How to Build a Marketing Analytics Center of Excellence
Ahead of the Digital Marketing Analytics Summit next week, we caught up with Laura Patterson, President of VisionEdge Marketing, and one of the speakers at the event. Laura, an expert on marketing data and analytics, shared her insights on topics including marketing/sales alignment, Centers of Excellence, and metrics that matter.
“We believe you can use data, analytics, processes, and measurement to improve the decisions your organization makes around product development, go-to-market strategy, customer messaging, customer experience, and more,” she says. “Everything can be positively impacted through use of data and analytics.”
Why data and analytics are important for marketers
Organizations have been gathering data and applying math to that data to make better business decisions for 40 years, says Laura. From decision support to data warehousing, it’s all led to analytics.
Though they’re often discussed in the same context, data and analytics are not the same thing. Data are pieces of information, while analytics are the analysis of that information, used to discern a pattern that provides insights to make better, more strategic business decisions.
Today, businesses need to make more fact-based decisions and to rely less on gut or experience. With the economy now having recovered from the downturn, companies need to think about how they’re going to grow and be competitive. And how are those decisions made? Through data and analytics.
Building a Center of Excellence for analytics
At a high level, Laura defines a Center of Excellence (CoE) as a team or entity that provides leadership, fosters best practices, facilitates research, and enhances the skills needed for a focused area.
She emphasizes that it’s important for marketing to implement a CoE function within their organization, serving as a central hub for marketing knowledge and promoting best practices. By owning this role, marketing can test, optimize, and implement changes to strengthen the business.
Overall, it’s less about doing things based on intuition and more about creating a real, insight-based process that you can repeat, refine, and improve to make better decisions faster, says Laura.
For more on this subject, attend Laura’s webinar, “The Creation, Care, and Feeding of an Analytics Center of Excellence.”
How marketers can support marketing/sales alignment
Both marketing and sales have the same end goal: to make money. So their partnership plays a critical role in helping their company achieve its customer growth and revenue goals. But just talking about revenue is a very inside-out view, says Laura. Instead, the most successful companies focus on the customer and their experiences.
The purpose of marketing is to find, keep, and grow the value of customers. And the purpose of a company is to create a customer, according to Peter Drucker. If that’s the case, then marketing and sales should align around those initiatives.
“All you have to do is agree on which part of the process marketing owns, which part sales owns, and where the handoff occurs,” says Laura. “To be aligned, sales and marketing must rally around the same business outcomes.”
Via VisionEdge Marketing: “Since 2001, our own marketing performance management research consistently reveals that only about a 25% of marketers earn top marks from the C-suite on their ability to prove their value, impact and contribution.”
Communicating marketing’s value to the executive team
The variety of activity metrics marketers can track these days is nearly endless, from website traffic, page visits, tweets, shares, fans, opens, and downloads. While those numbers communicate a great deal to the marketing team about their effort and output, they don’t address the larger business concerns that matter to executives.
“What matters to the C-suite is how far the business needle moved and how marketing contributed to this movement,” says Laura. The most successful marketers in the eyes of the executive team are those who can come to boardroom and talk about the impact of marketing in business terms, such as win rate, category ownership, adoption rate, retention rate, and share of wallet.
For more insights on data, metrics, and building an Analytics Center of Excellence, attend the Digital Marketing Analytics Summit.