Can marketing exist without analytics?

You can have the best sales pitch in the world, but if you don’t know who your audience is, or what they are looking for, your strategy is based on chance. That means the potential impact of your communication is decreased. Smart, cost-effective marketing is about listening to what a specific person, or group of people, are looking for, then respond­ing to that need or desire, and converting them to a “Yes.” We, as marketers, have to communi­cate with customers on their terms, or risk our content being lost and ignored.

But today’s economic climate also dictates that we spend each marketing dollar wisely. More and more organizations are holding marketing departments accountable for ROI on each cam­paign. Traditionally, that has been a difficult, if not impossible task. The difference today is that you can use analytics to make the results more effective, efficient and responsible.

This isn’t exactly a new idea. What is new, however, is the idea that analytics is greater than technology. You can’t just buy a solution and install it.

Effective analytics requires technology to be coupled with a perspective that continually ad­dresses customers as people, and processes that maintain customer-centricity as the fundamental focus. With these in place, you can really begin to understand your customers, execute market­ing programs against everything that you’ve learned and ultimately enhance your customer’s purchasing experience.

In order to be competitive and demonstrate real value and accountability to the company and your customers, marketers need to develop analytical skills as standard practice. How can you make this happen in your organization? Becoming an analytics-driven organization has to permeate every level of the organiza­tion. The analytics mantra has to start at the CMO’s office — in fact, the entire C-suite. By making this an enterprise-wide effort, you will be able to identify people with the ability to mine the data, and others who can interpret it into actionable insights. By working together, these groups will have a real, measurable impact on your company’s marketing efforts.

Finally, bring in a technology partner that thinks beyond technology. Align your com­pany with an organization that not only offers superior technology, but knows the importance of passion, processes, technology platform, part­nerships and the individual people you’re trying to reach. This is marketing.

Jason McNamara is CMO of Alterian, Inc. Reach him at [email protected].

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