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4 Marketing Buzzwords That Shouldn’t Scare You

Written by Andrew Edwards. Posted in Digital Analytics

Perhaps you’ve noticed certain buzzwords that attempt to define a changing landscape in digital analytics: “big data,” “mobile marketing,” “predictive analytics,” and even a term I coined here in 2012: “convergence analytics.”

Convergence analytics encompasses all of the emerging trends, and you can download the free report about that here.

But somehow you have to navigate the next couple of years as new measurement paradigms mature and become mainstream. Understanding what’s behind the buzz can help.

First, let’s deconstruct some of the buzzwords – it tends to make them less scary. Then after each definition, we’ll add a few notes as to what you can do now to take advantage of what’s really going on.

Buzzwords and What to Do

1. Big data. There really is no such thing. It’s a term used by business journalists and product marketers to create fear and doubt for the digital marketer. Yes, lots of data is being collected. Yes, there are tools that now can analyze multiple streams of data. Yes, you should try to make decisions based on data. But “big data” is not an enterprise in and of itself. It’s just a word for “lots of data” and some of the practices evolving as folks try to utilize that data.

What you should do. Find out what kind of data is being collected within your organization, and how much of that might affect marketing (in a broad sense). Decide what data might help you make decisions and take a look at its current form. Determine if you can use it as-is, or if you need to pull it into a tool you a) already have or b) need to subscribe to that will help you make decisions. The keyword is “decisions.” If you can’t use the data to make any decisions, leave it alone.

2. Mobile marketing. Ask five experts about this and you’ll get five different answers. No one really knows if this is a category yet, or several categories, or what the rules are, or how to win at it. Again, application vendors enjoy talking about “mobile marketing” because they want to sell a tool that some marketers may use to “optimize” their “mobile marketing.” But we haven’t even figured out what success looks like, and on what devices. And if you don’t have a mobile strategy yet, you’re not alone.

What you should do. Decide what platforms matter to you. Do you need to reach people on their smartphones? Or maybe just their tablets? Or both? Do you need an app to deliver the full value of your product or service? Or do you want to deploy adaptive screen technology (e.g., your site looks different depending on the device being used to view it)? Are you advertising to people on their smartphones? Or not? Does your product or service gain any particular relevance by being specially constructed for mobile users? And most importantly, where do your customers convert: on a device or in a browser? If you can start answering these questions, you will have the foundations for what is commonly called “mobile marketing.” The healthy approach is to go through some of the above exercises and then decide if you need a mobile strategy at all. Depending on your business, you may, or you may not!

3. Predictive analytics. It sounds like you should now expect to see into the future and ensure outcomes. Except not. Predictive analytics is essentially a data modeling exercise that looks at historical trends related mostly to campaign ROI and then allows you to review them in a dashboard. Then, in the same dashboard (generally), you can change some of the parameters – chiefly, how much you would spend on a campaign – and then allow the data model to extrapolate that out into the future. So, if you then advance the date range of your report into the future, you can see what your “future ROI” might look like. Often, these predictions turn out to be fairly accurate but there’s certainly no guarantee.

What you should do. If you have a large marketing group that does lots of campaigning, you should certainly be tracking campaign success and trying to determine best outcomes for future campaigns. If you want to automate this somewhat, look for the predictive capabilities already built into your measurement tools. Many digital analytics tools today have some predictive capabilities in them, and often these are overlooked. You may need some help from the vendor or an outside expert getting these capabilities implemented, but the insights can be very useful when properly modeled. Hint: this capability is more commonly included in the existing tools on the market than you might think (because it’s not very complex from a technology point of view).

4 . Convergence analytics. This term defines the confluence of technologies like: multi-channel data collection, powerful algorithms, and sophisticated display layers. The results can be powerful – a little bit like what used to be called “business intelligence” – but with a kinder, gentler approach. And geared specifically for marketers. There are at least 50 and probably more than 50 vendors converging on this space right now: all laying claim to the ability to connect lots of disparate data sources and put them into one dashboard or a series of dashboards.

What you should do. Accept the multi-channel future. Web analytics or any analytics in a silo just won’t make hay anymore. The new paradigm is to mash data together and find correlations. The warning is: beware of false positives. Just because trends look similar doesn’t mean there’s causation between one and another. But there’s no doubt that looking at multi-channel data in an aggregated form can lead to rich insights.



4 Key Facts From Convergence Analytics Showtime at SES NY

Written by Andrew Edwards. Posted in Convergence Analytics

Andrew Edwards | April 8, 2013

On Tuesday, March 26, 2013 we launched “The Dawn of Convergence Analytics” to a packed house. Thanks to ClickZ, Efectyv, my co-Author Rand Schulman, editor Melanie White, and our research associate Ron Labau, the 40-page report was released during our lively session at the SES New York show at the Marriott Marquis.

