Proving Marketing's Impact with Reporting & Analytics

December 16, 2022

In the midst of tough economic times and financial uncertainty, companies can be quick to cut their marketing budgets. But slashing your marketing budget is rarely the answer to your problems. In fact, marketing’s impact is invaluable to an organization – and the reporting and analytics prove why. 

A Gartner survey reveals that marketing analytics only influence 53 percent of business decisions. But why do so many companies fail to utilize marketing analytics to their advantage?

Why Data and Analytics Aren’t Being Used to Drive Business Decisions 

Far too many leaders aren't utilizing marketing analytics to drive value within their respective organizations. This is primarily due to data management challenges and cognitive biases. One-third of respondents in the Gartner survey reported that decision makers cherry-pick data to try to tell a story that aligns with their preconceived decision or opinion. 

Don't Cut the Marketing Budget – Why You Need Marketing Attribution

If you want to start using data to drive decisions within your organization, then you shouldn’t be slashing the marketing budget. Why? Because without marketing attribution, leaders have no way of knowing which activities are contributing to the success of the business. Marketing, just like many other business functions, generates revenue and adds qualified leads to the pipeline. 

Here are just a few things that the right marketing attribution tools can help you do: 

  • Show how activities in every stage of the funnel contribute to revenue and pipeline fulfillment 

  • Operate in tandem with your customer relationship management (CRM) system 

  • Identify your most and least profitable activities so that you can appropriately allocate budget towards the right strategies 

Without the right tools and processes in place, you won’t be able to use data to make decisions that drive success within the business. So, the question remains – how can your company start making more data-informed decisions and prove to executives the impact of marketing on the business? 

4 Tips to Start Making More Data Informed Decisions with Reporting and Data Analytics 

A huge part of using data analytics and reporting to make decisions has to do with deploying the right tools. However, there are other tips you should keep in mind as well. Here are four ways Gartner recommends addressing data quality challenges and cognitive biases. 

1. Track decisions that are made based on analytics and identify areas to improve  

Your organization might be using marketing analytics to drive some decisions. It’s important to identify examples from a marketing campaign or program that provided actionable recommendations. Leaders within the organization should look to team members to find this information. Team members should be looking for patterns in decision-making habits and document which decisions they influence. 

From there, you can identify areas to improve. If decisions are currently being made without marketing analytics, you must take action to change this. If teams are drawing conclusions solely based on their own opinions or what they want to believe, this isn’t good enough. Data provides organizations with true insights into what they’re doing, telling them if it’s working and how they can optimize performance to generate better results in the future. 

2. Combat cherry-picking by setting KPIs and metrics before campaign launch  

Team members in many organizations will cherry-pick small data points in order to tell the story that they want to tell. But is it the whole truth? To combat cherry-picking, marketing leaders must set KPIs and metrics to measure marketing attribution. 

Before launching a campaign, make sure that you’ve outlined the KPIs and metrics that you’ll be tracking. This will help you stay organized and focused on the metrics that matter and ultimately, it’ll make it easier for you to track success. Don’t wait until the data has already started to come in. Thinking ahead and setting KPIs is a foolproof way to ensure that the data tells a story post-campaign. 

3. Encourage senior leaders to set an example of data-driven decision making  

In many organizations, senior leaders are seen as the people who should be making the decisions because they have a history of being right. They are in their position for a reason, after all. However, the highest paid person’s opinion (HIPPO) is exactly that – an opinion. Their opinion is a hypothesis just like any other, and their title or pay does not make that opinion the right one necessarily. 

To become an organization that makes data-informed decisions, start from the top. Senior leaders must set an example and encourage a new culture of data-driven decision making. This means allowing data to inform, or change, decisions, even if it is different from their own opinion. 

4. Establish analytics upskilling programs to train employees and teach them skills 

Lastly, it’s important to train and teach employees when building a data-driven culture. Look at every team within your organization and the different workflows of each. Establish upskilling programs for every department within the organization. Build personas that teach individual employees how to use data in their roles. Make sure employees understand that training sessions should be a high priority and will help them to perform their job to the best of their ability. 

Are you unsure of how to utilize reporting and analytics within your organization? To learn more about data management and start making more data-informed decisions, contact BDO Digital today.