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The Problem With Marketing Analytics – and How to Fix It

Marketing Analytics

Marketing analytics is perhaps the most powerful business tool ever invented. Unfortunately, most businesses are failing to reap the benefits. Here’s why: most marketing analytics today are used to justify the work of marketers, rather than discover valuable predictive insights.

Marketing Analytics Justifies Marketing

Many internal marketing departments and outside agencies don’t look at the big picture of big data. That’s because their analytics technology is usually focused narrowly on their area of expertise.

If you task an internal department to create content, it typically reports using only a content marketing tool. If you hire an agency to do social media marketing, the agency typically reports using only social media tools. Those silo tools typically focus more on automation, rather than valuable predictive analytics.

Lack of Future Insights

The problem with this silo approach is multifold. It’s self-serving, inefficient, and worst of all provides only historical analysis. It provides you if any insights into the present or more importantly the future. Because all marketing expenditures are investments in the future, analytics needs to focus on the future, not the past.

Self-Serving Data

Thus you get silo reports attempting to justify past decisions, rather than holistic reports that reveal where to best invest marketing dollars in the future. Marketing analytics thus serves to validate marketers’ work, whether justifying a creative idea or buttressing a social media program.

Failing Where It Matters Most

Here’s the real dilemma. Most businesses want more than just activity from their marketing departments and outside agencies. They’re also looking for outside perspective, a big picture feedback loop on the outside world, ranging from customer demographics to new product ideas.

Ill Equipped

The enterprise might turn to an internal department or outside agency, seeking big picture insights, such as future changes in its customer demographics. If the department or agency is using only narrow-focus analytic tools, they’re unable to provide the necessary intelligence on customers, products and more.

Outdated Data

Another problem with conventional analytics, especially with outside agencies, is the length of time to generate reports. Agencies are stuck on reporting in the past.

Research and reporting might take 90 days. In today’s business climate a lot can happen in 90 days, from political turbulence to stock market crashes, from military conflict to natural disasters. Chances are by the end of 90 days, the research is already outdated.

Real-Time, Holistic Analytics

To give the business a competitive edge, marketers must adopt technology providing holistic, real-time data, for making the best decisions.

Uncover Insights in Real Time

With the right analytics technology, marketers can provide those insights in real time, enabling the C suite to act upon them. This will enable the business to analyze not only behavior but consumer intent within seconds, to make the right offer to the right person at the right time.

Continuous Pulse

The best marketers and agencies act as the crystal ball of the enterprise. That requires marketers to have the right technology to provide relevant, real-time insights, to gauge the continuous pulse on what is happening and serve up relevant insights.


Companies look to marketers to provide insight, fresh perspectives, and answers they cannot find on their own. Internal marketers and outside agencies with holistic, real-time analytics will provide a huge competitive advantage, a lens into the marketplace and future business decisions.

By Jeff Winsper

Jeff is the President of Black Ink and offers more than 20 years of leadership experience in marketing, serving companies ranging from Fortune 500 to start ups.

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