Complete Guide To Planning The Perfect Marketing Analysis

Complete Guide To Planning The Perfect Marketing Analysis

Even before we begin planning our analysis, it’s important to keep in mind that the final result of a good analysis is not the result of one brief stroke of genius.

Instead, a good analysis is the byproduct of a painful and labor intensive process.

By the end of this article you will take away five important steps which will help you in preparing for the rest of your analytical journey.

These 5 steps can be categorized as follows:

 

5-steps-for-preparing-the-perfect-marketing-analysis

5 steps for preparing the perfect marketing analysis

  1. There are five primary business objectives that your analysis can address, and choosing one of them is very important.
  2. The key question you are addressing for analyzing the particular data needs to tie back into those 5 business objectives. 
  3. A framework like CDJ (Consumer Decision Journey) produced by McKinsey is very helpful in categorizing and answering those key questions. 
  4. Once you understand where you’re going to direct your analysis, there are several tools available to help you in conducting it.
  5. Finally, documenting your plan is critically important for a long term success.
This is the overall layout which we explore throughout this article.

1. Five Primary Business Objectives

There are five marketing objectives that your analysis can address.

 

five-primary-business-objectives

Five Primary Business Objectives

 

You need to select only one of these five before proceeding any further – which is very critical for conducting a successful analysis.

Even though your company may have multiple problems across many of these different objectives, but the analysis that you conduct can only be focused only on one of them.

Whether your goal is to build awareness, influence consideration, improve sales process, re-position your brand, or grow loyalty – all of these objectives are mutually exclusive, there is no real overlap between them.

And they really do cover the whole range of marketing challenges that an organization can have.

You will notice that growing sales is not on this list because that is not a marketing objective. Growing sales for an organization is an outcome of successfully addressing one of these marketing challenges.

So you may ask, how do I determine whether my organization struggles with one of these different challenges?

 

2. Key Questions Tying Back Into Business Objectives

Well, there are some simple questions that you can ask of these individual business objectives.

Build Awareness:

Do consumers recall and recognize my brand?

If they don’t, it means your brand has a problem with this business objective and you need to work on building your awareness up.

Influence Consideration:

Do the products that I have satisfy consumer’s needs?

If they don’t, it means consumers are choosing other products and you need to implement a better way to drive consumers to your products.

Improve Sales Process:

Do my sales efforts result in wins for my brand? 

If they don’t, there are probably hiccups or problems along your sales process that is causing issues.

And improving sales process doesn’t mean improving advertising. It’s rather about what you are doing at the shelf, whether you are winning or not?

For an e-commerce platform, once someone reaches the checkout process, are they completing it or do you have a large cart abandonment?

Is there something in that process that is preventing them from becoming a customer?

Depending upon the answers to these questions, you can tell if your brand needs to improve its sales process.

Re-position The Brand:

Do the experiences I deliver fulfill customer expectations? 

If they don’t, you either need to create products or set the expectations in consumers’ mind that your products or the brand that you promote, do actually fulfill their needs.

Grow Loyalty:

Do consumers advocate for my brand?

If consumers don’t advocate for your brand, then loyalty is probably the issue.

Now, these are the primary marketing objectives that organizations have and very few are able to address all of these correctly.

Not because an organization might have more than one problem, but because they try to analyze and tackle more than one objective.

As mentioned before, it will be critically important for you to find and settle on a single objective, because if you’re trying to chase too many, your analysis is not going to be impactful.

You’re going to get lost down that road!

3. Primary Categories of Marketing Analysis

Once we are done with deciding our primary business objective and key question tying back to it, we can now determine under which marketing analysis category does our situation falls in.

A great framework to help in determining that is the CDJ (Consumer Decision Journey) produced by McKinsey.

stage-1

Let’s talk a little bit about how that works.

Everything begins with a trigger, either a customer sees an advertisement and goes wow, or they simply runs out of a product that they already have.

Following that is the process of active evaluation. It’s when consumers are collecting lot of information to evaluate the different product choices and brands.

The next step is the moment of purchase when a consumer is standing in the retail outlet – sees different products and has to make a choice.

