There are two general ways marketers tend to use analytics. The first way is the most obvious and common use, which is how marketers use Google Analytics to understand what visitors are doing when they visit to their organization’s website.
The other—more effective—way is to use scoring algorithms that help you identify consumers who will be most likely to convert, in a measurable way, to identify what can be done differently with those consumers.
How to be a better marketer
The key to being a better marketer here lies in how you use that scoring. If you use predictive analytics just to keep score, you will not become a better marketer. If you use them as a guide on how to play the game, you will. “Predicting the past” is a pointless concept but, it is what most marketers do.
It’s easy to convince yourself you are using predictive analytics to play the game better, but many marketers are really only using them to keep score. A metric like “time on site” is great data to have, but, not in and of itself. What matters, is analyzing the data and using that analysis to determine what you can do to improve that time on site metric.
Where you need to keep your focus is on the fact that we are talking about predictive analytics. You need to use these data to analyze what your leads look like and understand which consumers come to your site. But, most importantly, you need to look at what happened and why so that you can determine what you can do to improve things. Leverage the data to determine which are your best lead sources, and then decide how to spend your money more intelligently.
With predictive analytics, you need to take that data and readjust to become a better marketer. Focus on things that are not just parlor tricks but those which will help change the way you play. Just keeping score is spray and pray mentality. The better way is actually aiming intelligently with guidance.
Think of it this way…I’m selling widgets. It’s not interesting just to see that Consumer X came to my site and bought more widgets. What is interesting are things like:
- What makes a consumer a widget buyer?
- Where do I find widget buyers?
- How do I convert more widget buyers into customers?
If you understand what consumers are interested in and where they are in their decision making process, you are enabled to message more intelligently and effectively to them.
Imagine a consumer walks into a store with a baby in her arms. You may assume she’s there to buy diapers and formula, because she certainly looks like a consumer most likely to purchase those items. So, she’s who you market to—the parent. But, one of the most overlooked target segments is the grandparent. If you knew that the grandparent is the real buyer of these products, you might change your marketing campaigns.
When you have access to predictive analytics, you learn that you need to target those grandparents and market to them more on Pampers than you do on Depends. When your analytics give you insights that are not obvious, that is when you will experience the most powerful insights. With analytics, you can see things you might not understand at first assumption.
How to be a bad marketer
In Florida, when a hurricane starts to bear down on the Sunshine State, many stores put their generators on display at the entrance. But, if you understand the consumer journey, you know to put out all your flashlights, batteries, and pop-tarts at the front of the store instead of your generators.
Why? Because consumers don’t typically purchase generators as an impulse buy. A generator, being a relatively big-ticket item (costing anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars), is a more considered purchase. After the hurricane hits and leaves the consumer without power for a day or a few, they realize a generator would be a great thing to purchase before the next hurricane season. Then they take some time and do research. Finally, they buy their generator sometime before the next hurricane season, once they feel confident about which one is the best buy for their needs.
If you look at the data and understand the journey, you will learn these kinds of things about the consumer’s intent. And when you have these kinds of informative insights, you can make sharper decisions about how to market to your consumers successfully through the stages of their buying journey.