It’s Tough to be Data-Driven Without Data

Truly optimized digital marketing takes data—lots of data. Without high quality data to provide the necessary insights into marketing efforts, it’s difficult to link activities directly to bottom line changes. This isn’t news, of course— in 2012 most marketers strive to be as data-driven as possible.

What is news, however, is how much marketers are struggling to measure their digital initiatives. According to a recent study by the Columbia Business School and the New York chapter of the American Marketing Association, the desire to make decisions based on numbers isn’t matched by actual efforts from marketers to collect the necessary data. The study found that only 14% of marketers using social networks are tying them to financial metrics, and only 17% of those using mobile ads are connecting them to financial metrics despite the facts showing the success of driving sales with mobile marketing. Less than half (41%) of email marketers measure their results with financial metrics.

The study also found significant confusion about how marketers think of ROI. 31% said that measuring the audience reach counts as “marketing ROI,” and 57% aren’t basing their marketing budgets on any ROI analysis whatsoever. And yet 70% of the marketers surveyed say that their marketing campaigns are under greater scrutiny than ever before.

The lesson here is clear: Words don’t mean much if you can’t back them up with measurable results. It’s not surprising that marketers are feeling the pressure—“data-driven marketing” is just a buzz term unless you have the data and the analysis process to put it into practice. The best marketers know that success means a tangible boost to the bottom line. Smart agencies are collecting the necessary data at every step of the digital marketing process to make real-time decisions and tie digital efforts directly to sales.

How is your solution using data to optimize digital marketing?