After the moment of purchase, there is the post-purchase experience.

Then you’ve got a loyalty loop – place where every brand aspires to be. It’s basically a shortcut of the entire consumer’s decision journey.

If I am an advocate of iPhone, I’ll go to the nearest Apple store or place an order on Amazon for a new iPhone.

I’ll jump in that loyalty loop and avoid the possibility of buying some other brand’s product entirely.

This is the framework through which we can categorize the key questions of our marketing analysis.

stage-2

You can notice the only one stage that is left out here is the trigger stage.

At the trigger, brands aim to gain awareness about consumer needs. Even though it’s vital for the success of any sort of brand, it is not necessarily a marketing challenge.

It’s more like that you don’t have the depth of understanding about your customers.

Now, for each of these different objectives and questions, a different analysis technique can be applied to gain insights from the data.

stage-3

For trigger stage, clickstream analysis can be very important to see how consumers are moving around your website, where they’re going, what’s important to them and what is not.

At initial consideration data set, great insights can be gained by performing a competitive intelligence analysis.

Doing experimentation and testing is a good technique for active evaluation stage. Putting things into the market and pulling them out, then observing what the response is – AB testing where you offer two different choices to consumer and see which one wins.

Outcomes Analysis is a fantastic analytical approach for the moment of purchase. Which factors led to the purchase, or which ones caused the customer to abandon the purchase? Which factors caused them to go elsewhere?

Voice of the customer surveys are great ways to get insights into post-purchase experiences as well as collecting data around brand advocacy. Are consumers advocating for my brand?

A survey is a great analysis technique to learn more about your customer loyalty and their experience with your products.

4. Tools Available For Each Category

Tools that we have available to us are many and here’s my recommendation of some of the more prominent ones that are either low cost or completely free.

  • Clickstream Analysis: Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, Piwik.
  • Outcomes Analysis: Mongoose Metrics(DialogueTech) and LivePerson.
  • Voice of Customer Survey: Google Consumer Survey, Qualaroo.
  • Experimentation/Testing: Optimizely, AdWords Campaign Experiments and Google Website Optimizer.
  • Competitive Intelligence: Google Trends, Google Correlate, AdWords Keyword Planner.

By now you should be able to clearly see how we’re kind of layering in and building together the objectives, key questions that we need to answer on these objectives, and the tools that are available for the various analysis techniques.

But the most important thing to do is documenting all that so you’ve got laid out so far.

5. Documenting The Whole Plan

So, let’s walk through a quick example on how to do that. The documentation needs not to be fancy, just has to be simple and complete.

You want to document your business objective, tie that to a key question, and then identify data and sources.

So let’s take ‘Grow Loyalty’ as our example objective, here is what your document might look like.

One of the questions that we’ll want to ask then is, how has consumer interest in our brand trended over time?

Has it gone up or down? How have we been performing in terms of interest, which is a clear indicator of loyalty.

Now, this is your chance as a marketing analyst to get creative.

In this example we will use ‘Search Volume’ using Google Trends, which is an indication of interest. More search volume means more people interested in the brand.

Then we’ll also use our customer inquiries from our customer service representative database. Why is the consumer calling, did they want more product information?

The second key question we can ask is, what consumer group is our strongest advocate?

And to answer this we’ll want to look at a segmentation study that we already have. This study takes the different consumers that we market to and breaks them into discrete groups.

If we take Twitter as an example, then we can tie this segmentation study to Twitter usage statistics using Twitter API, to see which of these groups have tweeted out the most about our brand.

But Twitter is not going to tell us which of their Twitter accounts line up to which of our consumer segments.

So we’re going to be clever marketers and use hashtags in some way to tie people to different consumer segments.

Maybe we had them vote on what flavor they liked of our product – flavor being our segmentation method.

Third question would be, which marketing programs have grown advocacy for us?

And here we can use a couple of sources.

We’ll use our company website, which has the calendar of campaigns that we’ve run.

Again we must have been clever marketers, and probably asked consumers to use hashtags around those different campaigns.

Then we can check websites like Keyhole, which can provide for us the hashtag usage so that we can get a sense of the relative volume of Twitter activity that each campaign has created.

