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If you think about how you do marketing today and how you did it a few years back, you can probably come up with a few differences. For one, you may have the feeling that pretty much everything about your day-to-day has become more overwhelming. And you’re likely going to be right.

Over the past years, businesses have expanded and diversified their marketing activities, leading them to adopt - and often master - a plethora of new tools and technologies. Today, marketing is about being creative and well-versed, just as much as it is about being able to collect and analyze tons and tons of data.

Marketing data: It’s great because you can measure it

It’s no secret that the beauty of marketing data is its ability to be measured.

As marketers branched out to more and more online platforms, the tools they used to measure their performance became more specialized. They can now track anything from social media and website activity, to conversion rates and even sentiment. The more data, the better, right? Yes. And it also depends.

‘Which analytics should I track’, for example, is a question that is quite the head-scratcher.

While a variety of analytics tools gets marketers a step closer to understanding the wants and needs of their customers, it also leads to data being collected in different places, and often, in different formats. It’s what we call marketing data fragmentation. In theory, social media data is great. Web analytics data is also great. But they’re truly powerful only when they are collected and analyzed in parallel, and when put in the context of your overall marketing performance.

Don’t just measure marketing performance, understand it

Marketing analytics is what you need to really make things happen. Unlike tools that focus on individual channels, marketing analytics takes into account your activity across all those channels, and over time. It is your key to making informed and quick decisions when it matters the most.

Marketing analytics can help you find patterns. It can help you understand which of your marketing activities resonate with your customers, and focus on them - both in terms of time and resources spent. It is about determining the ROI of your marketing efforts.

While marketing analytics can help you get a clear focus on the past - how did your latest social media campaign perform, or how did customers respond to your latest product line - its main strength is in helping you derive insights, and perhaps even predict future trends. Without a doubt, knowing what your marketing activities led to and why, is key. What is even more important, however, is being able to use these insights and apply them to both your present and future marketing efforts.

It is, thus, not just about ‘what and why it happened’, but also about ‘what will happen’ or ‘how can we make it happen’. Marketing data, collected and analyzed in the past, can surely serve you in the long run, too. Once you know what customers want, need, buy and respond to, you can use analytics to foresee how they might react to any of your future marketing efforts. After all, people are creatures of habit and predicting (purchasing) behavior is not necessarily as difficult as it sounds.

And if you can predict the outcome of even some of your marketing activities, then you’re already a step closer to achieving your business goals.

What is the extent to which you and your business use marketing analytics? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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Written by Eugen Knippel

Passionate marketer and travller. Loves sports, Thai Food and spending time with friends and family. Talk to him about videogames, datadriven advertising and internet pop culture on Twitter @euglilcious

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