We were honored to have been joined by Google Analytics executives Adam Singer and Justin Cutroni on our panel. Additional notes of serendipity were piped by the announcement just days earlier of Google’s Universal Analytics tool, which, by all available evidence, is a convergence analytics tool extraordinaire.

The report is sponsored by Anametrix, Tealium, and Rio SEO. All three vendors offer powerful digital measurement tools applicable to a converged environment.

For those who didn’t seen the link at the bottom of every ClickZ article last week, you can download the free Convergence Analytics report here.

1. What is convergence analytics? Convergence analytics is both a class of vendor applications and holistic approach to digital measurement.

The tools combine cloud computing, big data, agile data connectors, sophisticated algorithms, and elegant display layers in order to help marketers gain new insights into the effectiveness of their digital content.

The approach comes from the marketer: wanting to know more about her customers, sooner, and with more dimensions than ever before.

Convergence analytics tools in the market today (many are listed in the report) allow the marketer to make use of this information in ways never before possible.

2. How does convergence analytics affect me? If you are a digital marketer or a vendor to digital marketers, then convergence analytics will change everything. No longer will a single silo of data suffice to say you’ve done the job of analytics. In the new convergence analytics paradigm, “everybody is measuring everything” (so says the report); and that means the inclusion of multiple streams of data formerly kept dark in rather useless silos deep inside the organization.

3. Attribution and lifetime value. During the session last Tuesday, Justin Cutroni said, “Attribution will get a huge lift because of convergence analytics”; and this is indeed the case. One of the most likely outcomes of convergence analytics may be the enhanced ability to trace the customer journey from campaign through conversion and beyond. The “beyond” is often referred to as “lifetime value” or “LTV” and is one of the important metrics tied to convergence.

4. Practices are as important as applications. One of the most important topics at the session was the ways in which convergence analytics applications will be best put to use for the customer. There was clear consensus that success would not be achieved just by signing up for a SaaS application. More than one panelist (myself included) stressed that having a method for deploying convergence analytics applications, and taking action on the data, is as important as having the tools themselves.

For instance, a dashboard is just a display layer. The marketer has to command content changes based on what the data in the dashboard is suggesting. In fact, process is so important that building a proper practice around these tools may be the next opportunity in analytics professional services.

Finally, it’s fair to ask what is the key element in convergence analytics. It’s you. It’s me. It’s us. The people who have to make decisions. Google is working on a self-driving car, but it’s still got some kinks. And analytics doesn’t drive itself either. At least not yet. So slide in behind the wheel and keep your eyes on the road (and the dashboard!).





5 Facts You Need to Know About Convergence Analytics

Written by Andrew Edwards. Posted in Convergence Analytics

In 2012 I suggested that digital analytics had changed in such a way as to merit a new name more reflective of the emerging mix of multi-channel analytics in the digital marketing domain. I called it “convergence analytics.”

Since that time, convergence analytics has taken on a life of its own. Here are the top five facts you should know about it right now:

  1. Convergence analytics will change everything about digital marketing measurement. The practice of measuring desktop browser behavior in isolation will become obsolete. So too, the practice of measuring desktop, mobile, and social without cohort measures. Measurement in the months and years to come will have to include much more than this: including call center data, campaign data, CRM data, demographics, competitive, and even inventory and profit margin information.
  2. A surprising number of vendors are already offering applications capable of connecting a variety of data streams. Some come from the business intelligence space, but as many or more come from web analytics, tag management, cross-domain tracking, social media, or are actually new companies starting with a fresh look at what marketing analytics should be today.
  3. Customers are driving demand for multi-channel measurement, but many are still not making good use of the data. Even as the “big data” buzz has created an increasing awareness of the importance of data generally, the industry still lacks a solid discipline for putting data to work. It will become even more critical to overcome this barrier as data becomes more complex and more important to the organization.
  4. The need for analytics expertise is not going away – in fact, it will increase. As applications access more data from more sources and enable data “mashups” far exceeding the complexity of a former generation of tools, it will become even more important for organizations to obtain domain expertise in data collection, tool deployment, and data analysis.
  5. Convergence analytics is both the definition of a new and exciting marketplace, and a new approach to digital marketing. It’s enabled by a confluence of new technologies and new marketing requirements. The new approach establishes marketing closer to the core of the business – where marketing now “owns” data more thoroughly than any other department; and in some ways the CMO is taking on some aspect of the CIO in this regard.

New Imperatives

We are witnessing the early phases of an important new set of imperatives for marketers: they will have more ownership, more data, more responsibility, more influence, and more accountability. It’s a time where marketing, driven by measurement, becomes much more central to the organization itself. If current trends continue, marketing will be less and less about driving engagement, and more and more about proving ROI for the entire company.

Organizations may or may not accept this; and may elect to create new roles and responsibilities (or reorganize existing roles) to get ahead of the curve. But convergence analytics will, in all likelihood, prove a disruptive force and everyone involved with digital marketing (and beyond) will find themselves needing to adapt.

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