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Marketing Analytics

What it is and why it matters

Marketing analytics is the study of data to evaluate the performance of marketing activities.

By applying technology and analytical processes to marketing-related data, businesses can understand what drives consumer actions, refine their marketing campaigns and optimize their return on investment.

History of marketing analytics

It didn’t take long after the printing press was invented for marketing ads to appear. But it wasn’t until 1865, when the banker Sir Henry Furnese described beating his competitors by analyzing his own marketing and promotional techniques, that the term business intelligence entered the public domain. Fifty years later, the University of Pennsylvania introduced the world’s first marketing course. In 1942, when television ads began running, businesses knew there was value in determining which ads were converting viewers into customers.

The advent of the internet sped up the evolution of marketing analytics. Marketers began using digital attribution models to examine consumer behavior on a more granular level. These models measured the value of each consumer touch point to determine where and when a person engaged most meaningfully with a brand. Multitouch attribution soon followed, allowing marketers to analyze a consumer's path along multiple devices and channels.

Today, marketing analytics is a common practice in most businesses. The abundance of marketing data combined with the accessibility of powerful analytics tools and marketing analytics software have made it possible for marketing teams to evaluate every aspect of their digital marketing campaigns, giving businesses what is commonly described as a 360-degree view of the customer.

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Marketing analytics in today’s world

The science of marketing is constantly evolving. Stay informed with these helpful resources.

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Creating meaningful data-driven customer journeys

Enhancing the customer experience is essential for an organization’s marketing and sales initiatives, especially when helping customers navigate their journey with their brand. And there’s no doubt that customer analytics leads the way when it comes to customer engagement. 

Marketing attribution: Giving credit where credit is due

Customers encounter your brand through many channels. And no two customer journeys are quite the same. This white paper delves into how marketing attribution helps analyze the impact and business value of company-generated marketing interactions to make the best marketing investment decisions.

What can you do with marketing analytics?

With analytics, you can answer questions like these:

  • How are our marketing activities performing today and in the future? How do our marketing activities compare with our competitors?
  • Do we have an omnichannel view of all customer data? Are we capturing both online and offline customer interactions?
  • What can we do to improve the customer journey? Are we delivering targeted, relevant and personalized messages to our customers?
  • What should we do next? Are our marketing resources properly allocated for current and future marketing activities? Are we devoting time and money to the right channels? How should we prioritize our investments over a certain time period?

With SAS Customer Intelligence, we’ve achieved a higher conversion rate, our credit card sales have doubled and we’re able to use our marketing funds more efficiently. Dennis Lengacher Head of Customer Cycle Management and Campaign Conception PostFinance

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How marketing analytics works

Marketing analytics requires more than just flashy tools. Marketing teams need marketing strategies that put all their data in perspective. Here’s how marketing analytics works for most organizations.


Identify what you want to measure

Define exactly what you’re hoping to accomplish through your marketing efforts. Start with the overall goal of your marketing strategy, then start drilling down into specific campaigns and marketing channels. Metrics can include return on investment, conversion rate, click rate or brand recognition. You also want to define benchmarks and milestones for your marketing program along the way that will help you evaluate and adapt your marketing techniques.


Use a balanced assortment of analytics tools and techniques

To get the most benefit from marketing analytics, you’ll want a balanced assortment of techniques and tools. Use analytics to:

  • Report on the past. By using techniques that look at the past, you can answer questions such as: What campaign elements generated the most revenue last quarter? How did social media campaign A perform against direct mail campaign B? How many leads did we generate from this webinar series vs. that podcast season?
  • Analyze the present. Determine how your marketing initiatives are performing right now. How are customers engaging with us? Are we using real-time analytics to deliver the best offers to customers? Which channels do our most profitable customers prefer? Who is talking about us and where?
  • Predict or influence the future. Marketing analytics can deliver data-driven predictions that help you shape the future. You can answer questions such as: How can short-term wins be molded into loyalty? How will adding more sales representatives in underperforming regions affect revenue? Which cities should we target next? 


Assess your analytics capabilities, and fill in the gaps

Marketing and data analytics technology is abundant so it can be hard to know which tools you really need. But don’t start there; start with your overall capability. Assess your current capabilities to determine where you are along the analytics spectrum. Then start identifying where the gaps are and develop a strategy for filling them in.


Act on what you learn

Using data is one of the greatest challenges facing marketing professionals these days. There’s just so. Much. Data! That’s why Step 1 is so important: If you know that what you’re currently doing isn’t helping you reach your goals, then you know it’s time to test and iterate.

Applied holistically, marketing analytics allows for more successful marketing campaigns and a better overall customer experience. Specifically, when acted upon, marketing analytics can lead to better supply and demand planning, price optimization, and robust lead nurturing and management – all of which leads to greater profitability.

Next steps

SAS® Customer Intelligence 360 delivers purpose-built, intelligent marketing for today's modern enterprises. SAS moves brands from data to insight to action with rich functionality for adaptive planning, journey activation and real-time decisioning.