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You're using analytics, but are you covering all the bases?

You're using analytics, but are you covering all the bases?

Marketing analytics are more important to manufacturers than ever before. Here’s what you need to know:

In the second game of a 1946 doubleheader, Cleveland Indians player/manager Lou Boudreau moved all four infielders between first and second base into a bizarre-looking configuration in an attempt to stop Boston Red Sox slugger, Ted Williams, who was a dead pull hitter. Although teams had occasionally repositioned fielders before – away from their "traditional" starting points to the spot the batter was most likely to hit the ball – this moment signified the birth of the modern day baseball shift.

Fast forward 70 years. The Houston Astros went from being the worst team in baseball in 2013, finishing with a 51-111 record, to winning the World Series in 2017. What was the reason for their dramatic turnaround? In a word – analytics. That year, the Astros analyzed player data to determine when to shift, something they did more than any other team in baseball.

Why have so many teams followed suit? Simple. There is more data available than any other time in the 150-year history of professional baseball. Teams are committing significant resources to staffing analytics departments with dozens of employees who interpret data to gain a competitive edge on the field.

Shifts in marketing analytics

Baseball is no different than the business world. Manufacturers use big data for everything from understanding machine utilization to managing their warehouse better. Yet, marketing data is often relegated to a quick mention about website traffic in a management meeting.

Conventional thinking has looked at marketing metrics such as pageviews, email open rates, and social media likes. While these are important indicators, without proper context they’re only part of the story. Sure, they’re nice to know, but how much are they really telling you about the true performance of your marketing?

What matters most is if your marketing is compelling customers to buy your products. To find the answer, pay close attention to these marketing analytics:

1. Engagement – Is your audience interested in your content?

One of a marketer’s main priorities is getting to know their customers and building relationships with them. Engagement is the first step along the customer journey. Social media likes and shares, for example, are great but a better measure of how engaged a visitor is with your content is if they take the time to comment.

2. Cost Per Acquisition – How much are your leads costing?

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is a calculation of the marketing dollars it takes to turn someone into a customer during the period the expense was incurred. The lower the CPA, the more effective your marketing program. To accurately track this, you'll need to commit to documenting your lead sources religiously.

3. Revenue from Marketing Efforts – Is your marketing making you money?

This is where the rubber meets the road. While engagement and leads are good indicators, they’re only part of the story. Tying the dollars generated as a direct result of your marketing is the definitive measure of return on marketing investment.

Start small to generate early analytics wins

All of this can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to get you off on the right foot with your marketing analytics:

Step 1: Set SMART Goals.

Step 2: Identify which data is relevant to your goals and measure it.

Step 3: Review your analytics monthly at a minimum.

Like Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by just watching.” By simply taking the time to be mindful of the right analytics, you’re setting yourself up for marketing success.

MMA-LogoThis article was originally published in the March 2019 issue of the Michigan Manufacturers Association's MiMfg Magazine. Read the article.