May 29, 2011
The old adage, you can’t control what you can’t measure, resonates loud and clear with marketers. If you don’t measure, you just don’t know, and businesses today cannot afford to be ignorant of their customer needs.
Technology has played a vital role in removing barriers to online measurement. Web analytics enable marketers to better measure and monitor digital campaigns. However, as marketing strives to reach more diverse audiences at the moments that most influence their decisions, the challenge is for businesses to have immediate access to ‘A’ class data (automated, accurate, aggregated, accessible, auditable, available) at every digital touchpoint along the consumer decision journey. That challenge is made even more difficult by the disconnect between those responsible for creating campaign content and those interested in measuring digital success. So what steps are being taken to close this gap?
Marketers turn to analytics get answers to questions about how well their digital campaigns are performing. In web analytics, metrics are the questions marketers ask about events or trends occurring across their digital properties. For example,
- How many registrations were there last week?
- Where are people downloading our white papers from?
- How many mobile visitors viewed video content?
As sites strive to be more conversational in nature to better engage with their prospects and customers, the frequency of content changes steadily increases. More content is being generated along multiple channels involving numerous groups of people in the decision making process. All this analytics data for reporting on frequently changing site content and consumer behaviour needs to be captured and analysed. This used to be a simple matter of:
- 1. Create campaign content.
2. Annotate campaign content with analytics.
No more. Nowadays, content management systems (CMS) are being deployed to simplify the content publishing flows. To better manage the content. To ensure that the business delivers the right message, to the right people at the right time. In order to do this the CMS needs to provide tools to effectively segment users and target content at them. As a result, the analytics tools and the CMS both perform segmentation and targeting. Both have their own classification and tagging schemes. Both have their own ways of defining a user profile. Approaching this from the analytics perspective, their tools have also become more sophisticated in nature and have sought to manage increasing amounts of campaign content. These functional and data overlaps present difficult questions to the marketing team:
- Which tool is the master?
- Is there a need for master if they are deemed peers?
- If segments are defined within the CMS, how are these reported to the analytics tools?
- If segments are defined within the analytics tool, how are these made available within the CMS?
- How do we make more sophisticated analytics available at the point of content creation?
- What do we do if more than one analytics tool is used?
Baked in Analytics
When the CMS and analytics tools integrate their synergy can bring great benefits. This is baked in analytics. Here, measurement can be applied at the point of content creation. The aim is reduce the effort to plan, create and execute campaigns that continually measure and monitor ongoing success. More importantly, to do so in a way that keeps marketing in marketing and lowers the level of IT involvement required to manage digital campaigns.
Sitecore OMS is a leading CMS vendor that is already long way down this road. Having made analytics a core part of their publishing model, measurement has become “a natural extension of what content editors do when developing new content”. Adobe is another. With the recent acquisition of the Day CQ CMS, Adobe have paired CQ up with the massively powerful Omniture online marketing suite. This again has served to bring analytics a step closer to where the content really lives. But more importantly in a format that is both relevant and understandable by those producing campaign content.
Today, planning a multi-channel, multi-lingual, marketing campaign that is integrated across both offline and online media is hard enough. But to execute it with multiple agencies, departments and disciplines with demonstrable ROI requires a solution that makes life easier for all involved. A technology platform that bakes in analytics, is looking to:
- Reduce campaign code management headaches.
- Produce and make accessible real-time data to support/refute campaign assumptions.
- Promote a fail fast, get results, continuous improvement approach to campaign execution.
- Make measurement a simple step in campaign management.
- Bring consistency and simplicity to the control/facilitation of online conversations about your content.
This is the beginning. Baked in analytics is a trend that is gaining traction. First among CMS vendors but increasing with other channel solution providers that deal in content, such as mobile, email and social media.
How do you build measurement into your integrated digital campaigns? Do you have a baked in analytics solution? Is it home grown? Do you even need one?