no harm in collecting data, understanding them and moving forward. This is what MARKETERS SHOULD ALWAYS DO. Web marketers should have a never-ending conquest of collecting data, translating them whenever possible and put good assumptions to the plate. Robots and analytics tool can only do as much as vomiting data for humans to understand, assume and take action.
Personally, I know many companies who are not doing this well at all – From public listed telecommunications & ICT companies to small construction/engineering companies. Their dollars for marketing are always thrown to visual items, less to research and development. Last year, I came across a company that sells flowers with a team of marketing ‘gurus’ so called. When I question them about data, all they could give me was theories on how actions are done – Not so much on what have their efforts done that affects the business’s audience.
What should you do? Nevermind that you’re a marketing director or just an exec. Of course, when it comes to high-profile decisions, you’ll have to leave it to the upper management. But if you’re the decision maker, here’s what you can do for the company you’re working with:
Collect data. Use Google Analytics, Omniture, Web Trends, Compete or any other analytics tool. Be sure to plant custom reporting trackers should you need additional ‘personalized’ data.
Keep track of updates. Look at growing or decreasing trends. Compare different metrics & dimensions to come out with a hypothesis.
Know your reporter. If you don’t understand what ‘Bounce Rate’ reports, your chance of understanding what’s visit:entry no. ratio is slim.
Compile data from different related dimensions & metrics then compare it with what you’ve done for that to happen.
Compare trends from campaign periods to day-to-day, monthly reporting, daily practices, investment, ROI growth and other substantial changes.
List down all of your hypothesis, then refer back to compilation of data (compared to) marketing campaign breakdowns, then prove a theory. Start over and stick to your marketing goals for ROI finding.
Once you’ve proved a theory, go back to your drawing board and compare those theories with your previous marketing campaigns. Do they make sense?
Improve your understanding. Take points. Profile and segmentate your market & audience profiles. Rethink a strategy based on those theories and business/marketing goals.
Draw out a plan and come to a consensus. Take the plan back compare with previous data and happenings. Set marketing goals. Make assumptions based on marketing goals, strategy & concepts and actions to perform.
Repeat step 4-9 for the next marketing campaign.
These actions may look like it takes forever to do and finish, but that is exactly what a web marketer should practice in every marketing campaign, especially when it comes to high-expense campaigns. If you’re in the upper management team overseeing operations, you may want to highlight some of these points to your marketers.