Successful agencies focus on improving their client’s account performance as measured by website traffic, number of signups, or any number of other metrics. If they are managing the client’s Search engine marketing, they spend their time optimising keywords and bids, ad copy and targeting. If they are managing their SEO, they work to optimise and promote the site, create unique content and make the user experience as pleasant as possible. Their ability to perform better than another agency is determined by their knowledge of the client’s industry, proprietary strategies and superior creativity.
To support all of this, they monitor a wide range of parameters – CTR, CPC, page rankings, traffic volume, bounce rates, and more, both to inform their work and to demonstrate to their clients that they are making progress. But because this effort isn’t a core activity, they try to be as efficient as possible; by using standard reports across clients, by reporting as infrequently as possible, and if they are large enough, by having an internal group that focuses on reporting.
In this environment one of the main challenges is that the data, and therefore the insights, exists in multiple systems – Google Analytics, AdWords, Facebook and Marketo, – just to name a few. And the people using the data are also usually focused on a single piece of the pie. Clients often have one agency doing their SEO, another their SEM, and others doing their social media and e-mail campaigns. This makes it very hard for single agency to have a holistic view of what’s going on in the account. Even when a single agency is doing all the parts, the SEM people typically look at SEM data and make SEM recommendation, and the SEO people look at SEO data and make SEO recommendations…even though the outcomes are frequently the result of a combination of factors.
Client Review Meeting
Often the first time the client sees the data is at a monthly meeting where it is presented along with the agency’s analysis and their recommendations as to what needs to be done next. This process doesn’t take into account any insights or additional information the client might have, including changes that they made or problems that they were aware of but the agency wasn’t. In most cases this includes what the other agencies were doing.
Tear Down the Walls
What is needed is a system whereby all the people working on the account – agencies, consultants and the client, have access to as much data as possible and the ability to analyse that data in real-time as they come up with new ideas, try new things, and work with each other. Static, infrequent, disparate reporting may be the current ‘context’ standard, but those agencies interested in focusing on, and improving, their core activity and improving client account performance have an opportunity to turn reporting into forward faced predictive analytics to deliver competitive advantage
Competitive Advantage from Predictive Analytics
The modern IT stack including using technologies like Hadoop and Microsoft Azure Data Lake allows agencies to deliver forward thinking predictive data analytics adding competitive advantage. Entire data sets and not just samples can be analysed to interrogate the relationships across many multiples of data sets now available from all across the world at lightning speeds. Non-specialists can then visualise results graphically, easily, and at speed. Modern Data Analytics enables efficiency, it’s about getting to the things that matter quicker and spending more time on them instead of ploughing slowly through random samples that often tell you very little. These techniques allow us to focus efforts by fishing in a smaller pond and getting straight to the high-opportunity areas delivering faster results
The Opportunity of Omni-Channel
Omni-Channel marketing can now achieved by using the modern IT stack as it delivers democratised data at lightning speed. With omni-channel marketing, customers make purchases using various methods working together cohesively. For example, a store that allows customers to browse and purchase merchandise online, and then pick the item up in-store. Or the ability to buy goods from a mail-order catalogue, but return them to a brick-and-mortar store. Or log into an online account, print a return label and mail it back, without leaving home. A fully comprehensive omni-channel buying experience allows customers to search online locating products in their local area, buy, return, and/or exchange products through all channels.
Reports summarising average behaviour don’t provide the useful insights needed to determine how individual customers are likely to behave, general behaviour tendencies are simply too broad. In order for marketeers to create a meaningful dialogue with customers that honours the shoppers preferred level and mode of engagement, deep customer intelligence and predictive analytics need to be deployed
Creating an exceptional omni-channel experience requires the support of the Microsoft Azure highly scalable data analytics solution to transform data into intelligent action.