With this document in hand, we are ready to start out and identify the data sources and collect the data out of those sources – then conduct some analysis to answer our key questions.

Without this important document, we would be heading off on to a journey without a map.

And as you know, those never end well.

Let’s Wrap This Up

We covered up a lot of ground on this topic – talked about a lot of things.

So here’s an Infographic which boils down all the five steps of your data analysis plan. You can use it to recall the entire process.

Download this before you start off with your data collection and analysis journey.

Download Infographic for Planning The Perfect Marketing Data Analysis

Impact of Digital on Marketing and How the Geeks Took Over

Impact of Digital on Marketing and How the Geeks Took Over

Going back twenty years from now we can divide the age of internet into four digital epochs.

Since the purchase of the first banner ad by AT&T on hotwire.com, up until now: the age of unicorns.

Unicorn is a term which describes tech startups with the evaluation of $1 billion.

Neither Google nor Amazon was ever worth $1 billion as a private company but we’re at a point where we have herds of unicorns – startups having the magical $1 billion valuation before going public.

It’s the digital epoch of prosperity.

After tracing the Internet age, it’s interesting to look at marketing over this period of 20 years, especially the year 2005 after the bubble and the burst but before Facebook had taken roots.

Proctor & Gamble came out with a three step marketing model and called it The First Moment of Truth.

This model proposed that the consumer needs some sort of stimulus.

It can either be an ad or something that triggers a need to have a certain product.

Maybe they run out of product, maybe they hear about another through their social network – but the stimulus happens.

Next step involves the first moment of truth where consumers find themselves in the market with a number of different options and they must choose.

According to P&G this is the real battleground where brands have to fight for attention and get themselves noticed over the others.

And the second moment of truth happens after a consumer makes a purchase decision and gets home with the product. Does the product live up to its expectations? This experience is vital, both for the consumer as well as the brand.

This model of marketing was coined in 2005 but the world is not quite the same as it was back then.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

This is right around the time that P&G has released its theory.

It describes the consumer behavior at the installation of Pope Benedict in Rome in St Peter’s Square.

Then eight short years later, the same place in 2013 at the installation of Pope Francis, you can notice the dramatic change in consumer behavior.

All due to the mobile technology which exploded during this time.

Our devices became so much more powerful every single year and got smaller and smaller.

They became a vital part of our lives – forever changing our shopping experience.

It became possible for consumers to gain access to any kind of product information or nearly any person they wanted to connect with.

This is the reason why Google introduced the idea of ZMOT in 2011, The Zero Moment of Truth.

Zero Moment of Truth is the time between stimulus and the first moment of truth when consumers are collecting information about the brands, doing evaluations, checking their social network to see how they feel about certain products.

They are also leaving behind a trail of online data while collecting these inputs.

 

 

The studies conducted by Google in 2011 determined the new buyer’s journey:

  • 50 percent of shoppers used a search engine to research a product or brand.
  • 38 percent comparison shopped online (reviews, prices and so on).
  • 36 percent checked out the brand/manufacturer’s website.
  • 31 percent read online endorsements, reviews or recommendations.

Follow up study of 2014 suggested that approximately one-third of all CPG(Consumer Packaged Goods) searches now originate from smartphones.

When consumers are moving around to different websites and social media channels, it’s an important time to understand them so they can still be moved in their decision.

Consumers are producing and exposing a vast amount of data about themselves.

Not exactly a neat picture though, it’s messy all the way through from receiving a stimulus till the point of purchase.

Eventually more marketers in the meeting rooms started asking the question – what is the data telling us?

This is the moment where the true impact of digital can be observed and digital marketing really kicks in.

 

Facebook’s success as one of the biggest companies in the world is built entirely around the extraction of consumer data.

We gladly offered our information and invested our precious time on it.

Now if I say Facebook knows more about us than our friends and family, it wouldn’t be wrong.

No other platform probably has as much consumer data as Facebook.

They use it to full effect by targeting specific ads at millions of users everyday while offering Facebook Analytics to track consumer behavior on the social network.

Google is yet another giant.

