The use of data and analytics is growing at a rapid pace. While some companies care more about certain metrics than others, the bottom line is the same: making analytics the cornerstone of your marketing isn’t about any one metric. The interplay between metrics is what matters most, and is what’s most difficult to teach.
A combination of metrics is what really puts your business ahead of the competition. To help you get started, here are four analytics categories to track for your business in order to improve your marketing strategy.
Breaking Down the Four Analytics Categories
Most individual metrics you can think of fall under one of these four categories. Each section has its value and can be broken down as specifically as you’d like.
Some businesses prefer to focus on one category more than the others depending on their current needs. Successful companies should look at implementing all of them to some degree, regardless of their current focus.
Each category uses data in a different way. Understanding how each works will help you improve your marketing strategy with precision. Let’s break each one down:
As basic as it gets, descriptive analytics simply uses numbers to explain the ins and outs of marketing and business. Straightforward metrics such as amount of products purchased or number of website visitors are members of this division.
While perhaps not as complicated as other metrics, these basic measurements of data should not be undervalued. Knowing the raw numbers of how your marketing campaigns are running, for example, is helpful for making adjustments that make them more effective.
Descriptive analytics can show you primary demographics as well as which products sell the best. Focus on these and your marketing strategy is already more efficient because you’re more informed than before. After all, what is marketing without a sense of direction?
When you go to the doctor for a checkup or take your car to the mechanic, they’ll give you a diagnosis identifying the problem that needs to be fixed. They’ll also tell you how said problem can be repaired, as well as what likely led to the problem in the first place.
Diagnostics not only uncover the problems in your marketing plan, but it’ll highlight where they’re coming from. Knowing the source of the problem is just as important as recognizing the problem itself. This allows you to act more effectively when coming up with a solution.
Making correct predictions about future trends is like digging for gold. It takes a fair amount of preparation, guesswork, and research, but when you get it right, you strike it rich. Predictive analysis enables businesses to track market and consumer trends in their own rush for gold.
Predictive analytics is for more than just pinpointing the next big market trend that consumers and investors will flock to. Banks use predictive analytics to beef up their security measures, and those in the medical field look at ways to prevent illnesses from being contracted and spread.
Your marketing strategy can be adjusted to capitalize on potential opportunities. Say your data analysts identify a new target demographic for your product that you want to reach. You can funnel your marketing efforts toward this new group, predicting their interest in your field and taking advantage of meeting that trend head on.
Think about what a prescription is for. Prescription medicine helps patients overcome sickness. Prescription glasses help those with poor eyesight to see clearly. Prescriptive analytics involves the use of analysis to come up with solutions for problems or weaknesses regarding your business.
After looking at diagnostic analytics you should already have a good idea of which aspects of your business need strengthening. Using additional data you can come up with “prescriptions” to create solutions. For example, data on raw materials can help you cut costs by switching suppliers.
Marketing strategies are often used as a solution to problems. Whether it’s a PR issue or trouble selling a product, you can use data to tweak your marketing strategy to your specific goals. Marketing campaigns with no rhyme or reason are nothing more than a band aid solution at best.
Using Data to Strengthen Your Business
Beneath each one of these categories are scores of different types and combinations of data. For every piece of information you want, you can find a metric that falls under one of the four categories mentioned above. Use these metrics wisely and you can greatly improve your business.
To max out your company’s potential, you should look to use all four categories of analytics. It’s fine if you would prefer to focus on one area, but shirking the others gives you an incomplete picture.
Data-driven decisions are well thought out and more effective than decisions made purely based on guesswork. Decide which data category you want to focus on and look up the accompanying metrics to put to work. The difference it will make will astound you.