One, two, uh…
Over a hundred years ago, the retailer John Wanamaker said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the trouble is I don't know which half.”
Unfortunately, some things don’t change.
Even as more budgets shift to e-commerce and online marketing, marketers are still not taking advantage of the range of measurement tools at their disposal. In the same way that checking fuel economy or speed provides only a rough idea of overall car performance, hit rates and page impressions only take Web analysis so far.
At least marketers know they don’t know as much as they should.
Research for Webtrends, conducted by Loudhouse Research, showed that 65% of managers believe better data analysis would help inform the decisions that drive sales.
“Most marketers know they could do more with the Web data they have to analyze how customers and prospects interact with their brands online,” said Karin von Abrams, eMarketer senior analyst. “But it’s hard to make analytics a priority when budgets are tight and resources already stretched.”
When asked exactly how to close the gap between analysis and action, marketers gave a surprising answer: people.
Around the world, 42% of online marketers said “more knowledgeable staff” and 23% said “more training and awareness.”
Only 6% cited the need for better data analysis programs.
This point of view was borne out by the fact that relatively few marketers rely heavily on analytics. Among the six countries surveyed, only in Australia and the UK did 28% of marketers claim to always use Web analytics. In the other four countries that figure was much lower.
To be fair, taken in the aggregate, between 50% and 80% of marketers in the selected countries did use Web analytics to some extent.
One of the factors moving marketers toward the increased use of analytics is a touch of fear. For instance, 57% of the UK respondents saw Internet marketing as posing a higher risk than traditional marketing—risk being defined as
outcomes harder to predict and a higher chance of failure.
“If almost 60% of UK marketers polled for the survey are worried about unpredictable outcomes, that’s a sure sign that they need better insight into their audience,” said Ms. von Abrams.
It is a risk marketers are taking with or without analytics, as 27% of them felt Internet marketing was a way of overcoming challenges the economic downturn presents.
They also saw challenges in transitioning from offline to online marketing, led by changes in their business processes, customer demands and repositioning.
Of course, the biggest danger may be in not acting on information.
Currently, marketers are more likely to “monitor” than act on or react to Internet data. While 79% of businesses reported capturing Internet traffic information, only 30% of them actually modified their Websites as a result of traffic analysis.
The reported concluded: “Marketing is under enormous pressure to prove its worth to the organization. With significant budgets being ploughed into all things internet, it is critical to know which initiatives are contributing to the bottom line or enhancing the company’s brand.”
Hard to argue with that.
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