Without doubt, data analytics has become a very important tool in every marketer’s arsenal. Studies have shown that on an average, 12% of the total marketing budgets in 2016 was allocated to analytics by major and medium-sized enterprises. And, it’s expected to grow next year.
So perhaps, the crucial question that marketers wanting to deploy data analytics in 2017 will face is – which is the right marketing analytics solution for me?
The chances of being stuck with a wrong buy are high if expectations, requirements, needs are not listed prior to purchase. Each business has its own unique needs, thus necessitating the purchase of a digital analytics solution that specifically addresses those needs. What works for John may not work for Jerry.
You could, of course, ditch the traditional method of choosing a web analytics tool, as suggested by the marketing evangelist Avinash Kaushik in this post, “How to Choose a Web Analytics Tool: A Radical Alternative”. Avinash argues that the current methodology is flawed, going ahead and listing what those faults are.
Avinash may be right or wrong in expounding his theory. We think though that a “one glove fits all” approach does not work at all. Customers needs differ not only from industry to industry but also from business to business. Even customers of two, almost identical businesses, example, e-commerce, may have different needs. Thus, a diligent approach has to be taken while zeroing in on a marketing analytics solution.
Writing in Forbes on how to choose the best analytics software, top web influencer Neil Patel says the “the last thing you want is to be stuck with a cumbersome, arduous platform that lacks user friendliness and doesn’t meet the specific needs of your marketing team.”
We’ve drawn up the top 5 essential criteria that will help you choose the right software for your business:
The free spin: That’s right. Do not hesitate to ask the solutions provider for a free test drive of the software you intend to buy. That’s the most basic requirement. Once done, the marketer can give his/her feedback to the rest of the key management members.
Ease of use and integration: Cut through the razzle, dazzle, the bells and whistles that many marketing analytics software come with these days, and get to the bone, so to speak. Think of your business objectives, the metrics that need to be measured, and examine if the solution under consideration gives you that. No harm in a solution provider giving you a wide range of features but focus on the ones you want from that system, and the results that feature can provide. One thing to note here is: what is the level of expertise in your company? Do you have one analyst or a team on board, or are you planning to recruit some soon? If those skills are not present in your business, you might be better off buying an easy-to-use solution that a heavy duty enterprise version. Also, don’t forget one more thing – the ability of the new solution to integrate with your existing enterprise software. If it does not, you may find yourself incurring extra costs, let alone the additional headache of integration.
Cost: Capital investment as well as operating costs matter. Plan ahead for three years minimum. The solution may look the cheapest compared to others but may turn out to be bare-boned. Transparency in pricing is important. You must know as a customer the price of add-ons and any updates likely to arise in this period.
Real-time capability: Your business may not need it now but analytics technology is getting better, every passing day. With advanced tech comes ease of use and then, you may find real-time analytics makes more sense for your enterprise. Since buying a marketing analytics solution is not a short-term buy, understand whether the product you have zeroed in on delivers real time analytics or at least has the capability of an upgrade, at less or no extra costs.
Must be multi-channel ready: Marketing these days, more or less, is multi-channel. You use social media, email marketing, blogs, newsletters, SEO, etc to get your message across. Understand the number of marketing channels your business currently uses, then ask yourself if the number’s likely to go up in the near future. The solution you choose must retain the ability to monitor your existing channels from one platform, and quickly upgrade to add even more.
Have we not listed a feature that you think is also importat while selecting a marketing analytics software? Write in to us.