The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Member Blog: The Problem with Analytics

By David Wright, BSA Marketing.

I recently read a post about Google Analytics that made me consider what it means to call yourself a marketer, and what good marketing looks like?
You can read the full article here:

I spend a lot of my time advising clients what good marketing looks like and that, to be effective, marketing should be planned and joined up.
Clients also regularly ask for advice regarding a ‘marketing’ service that someone is offering to them.
Often, the sales pitch for these services revolves around analytics, getting high search rankings and driving specific metrics.
The real issue is not analytics per-se, it is how people are encouraged to use it.
No-one is an expert in everything
Tools like search and SEO are too often sold as stand alone marketing solutions the success of which is measured using Analytics. They are presented as magic wands which can solve any marketing problem.
If success was all about driving metrics in Analytics, that would be fine, but in reality success with analytics will not necessarily lead to business success.
The article also talks about the importance of people having proper marketing qualifications. Whilst qualifications are valuable in demonstrating commitment and professionalism, the real issue is that service providers need to accept that they are not experts in everything and that the service they offer is not a magic wand.
In reality the best results come when experts in individual disciplines focus on what they do best and come together with other experts to create great marketing programmes.
In my experience, the worst offenders in the “we can do everything” department are not SEO or social media experts, but web designers. Sure, there are some great designers out there who can create a fantastic website layout and code developers who can turn designs into efficient, effective websites, but look at their own websites and these people will so often position themselves as Marketers, offering a full range of services from web development to SEO, Social Media and Email marketing.
In reality, their primary interest lies in creating the website rather than using it as a marketing tool once it is complete. Whilst they may be experts in design and web coding, they are not marketing experts. Once the web project is complete they want to be on to the next project.
Conversely, BSA Marketing are at their core, experts in niche Business to Business Marketing. We understand the values, strengths and weaknesses of the variety of marketing tools on offer and there relevance to a particular business and objective.
Our mission is to make your marketing work for you.
To achieve this we use our in-house marketing expertise and then call on specialists in specific disciplines to create marketing programmes that really work.
Back to Analytics
Coming back to Google Analytics; has it has ruined marketing?
In itself, I think not. Google Analytics has brought visibility to the cause and effect of marketing. In the time before Google Analytics, identifying whether or not your marketing was going in the right direction usually involved expensive market research to assess the short term impact of your efforts. This process was beyond the budget of most SME businesses. Google Analytics has changed the playing field and allows any business to see if marketing activities are having the desired short term impact.
However, the ease with which this can now be done has encouraged people to focus on measuring the short term effect (eg is my social media campaign driving people to my website), and forget about the real long term objectives:
Engaging with my target market to communicate my offering through the use of website and social media, building awareness, growing confidence and delivering increased sales.
The issue is not “Has Google Analytics ruined marketing”  but  “Has Google Analytics made marketers blinkered to what they are really trying to achieve, and susceptible to the magic wand salesman”.

Whilst the answer to the first question may be NO, there is far too much truth in the second!