More Analytics Require More Purpose

catherinemarketersnoteMarketer’s Note” is a regular column informing marketers about the rapidly evolving, digital marketing technology ecosystem. This week it is written by Catherine Oddenino, Analyst, AdExchanger Research.

In a few recent conversations, the challenge and importance of analytics has come up. For two different agencies that specialize in content marketing, the biggest and fastest-growing parts of their businesses are analytics. One agency even sponsors scholarships at universities to encourage students to study analytics.

During AdExchanger’s CleanAds I/O conference last week, John Nitti, chief investment officer at ZenithOptimedia, also brought up the challenge of finding the right analytics talent.

“Now I have to employ Ph.D.s and data scientists who are inherently more expensive,” he said. “There are 50 people on the [ZenithOptimedia] team; it’s the fastest-growing team but also the hardest to recruit for, because they are the highest in-demand talent.”

It sometimes feels like we’re drowning in data. As the number of media platforms grows and the Internet enables massive data collection, the goal for marketers shouldn’t be to amass as much data as possible. We need the right data to help inform decisions.

Case in point: While researching an upcoming report on sourcing content, I noticed that one content development model many marketers had issues with was the content farm, which creates content specifically around search keywords. These operations used data to play the SEO game, but the resulting content was not valuable to consumers, nor ultimately to brands that allied with that content. It was a waste of time, energy and money.

Marketers should establish business objectives and figure out a plan to achieve those objectives using data as a tool. Audit your current internal data collection and make sure the efforts are aligned with KPIs. If you are working with external data partners, discuss how the data they provide will give you actionable insights aligned with your business goals.

The need for strong analytics talent isn’t going to change, but it’s imperative that both new and old analytics recruits are focused on extracting useful insights that will grow your business, rather than distract with an overabundance of Excel charts.

Follow Catherine Oddenino (@yumcat) and AdExchanger Research (@AdExchangerRsch) on Twitter.

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