Results. The relentless focus on results is what JT McCormick, CEO of Scribe Media and a guest on the Ready, Set, Grow! radio program claims is the number one principle behind achieving growth. A study by Deloitte found that companies embracing and employing analytics make better decisions and are more likely to achieve key strategic initiatives. Nearly all the companies in their study found that analytics play an important role in driving business strategy.  These companies find that analytics delivered by:

• Increasing sales
• Identifying innovation opportunities
• Forecasting financial performers
• Understanding financial drivers

Yet the study finds that Marketing orgs “that marketers are still challenged to maximize the potential value of analytics.” Every CMO we’ve worked with admits how important it is to be able to use analytics for decisions and selecting the right metrics.  As a result, the study suggests that spending on Marketing analytics is expected to increase from a little over 6% of the marketing budget today to about 19% of the budget by 2021.

There are two key areas – customer decisions and performance management – that make the continued investment in analytics capabilities, tools and skills worthwhile. Before we launch into how to use data and analytics for these two critical areas, let’s step back and briefly review the usage of analytics in business.

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Decision Support and Performance Improvement Since the Beginning

As you can see, the fundamental business purpose of the data analytics insights process has remained fairly consistent for over 30 years – to enable smarter decisions and to drive/improve performance.

data timeline figure 1

Figure 1: Created by VisionEdge Marketing, Inc.


How well is Marketing achieving these two purposes? Despite the increasing amount of data and tools, or maybe because of them, Marketers still struggle to make their data relevant to the C-Suite. You may recall that as a result of VisionEdge Marketing’s research since 2001 we are now able to classify Marketing organizations into three primary personas:

  • Value Creators (those who earn the highest marks from the C-Suite)
  • Sales Enablers (the middle of the pack)
  • Campaign Producers (the laggards).

Our research finds that ALL three groups need to improve the ability to use Marketing’s data to improve performance and make Marketing’s data relevant to the business.

Data Ability Satisfaction figure 2

Data Persona figure 3

Relevancy Data figure 4

Source: Cook Up Your Best Marketing Performance

Analytics Make Your Data More Relevant

Your first step once you have quality data is to make it more relevant to your leadership team. Far too much of Marketing’s data is around the activities Marketing performs. The key to making your data relevant is to use it to answer questions that matter to the business decision makers.

In conversations over the years with members of the C-Suite, we’ve learned that nearly

Marketing Data C-Suite Relevant

Make Your Marketing Data Relevant to the C-Suite.

everyone wants to know the answers to these five questions:

  1. Which markets and segments to pursue? How to gain access?
  2. How to best acquire new customers? How to keep existing customers?
  3. Which existing markets and customers should we grow?
  4. What new products should we develop? How do we accelerate adoption?
  5. Which channels create the greatest response lift and engagement?

The answers to these questions will lay the ground work for your personas, messaging, content, and channel decisions. To answer these questions you must venture deeply into the realm of analytics. When you do you can make smarter more strategic decisions and improve results.

Analytics Improve Your Customer Decisions

We live in a data-driven customer-centric environment. Successful use of analytics enables meaningful customer-related decisions that positively affect profitability, targeting, loyalty, and share of wallet.  Here are three ways companies can use analytics to improve customer related decisions:

  1. Incorporate data from a variety of sources. While traditional sources of customer data still dominate, companies are increasing their use of new data sources. Primary new sources include POS, transaction data, and research data. A key tool for every marketer is a data inventory so you can know what data you have, where it is, how frequently it is updated, and who is responsible for maintaining the data.
  2. Build customer-centric models. Many organizations use customer analytics to enhance customer satisfaction.  Customer analytics should provide more than hindsight snapshots of the past. Look for ways to insights from your data to anticipate buyer behavior across all stages of the customer lifecycle. Every Marketing organization should have a library of customer-centric models to help understand and anticipated customer behavior and identify when customers are at risk.
  3. Make a concerted effort to improve analytical skills. Every marketer needs solid analytical skills.  There is an increased demand across all parts of the organization to access to customer data. Access to this information and the skills to analyze it are necessary to  make quick, effective customer decisions.
Improve Business Results with Analytics, marketing, making data

Analytics for Better Customer Related Decisions

Making these decisions will require you to dig into your customer data, structured and unstructured, possibly gather additional data using primary research, and talk with your customers. Start with your customer advisory boards.

Improve Your Performance Management

With integrated analytics and the right tools, such as a dashboard, showcasing the ROI of Marketing has become more achievable. Even so, this continues to be a struggle for many teams. Performance management is about far more than today’s ROI on a campaign. It entails being able to

A conversation with your leadership team that encompasses the questions below will help you achieve the above goals, including fine tuning your metrics.

  1. What are the quantifiable customer-centric business outcomes we need to achieve?
  2. Which of these do you expect Marketing to impact?
  3. How will you know that Marketing accomplished each outcome?

Next Steps

Read the case study Customer and Market Data Provide Marketing and Sales Direction to see how VisionEdge Marketing enabled a Marketing team to gain scientific data and metrics related to buying criteria and how their company and the competition stacked up to that criteria. Our customer says: “We are using this kind of data to help identify new business opportunities and reduce our sales cycle.”

Every organization can refine and expand their  analytical capabilities.  It is fundamental to be able to glean insights from your data that you can put into action. Learn more about to transform data into actionable insights in the white paper, Intuition To Wisdom: Transforming Data Into Models and Actionable Insights.

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