Digital Analytics – From Back Office to Front Page

21 Mar

Analytics have exploded into prominence in the past 15 months. What was once a mysterious statistical discipline understood by few has been elevated as the enabling technology that allows companies to unlock the potential of Big Data. Big Data was everywhereBlackboard in 2012. There was a track devoted to it at the World Economic Forum in January, 2012. In October, the Harvard Business Review had a cover section on Big Data which characterized analytics as sexy and dubbed its leading practitioners Data Scientists. And at Ketchum, we made analytics training mandatory for ALL employees in 2012, a first for our industry.

The digitization of all forms of analog data is at the heart of the Big Data explosion.  From our click behavior online to purchases we make with a loyalty card to places we go in our vehicles, everything is captured as digital data potentially available for analysis. And with the accelerating use of cameras and sensors, the volume of data promises to keep rising for years to come.

For all the talk about Big Data, no one really wants Big Data. They want the insights hidden within the data that only digital analytics can unlock. Probably the hottest area within digital analytics is predictive analytics. Predictive analytics essentially predict how consumers will behave given certain conditions, assumptions and stimuli. This has powerful and tangible benefits to marketing. An Aberdeen Group study published in December 2011 found marketing organizations that applied data mining and statistical modeling to optimize marketing efforts saw as much as a 2X lift from marketing campaigns, a 76% higher click-through-rate and a 73% higher sales lift.

Marketing organizations are seeing the tremendous power and potential of predictive analytics across a broad spectrum of marketing activities. For example:

  • Proactively optimizing marketing campaigns to improve engagement and conversions
  • Identifying customers most likely to switch companies and targeting offers to them designed to keep them as customers
  • Delivering customized offers designed to appeal to a prospect’s specific interests or life situation
  • Predicting which ‘first visit’ customers are most likely to return or not return, and sending offers targeting the ‘not likely to return’ group while avoiding the costs of making offers to those likely to return anyway.

In 2013, we have seen analytics continue to be a mainstream news subject. Analytics is only in the early migration phase from early adopters to mainstream use. Expect this trend to continue and accelerate in the coming years as more marketers discover analytics are a clear path to improving marketing effectiveness, efficiency, and ultimately, the bottom line.

5 Responses to “Digital Analytics – From Back Office to Front Page”

  1. metricsman March 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Thanks…I guess

  2. Bill Paarlberg March 23, 2013 at 6:09 am #

    Great post, Don. It is a sign of the very-much-changed times that data, and its wranglers, are held in high regard. Remember when Bill Clinton was running for office, and everyone was so surprised and/or impressed that he used actual data to back up his claims? We’ve come to expect that sort of evidence now, from everyone who has a point to make. Concerning data and insight: There’s a great article in the recent New Yorker about Purelle hand antiseptic. Right near the end it talks about how hospitals are collecting data on who enters a patient’s room, if they clean their hands, and what infections the patient suffers. And they say, “We put all this together and let the computer figure out who and how an infection is being spread.” The point is, once smart software gets working with the data, we will discover insights that we cannot now anticipate. Fabulous.

  3. metricsman March 25, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    Thanks for stopping by, Bill. I am finding it fascinating that those of us who have long been fond of data are now being joined by so many former right-brainers. It will be interesting to note if more meetings begin with ‘what does the data tell us?’ rather than ‘what do you think?’. Cultural change is a crucial dynamic in my view. -DB @Donbart

  4. Heather Rueschhoff (@HeatherSTL) March 25, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    I agree with Bill: Great post, Don. The age of information is alive and well, with advances in technology connecting the world like never before. We’ve reached a point where there’s almost too much information. And why, I think, understanding big data will be imperative for brands that want to cut through the clutter to reach their target audience.

    Data analysis is a lost art and something few tools and/or companies do well. I think it’s great that some agencies are recognizing the importance of “data and stats” and training their employees. Very smart. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  5. metricsman April 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Thanks for for your comment, Heather, could not agree more. Hope all is well in the 314. -DB

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: