How data analytics is solving enterprise problems
Vlada Malysheva, Creative Writer @ OWOX
In today’s era of digital everything — entertainment, business, commerce — there’s no way for big companies to survive without using data analytics. From optimizing performance to discovering new growth zones, data insights are there to improve your business.
With the right data-driven solutions, everything should be possible. However, according to recent research by Gartner, marketing analytics can fail to meet business expectations. Let’s see what the typical data analytics challenges are, what can be done for enterprises to effectively use marketing analytics, and how marketers can meet new business needs and shifts in customer behavior.
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Main challenges of marketing analytics
As marketing analytics remains a top area of investment (in a 2020 survey by Gartner, 73% of respondents planned to increase their budgets), enterprises have to be able to answer the most important question about how using analytics can benefit their companies and what challenges there might be on the way to success.
It’s pretty straightforward when talking about the advantages of analytics. A well-designed marketing analytics ecosystem helps reduce costs, increase profits, and find potential growth zones. But the devil’s in the details, so let’s discuss what the difficulties are.
One of the biggest and most significant challenges in working with analytics remains successfully applying captured insights. According to Gartner’s research, more than half of marketing executives are dissatisfied with the results of utilizing analytics.
The most crucial problem is that marketers can’t use data as they want to. Another problem lies in the time to value metric. Whereas small pirate barques can deftly maneuver in a storm, heavy galleons spend a lot of time on a simple turn. Usually, enterprises have slow workflows. Marketers end up waiting too long to get answers when there are lots of questions on the list. Let’s see what other challenges await marketers in the mountainous sea of marketing analytics.
Businesses always face problems, and with so many unpredictable events in the past year and a half (hello, pandemic), brands have had to remain flexible and quickly adapt to challenges as they arise. Let’s look at what marketing challenges businesses, regardless of their size, most often encounter.
Too much data
As enterprises collect huge volumes of data, it’s a significant challenge to cope with data scaling, harnessing data to improve performance and find key insights as quickly as possible.
With the rapidly growing digital presence of businesses, marketers are often overwhelmed by the vast amounts of data gathered. As it takes from six to eight touchpoints to guarantee a result (a conversion), marketers have to reach out to potential customers using as many channels as possible. And due to technology, the global media landscape is more diversified than ever.
The problem is that marketers have to collect data from all channels. After all, 61% of customers expect a personalized approach backed by data so companies can provide precise recommendations on the products or services they need.
Making full use of user behavior data is the holy grail of every marketer. Marketers write content for blogs, create PR campaigns, buy promotions from bloggers on social networks (Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, etc.), run Facebook remarketing and search ads, send emails, and show ads in mobile applications. But that doesn’t provide all the data they need: they also need sales data stored in the CRM system. To perform efficiently, marketers need to build reports based on this data orchestra to get the whole picture of what’s going on. With all this data in hand, it shouldn’t be that hard for enterprise businesses — or should it?
Steps in efficient data organization include:
- Defining all marketing data sources (websites, advertising services, email, call tracking services, CRM systems, etc.)
- Collecting data in one place from disparate systems and services (we recommend using Google BigQuery, as it’s currently the best option for marketers)
- Processing and normalizing gathered data (the structure and format of data isn’t the same across all data sources)
- Blending data to build reports
Poor data quality
Poor data quality is a big part of why analytics doesn’t provide the expected business value. As can be seen from the Gartner report mentioned above, this is why marketers don’t trust obtained insights.
Making decisions based on inaccurate data leads to a loss of revenue, and for big companies, it means a nightmare. In fact, marketers waste 21% of their marketing budgets due to bad data. When your advertising budget is billions, 21% is a substantial loss.
Data processing and normalization addresses problems result in data being:
Collecting and blending data and preparing it for reporting isn’t as simple as it seems. At each stage, various difficulties appear that need to be taken into account: not all data was collected, the advertising service API didn’t work, data is in different formats, there are errors in UTM tags, ad costs are in different currencies, data isn’t updated, etc. Complete and high-quality data is the basis of marketing analytics, and collecting this data is a crucial step in your workflow.
To ensure data reliability, you need to do everything automatically and reduce the use of SQL queries and various scripts. The larger the company, the more scripts there are. A massive number of confusing requests simply cannot be managed (and often breaks). Such a situation hits enterprises hard because of the vast amounts of unstructured data that marketers collect each day of the week. Even the smallest discrepancy in data can lead to big revenue losses.
Effective marketing analytics starts with quality data. In this article, we explain how to use OWOX BI to collect complete user behavior data from your website and complete cost data from advertising services at minimal cost.
With the proper data insights, marketers can handle a truly sophisticated marketing machine: execute successful strategies, optimize performance, prove the value of marketing to the business, efficiently navigate the changing marketing landscape, etc. Relevant insights are true magic and big money when it comes to enterprises.
Unfortunately, according to surveys, 84% of marketers have difficulty accessing data and insights, whereas 86% think they need better tools for getting insights. How did it come to be that marketing analytics isn’t suited for marketers?
The current approach to working with data isn’t optimal for marketers, who most often cannot build reports on their own because it’s too complicated. To get answers to questions, they have to set tasks for analysts and wait for reports (at least three iterations per new dashboard). Why is this so? Until you get an answer to your first question, you don’t know what your second should be.
As a result, 67% of those surveyed don’t feel confident while accessing or using data tools and get unactionable and unclear recommendations. In today’s changing, always-on digital world, it’s an exorbitant luxury for businesses to be dependent on decisions based on inaccurate data insights.
With an accelerated transition to online marketing (thanks to the pandemic) and an increase in marketing budgets for digital promotion, marketers increasingly have to prove their value. However, analysts are often busy, and most marketers don’t know how to build reports on raw data by themselves. Let’s see why it’s so crucial for marketers to be able to create various reports using a large number of data sources — and to do it on their own.
Dashboards are a dead end
Getting a perfect reporting system is a basic necessity for big enterprises, as they have to link marketing performance to business outcomes. Until recently, if you wanted an excellent report, you created a dashboard system and were happy. What happened, and why did static dashboards stop delivering the promised business value?
First of all, business users are different. A CMO, PPC, SEO, and content marketer need totally different reports, as they work with different contexts, while static dashboards provide a one-size-fits-all approach. All marketing specialists have lots of questions to answer, and they cannot wait days for reports to be built.
Secondly, preparing reports takes a lot of time and resources. Usually, it takes three iterations, an average of 4,5 days, and $18,000 to build an additional report on demand. And the problem is that marketers need lots of ad hoc reports. With the fast-evolving, shifting market, it’s impossible to go beyond the scope of marketing when all you have is a bunch of predefined dashboards. Modern enterprises can’t afford to lose days while implementing decisions.
Last but not least, the complexity of analytics tools makes it unrealistic for business users to benefit from them. It’s not their fault, as these tools were never designed to be used by them. And that’s the point where modern cloud solutions with easy-to-apply ad hoc reporting functionality step in.
What is ad hoc reporting?
Unlike traditional static dashboards, ad hoc reports are dynamic and built on real-time data as needed.
With huge amounts of real-time data, it’s only logical to use new services such as OWOX BI that can automate data collection and integration, regardless of data volume or data source. These platforms provide marketers with relevant and up-to-date data insights that help them accomplish their marketing and business goals.
Moreover, ad hoc reports built with the help of OWOX BI Smart Data can be created without SQL knowledge and are indispensable when answering questions such as What efforts worked out? and Where should we invest to earn more?
With an ongoing pandemic, growing online competition, and decreasing marketing budgets, it becomes challenging for marketers to constantly prove that all their activities bring the company tangible profit. In this article, we consider what marketers can do to improve their reporting.
Important! With upcoming global changes in the marketing world, don’t forget about these crucial factors that influence marketing reporting:
- Accelerated digital business transformation. Digital transformation is happening so fast that there’s not enough time to adapt. As a result, you can quickly become an outsider.
- Changes in the rules for collecting third-party data. Soon, the way you can use third-party data will change significantly, and existing approaches will cease to work.
- A completely new version of Google Analytics. A new data structure and a new approach to analytics means Google Analytics 4 will break all existing customized day-to-day reports.
Let’s see what can be done with the new BI tools to reimagine how data is used in marketing.
Shift to a value-added tool: OWOX BI Smart Data
Businesses improve decision-making by utilizing advanced analytics and, as a result, bring in more income. That’s what all marketers are looking for. However, as time goes on, the more reports are built and the more complicated the entire ecosystem becomes, especially when we’re talking about enterprise businesses. And when something becomes too complicated, it also breaks down too easily. It’s like with Jenga: if you pull out the wrong block (delete or change one wrong data table), everything will collapse in the end, as your SQL queries will get totally messed up.
This problem is the cherry on top of all the difficulties in marketing reporting that we’ve already mentioned. Fortunately, there’s still light at the end of the tunnel. The key is an automated workflow with services that allow marketers to work with data on their own with no need to learn SQL.
Marketers should be able to build ad hoc reports on their own using raw data that can be trusted, is complete, and is updated so it contains no errors. This means you don’t have to wait weeks for an analyst to build a report for you (and analysts can be engaged in more valuable work). It’s called the new reporting flow!
OWOX BI Smart Data is a service designed specifically for marketing reporting needs. With its thoughtful approach, marketing and management specialists can quickly and effortlessly make management decisions and receive as many ad hoc reports as needed (including cohort analysis). How does Smart Data work this magic?
OWOX BI Smart Data democratizes access to data for all users, regardless of their technical background. There’s no need to learn SQL or wait impatiently for an analyst’s free time, as Smart Data allows you to create a report by selecting parameters and metrics or choosing a template. Also, you don’t have to think about blending and cleaning data, calculating metrics, and so on, as the service does everything for you according to your business model.
What are the steps to start working with OWOX BI Smart Data and get valuable insights?
Step 1. Collect all your marketing data in Google BigQuery with the help of a data connector.
Step 2. At the beginning, you’ll need the help of OWOX analysts or your own to build your company’s data model, but you only need to do this once.
Step 3. Select the parameters and metrics you want to see in your report and get a ready report in a couple of minutes on ecommerce marketing performance, the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, ROPO, cohort analysis, etc.
Important! With Smart Data, reports won’t break if changes are made to datasets. The new data structure in Google Analytics 4 cannot ruin your reports in Smart Data!
The magic of OWOX BI Smart Data works for both analysts and marketers. There’s no need for analysts to write complicated SQL queries, whereas marketers can get different versions of ad hoc reports that they need right away. Book a free demo of OWOX BI Smart Data to see how your data can work for you!
Big companies often struggle with getting valuable insights from the tremendous amount of data they gather. Poor data quality, slow workflows, and inaccurate reporting can cost businesses millions of dollars.
However, all these challenges can be overcome with an advanced analytics ecosystem based on modern cloud technologies. Unlock the potential hidden in your marketing data and improve your decision-making.