How to Improve Marketing ROI with Data (Part 2)
6 September 2019
Now that you've implemented marketing tracking tools, from Part 1, you'll need another set of tools for data aggregation and analysis. It's vitally important to keep track of all possible marketing data. Marketing data can include general information on the market and target audiences. The data should also include all leads and opportunities you generate, even if you don't end up connecting or making the sale. To keep track of all that data, you need a system for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and a database for Business Intelligence (BI) Analytics. Additionally, as that database grows, you will likely need to include some tools for big data analytics. Having these tools are vital to breaking down the information you collect to make more informed business decisions.
Data Collection & Aggregation for Improved Decisions
Data collection from your marketing tracking systems need a place to aggregate for analysis. Below is a list of great CRMs; however, make sure to research your options extensively. Some very popular CRMs don't provide significant value for their cost. Make sure your CRM integrates or, better yet, includes the tools and reporting you will need for your data.
Some CRMs rely on third-party apps. These applications are great as they expand functionality and allow you to choose what's essential to your organization. However, they quickly increase your monthly costs. Take a look at some of the tools you plan on using outside of your CRM to make sure they integrate. Focus on the prices of those integrations to understand the actual monthly cost of choosing your CRM. Additionally, some CRMs cost a lot of money to set up and maintain if you aren't well versed in system administration or coding.
Every time you choose any CRM with add ons, you're making it harder and more complicated to change systems in the future. You are locking your team into these choices for quite a while. So make sure you consider all your options before you start or move your organization to a new CRM system. Check out our list of researched CRMs to learn more about their abilities to find a match for your company.
- Zoho CRM
- Freshsales CRM
- BPM Online
- Less Annoying CRM
- Insightly CRM
- Pipedrive CRM
- Apptivo CRM
- Zendesk Sell (formerly Base CRM)
- Pipeline Deals
- NetHunt CRM
- Nutshell CRM
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM
- Agile CRM
- Capsule CRM
- Keap (formerly Infusionsoft)
- Close CRM
Data Analysis for Accurate Marketing Decisions
As your data grows in your CRM or database, the reports and analytics built-in may not be in-depth enough or allow you to gather the right insights. Once you have a large enough dataset, it may be time to consider data analytics tools to help you report on, configure, analyze, and visualize that data. It's not enough to have the information collected if you can't use it to make smarter decisions. These tools will help you see the patterns and focus on areas where your organization succeeds. It can also help show you the gaps in your performance or areas to target where you aren't currently focusing your marketing efforts.
You may notice that some of the CRMs above have specific analytics tools that work with their programs. If you are choosing a CRM that doesn't have native integrations with data analytics tools, don't worry. Many of these tools can organize your data from exported files. Though it is nice to have real-time updates and to cut out any "middlemen" software or processes that might otherwise be necessary. Try to optimize the tools you choose by selecting the ones that provide the majority of your requirements in tandem with supporting software.
- Google Data Studio
- Google BigQuery
- Aqua Data Studio
- Microsoft Azure
- Microsoft Power BI
- Information Builders
- Zoho Analytics
- IBM Cognos Analytics
- IBM SPSS Modeler
- Dundas BI
How to Use These Tools for Business Insights
At this point, you've tracked, aggregated, reported, and analyzed the data. But now you need to gain actionable insights from all the tools you've used. So where do you begin? Ask your team essential but straightforward questions like:
- What are the marketing trends do we see in the data?
- Are there specific marketing channels or locations where our marketing and sales are performing the best? If so, what aspects of that market are significant, and can we find other markets with similar demographics.
- Are specific ads, offers, creative, or copy driving more leads?
- Are the value of those leads better, or are we receiving junk leads that don't convert into genuine sales opportunities?
- When considering the costs of our marketing efforts and the labor each requires, how would we adjust ROI to consider intangible costs that affect profit?
- Can we build a marketing persona based on our most successful clients?
- Once we have that persona, are their other target demographics outside of that specific set of traits?
- Should we focus on those individuals or areas where we don't have enough exposure or try to expand our most successful markets?
- Do we have or have we implemented the right tactics or resources to compete in those markets where we aren't currently succeeding?
Make sure your data exposes the answers to these questions with statistical significance. Otherwise, adjust your tracking, data input, or analytics tools to answer what's most vital to your organization.
Using Data for Better Marketing Strategy and Return on Investment
Once you accurately track, collect, report, and analyze the data, you now have all the information you need to make better decisions for your marketing dollars. There are only a few things to do once you have all the data properly analyzed. You should cancel what's clearly not working. You should attempt to improve the channels with average results by testing more creative, ads, or offers.
Most importantly, you should increase investment in the strongest categories. However, make sure you are consistently tracking, analyzing, and adjusting. Successful marketing channels come and go. Trends build and then fade. Preferences grow and wane. Nothing lasts forever, and additional investment doesn't always yield a similar return on investment.
The Marketing Bell Curve
One of the most important aspects to understand (especially when increasing spend) is that all marketing channels have an ROI bell curve. If all other things remain the same, there is a sweet spot in your spend that provides the maximal return. At that point, decreasing investment will decrease return on investment, but increasing will have a similarly negative impact on return on investment. If you've noticed a drop off in performance after increasing investment in a particular channel, make sure you have given it enough time to normalize after the increase. A sustained lower result long after your average time to close should be adjusted. It could mean you have already achieved your optimal spend for that particular channel (for the time being). You may want to consider going back down to the previous spend levels to maintain a higher ROI. Maintaining the highest ROI is crucial if you are focused on efficiency instead of growth. If you are more focused on growth, another type of analysis is required. In that case, you may want to continue inefficient channels if they are adding new customers and revenue.
Partner with Marketing Data Experts for Optimal Results
As you can see, building, integrating, and optimizing the tools and strategies to improve your marketing results is no longer as simple as creating an ad in the Yellow Pages. The world has grown increasingly complex, but your business decisions don't need to be. Partner with Universal Creative Solutions, and we can implement the best data tools to optimize your marketing return on investment. Contact us for a free consultation on your existing systems or to start from scratch.