It’s dominating the internet with tools like Google Adwords, Google Analytics and many more – providing marketers the ability to track behavior online and subsequently targeting consumers throughout their journey.

But operating these tools in an efficient manner requires an analyst(geek) who can collect information from this data and draw some sort of conclusions.

The dominant strategic forces within marketing started sharing the power of decision making with geeks.

Characteristics of a geek:

  • A geek is someone who is obsessed with data and excel sheets.
  • Someone who regularly seeks and tries to understand patterns in everything related to consumer behavior, business events and marketing programs.
  • He knows buls*** when he sees one and calls it for what it is.

This is how the geeks took over a field which was traditionally driven by big creative personalities.

Content Marketing: You Learn From The Best

Content Marketing: You Learn From The Best

Content has been ever-present but marketing has been about interruption in recent times. They interrupt you while you’re watching a TV or reading a magazine – and the bane of a good mood, those irrelevant company calls.

At first these desperate attempts were good at gaining attention, but what did the brands do with it once they were successful? It just hung there like the advertisements.

Earlier we had few channels and limited source of information. Now it’s an age where science and art are fused in a single honey: content and internet.

There are billions of people online and numerous sources of information. In a crazy and loud market like this quality is the only thing that can differentiate you.

The veil of illusion has been lifted off and people know when they’re being marketed to. Nobody cares about your product – people are trying to solve their own problems.

This direct situation opens up a new dimension for marketing. You don’t need to get through your customers, they’re already open to you.

But the moment you talk about your brand they’ll shut you out. Like a decent human being, your product has to be about more than just itself.

Trust is earned by sharing stories and our job is to uphold that trust. Your story should hold a promise of something valuable, and you need to deliver on that value.

John Deere's The Furrow

Along with the content – content marketing has also been there forever. The first ads really were the content offering value and solution. At some point we got sidetracked and started to talk about ourselves instead of connecting with customers.

If not the oldest, one of the best examples of content marketing is John Deere’s magazine The Furrow.

John Deere is an American manufacturer of agricultural equipment. Its magazine, The Furrow provides information to farmers on how to turn more profit.

Articles in The Furrow are neutral to the point where you may wonder whether this is really John Deere’s magazine. It recognized the need for customers to have an unbiased source of information. Anything that farmers can use to improve their operations makes it into The Furrow.

If you look at the entire history of the magazine, you’ll not find the words “John Deere” mentioned more than around 20 times and that’s going back about 120 years.

Procter & Gamble are yet another example of brilliant content marketing strategy. Imagine a soap company trying to sell more soap, how’re they going to do it?

They asked questions like ‘who are we targeting?’ Women! ‘What are their problems?’ They’re trying to build a household, their life is hectic and lacks entertainment.

So when they’re taking a break why not give them something they can relate to, narratives and characters that are meaningful to these individuals. It will be so immersive, they’re going to come back tomorrow.

This is how the “soap operas” came into existence. Procter & Gamble hired production houses to hire actors and writers, and then never interfered or put any directives. They let artists do their best to create something authentic.

They didn’t try and sell their story – they simply chose to tell their story.

Business Unusual

And finally we’re returning to our roots. Marriot is an example of this change.

They’re openly saying that they’re a media company and their goal is to be the leading informational provider in the travel industry.

Marriot launched a global creative and content marketing studio solely for this purpose. Their focus is on developing content: digital projects, TV projects, film projects and even animation.

It becomes ugly when you put your logo on the screen and pause it for like 10 seconds. When you let creators do what they do best, things will start to look and sound real instead of being real-time.

Marriot is setting up an example, this shows when you can’t rely on media you’ve to become the media.

You naturally see it in the environment when it’s more like a culture than a program. Programs are boring and they die off after a certain time period. Whereas cultures thrive.

If you consider the case of all these successful content marketers, we can connect the dots on certain important points.

Being specific and relevant: find a niche or create a niche or find a niche within a niche but most importantly target your audience.

Deciding a content style: textual, visual or audio.

Sharing the content with consistency: weekly or daily.

And no matter what you sell, don’t be just B2B or B2C when you can always be P2P: connecting person to person and people to people.