Marketing Analytics: Driving Data to the Forefront


You might look at marketing analytics as heralding a new generation of business analytics. Marketers certainly didn't invent analytics (although I've known a few who thought they did), but marketing's adoption of analytics over the past decade or so helped to fuel today's broader business interest in data.

Analytics were already in common use in pharmaceuticals for drug development and clinical trials, within business intelligence teams, and in sectors such as manufacturing operations research and oil exploration. But once marketers got their hands on analytics tools they drove data to the forefront in the corporation.

SAS's Adele Sweetwood
SAS's Adele Sweetwood

Today, you are unlikely to find a marketer who wants to go back to the old days when the success of a product campaign was based largely on guesswork, and branding was evaluated in an annual survey that utilized 10 year-old metrics. It's easy to forget that big data wasn't on the radar a relatively few years ago. Marketers were the pioneers when it came to understanding the big data concept.

Analytics haven't just changed marketing, they have reinvented it, as Adele Sweetwood explains in her new book, The Analytical Marketer: How to Transform Your Marketing Organization from HBR Press.

Sweetwood, who is Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Shared Services at SAS (sponsor of this site), wrote:

    All marketers today need baseline skills in data and analytics. Today’s marketer needs to go well beyond reporting and metrics, and be more proficient in a full range of analytical skills --including knowledge of data management principles and analytical strategies, and an understanding of the role of data quality, the importance of data governance, and the value of data in marketing disciplines. Marketers today also need a nuanced understanding of current and emerging digital channels.

On Wednesday, Sweetwood will discuss her book and the ways that adoption of analytics has changed not just the marketer's role but the marketing department as a whole, including how marketing interacts with other departments. Sweetwood will be the featured guest on a webinar hosted by Harvard Business Review, The Analytical Marketer on Wednesday, November 16, at 12 pm EST.

The analytics-driven changes in marketing aren't just about marketing itself but truly are reflective of how entire enterprises are going through a reinvention.

Read an excerpt from Adele Sweetwood's book here.

James M. Connolly, Editor of All Analytics

Jim Connolly is a versatile and experienced technology journalist who has reported on IT trends for more than two decades. As editor of All Analytics he writes about the move to big data analytics and data-driven decision making. Over the years he has covered enterprise computing, the PC revolution, client/server, the evolution of the Internet, the rise of web-based business, and IT management. He has covered breaking industry news and has led teams focused on product reviews and technology trends. Throughout his tech journalism career, he has concentrated on serving the information needs of IT decision-makers in large organizations and has worked with those managers to help them learn from their peers and share their experiences in implementing leading-edge technologies through publications including Computerworld. Jim also has helped to launch a technology-focused startup, as one of the founding editors at TechTarget, and has served as editor of an established news organization focused on technology startups and the Boston-area venture capital sector at MassHighTech. A former crime reporter for the Boston Herald, he majored in journalism at Northeastern University.

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Re: Multiple effects
  • 11/30/2016 4:20:19 AM
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I agree, Michelle. Marketing has made great use of analytics but that doesn't mean it has integrated well with other functions. What it means is that analytics has shown great use in helping marketers meet their targets. And yes, you could see that marketers need no convincing that they need to be data-driven. There's already been, for decades now, a big market research industry. Analytics is a step up.

Re: Multiple effects
  • 11/27/2016 6:18:56 AM
NO RATINGS

@rbaz I suspect marketing still works apart from other divisions even in the age of analytics. Traditional marketing activities rule (I have no scientific data for any of this)

Re: Multiple effects
  • 11/21/2016 9:19:45 PM
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Or at least listening to the dat experts and following the advice that the data leads to.

Re: Multiple effects
  • 11/21/2016 9:18:17 PM
NO RATINGS

And can not really be avoided. Analytics solutions have become central for competitive analysis, and are no long "web" analytics - at least for Google and Adobe. I think we are moving away from just the "insert-name" analytics to just analytics, given the capability of tools now.

Re: Multiple effects
  • 11/21/2016 9:16:43 PM
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Good point about people and good instincts. These days those instincts must be displayed through knowledge of analytic software or programming technique.

Re: Multiple effects
  • 11/18/2016 6:25:40 PM
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The reference to marketing interaction with other departments is huge. We tend to envision marketing as separate and distinct from the rest of the operation. The tools to fully interact and interconnect with all departments cannot be overstated.

Multiple effects
  • 11/15/2016 7:52:44 PM
NO RATINGS

I think analytics has had mulitple effcets on the marketing organization. People with good instincts ued to rise when they predicted trends. Today we can do a lot of this with analytics. But even more profund is use of analytics to measure the results of a campaign- it leaves no place to hide.

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