Marketing by the Numbers
You run your business by the numbers but marketing analytics seem tougher. Fortunately, three trends are making them easier and more economical:
- They’re migrating to the cloud
- Data can be accessed directly
- Powerful tools are simpler to use
1: They’re Migrating to The Cloud
It wasn’t long ago that a commitment to marketing analytics meant a heavy investment in technology infrastructure. It meant gobs of servers to house the data and costs that quickly grew along with the amount of data you collected. It also meant a commitment to backups and availability, to storage and data management, to database administration and much more.
Now, you’re relieved of all that when you use a cloud-based solution – often referred to as SaaS or Software as a Service. When you migrate to “the cloud”, usually through a vendor offering, you are essentially renting space in massive, secure, scalable and highly-available data center where your data is housed and managed. You connect to it through the Internet.
Cloud-based resources are shared across many customers, as are the associated fixed costs. The result is a much better solution for you at cost efficiencies you’d be hard pressed to match with an in-house alternative.
2: Data Can Be Accessed Directly
Traditionally, to create your marketing analytics database, you extracted the required data from its varied sources, transformed it into the structure required for analytics, and loaded it into your database melding it with data already there and from other sources. Fortunately, this costly, involved process known as ETL (for Extract, Transform and Load) may no longer be necessary for a growing subset of your data.
Increasingly your web and marketing data can be gathered as it is created and stored in a cloud-based solution. When someone visits your site or responds to your online advertising, the information about their actions is immediately captured into your analytics database. Other tools allow you to effectively access information about offline customer behavior in the datastores where it resides instead of employing ETL to move it to your analytics database.
3: Powerful Analysis Tools are Simpler to Use
Recognizing that we are not all experts at SAS and some of the other sophisticated tools that statistical analysts use, vendors have been busy developing more graphical tools that bring powerful analysis and reporting to average business people. The newest generation of tools have standard queries that anticipate typical business needs, generate summary dashboards, and allow automatic scheduling, generation and distribution of custom reports.
While these developments make it easier for you to employ marketing analytics and less expensive for you to do so, successful analytics continues to rely on the accumulation and understanding of the underlying data.