Three Ways to Get Data Out of Silos and Into Your Marketing Strategy

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There are a lot of ways to organize information. And the bigger a company is, the more complicated it can be for employees to find the right data, let alone know how best to use or share that information to make more-informed decisions.

Chances are that some data is “hidden” in silos across your company. According to new research from Econsultancy in partnership with Google, 86% of senior executives agree: eliminating organizational silos is critical to expanding the use of data and analytics in decision-making.1

If teams don’t talk, or if your organization doesn’t have an integrated data strategy to harness marketing, customer, and advertising data, information and ideas won’t flow freely. Here are three ways to break down data silos and get your organization on the path to a more collaborative, data-driven culture.

1. Make data accessible — to everyone
If you have work to do to get your data house in order, you’re not alone: 61% of marketing decision-makers struggled to access or integrate data they needed last year.2

The first step to making data more accessible is to outline a data strategy that identifies data owners and key points of contact for each information source. Next, define how to integrate data and related technologies, and provide standards and processes related to data security and privacy. Include guidelines for sharing data internally.

Democratizing access to data and insights enables employees at all levels to check their gut — and that leads to better results. The same Econsultancy study found that marketing leaders are 1.6X as likely as their mainstream counterparts to strongly agree that open access to data leads to higher business performance.3

Watch our on-demand webinar featuring new research and best practices in marketing data and analytics strategy from Google and MIT Sloan School of Management. 


2. Champion the value of data-driven insights over gut feelings
Once data is made available to marketing managers and business decision-makers, make sure you champion a data-first mindset with your team. Using data effectively is a key differentiator for marketers who are ahead of the curve.

While a documented data and analytics strategy can provide a guide for all employees, support from the top helps set the tone. Nearly two-thirds of leading organizations say that their executives treat data-driven insights as more valuable than gut instinct.4

C-suite buy-in and other champions across the company help reinforce a data-driven culture by giving teams stuck in silos a nudge to collaborate and share analytic insights. Even better, this environment should give teams the incentive to align or share goals since data is core to campaign plans and marketing strategy.

3. Educate stakeholders on how to interpret the data
Having access to data is great, but if employees don’t know how to use it, the insights will remain isolated and unused. Consider this: 75% of marketers agree that lack of education and training on data and analytics is the biggest barrier to more business decisions being made based on data insights.5
If a team is empowered with the right learnings, it will proactively integrate data rather than push it aside. Set up brown bag sessions or internal trainings, or provide employees access to self-paced learning modules.

Finally, consider pairing the “data evangelists” and data storytellers within your organization with different team members to identify areas of focus based on relevant business goals and the biggest opportunities.

Download the Econsultancy report, “The customer experience is written in data,” to learn how successful brands put data at the center of their marketing strategies. 

1, 3, 4, 5 Google/Econsultancy, “The Customer Experience Is Written in Data”, U.S., n=677 marketing and measurement executives at companies with over $250M in revenues, primarily in North America; n=199 leading marketers who reported marketing significantly exceeded top business goal in 2016; n=478 mainstream marketers (remainder of sample); May 2017. 2 Google Surveys, U.S., “2016–2017 Marketing Analytics Challenges and Goals,” Base: 203, marketing executives who have analytics or data-driven initiatives, Dec. 2016.
2 Google Surveys, U.S., “2016–2017 Marketing Analytics Challenges and Goals,” Base: 203, marketing executives who have analytics or data-driven initiatives, Dec. 2016.

Sigma Sport spins up 28% higher revenue with Google Optimize 360

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If you’re a road cyclist or triathlete, chances are you know Sigma Sport. This global retailer sells bikes, clothing, energy bars, anti-chafe balm and everything else you need to power your way through your next big event — or just enjoy your next friendly ride in the country.

Recently Sigma Sport set out to address a vital need: to find more customers with high potential lifetime value. “Growth with high-value customers is key to our success,” says Nik Hill, the company’s Head of Digital. “We knew we needed to change our website experience to better engage these customers.”

To reach its goal, Sigma Sport turned to its agency, the digital conversion specialists Merkle | Periscopix. And together they turned to Google Optimize 360, part of the Google Analytics 360 Suite.

Using Optimize 360, Merkle | Periscopix created an experiment where they replaced Sigma Sport’s homepage carousel with brand-specific images of the site’s three top-performing brands: Castelli, Specialized, and Assos. Then they targeted the experiment to the audiences they had already built in Analytics.

This allowed Merkle | Periscopix to serve personalized experiences to fans of each brand. “We used the Analytics audience targeting feature in Optimize 360 to serve bespoke experiences to subsets of users,” says Shahina Meru, Associate Analytics Lead at Merkle | Periscopix. “We created three distinct Analytics audiences who had earlier bought or interacted with the top three brands, then used these as targeting rules in Optimize 360. Anyone who had looked at or bought a Specialized bike in the past, for instance, now saw Specialized products in their carousel.”

When Sigma Sport tested its new personalized home page, they saw right away that it was a hit with users. The experiment drove a 28% rise in revenue and a 32% increase in e-commerce conversion rate during the experiment. In fact, Sigma Sport saw uplift across the entire customer journey with a 90%+ probability to beat the baseline.

The bottom line: Personalization worked, both for bike-shopping customers and for Sigma Sport. Now Merkle | Periscopix is looking for more ways to enhance user experience with personalization from Analytics and Optimize 360.

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