Am I Getting Enough Value From My Vendor Investments?

As you grow, your reporting and analysis needs will grow with you. From my experience, working as a marketer in a multi-channel analytics company, I’d first start by saying that most companies aren’t using their analytics vendors to their full potential. And since we are being honest, most companies do not use the full potential of ANY of the software they implement. These products are so packed with features it is difficult to stay out in front of all your needs.  Below I will talk about key investments, platforms and what makes a good analytics tool. 


People Before Tools

The  industry over the last 10yrs has gotten increasingly more complicated and getting value from the data requires time, resources, and budget. I mention this because your first step should be to invest in a dedicated and experienced team if you really want a cutting edge analytics tool to work for your organization. This could be an internal investment, or via a partnership with a consulting firm like Stratigent.

Tools by themselves are sunken costs until you can tie them directly to a ROI.  In order to track/perform that calculation end-to-end, you have to put dollar amounts and significant thought into every action and implementation decision.The simple fact is a lot of companies don't have the budget, vision, executive buy-in, or team aligned to take their analytics to the level in which they can see some tangible form of return. 


What’s The Right Platform For You?

There's really no single platform that is the right option for every company. A solid vendor evaluation should start with identifying the pain points and implementation gaps you're experiencing with currently in your program. Next, compare your business requirements against the vendors in the space, either by partnering with a knowledgeable consultancy or a formal RFP. This is something that Stratigent has done for their clients for the last 10.5 years.


Some Features To Think About…

It's easy to get caught up in bells & whistles of an analytics tool. Below are some key features you should keep in mind:

  • Real-Time: This is finally becoming an industry standard. Every vendor is being challenged with solving the real-time needs of clients.
     
  • Individual-Level Data: If you want something flexible and customizable, I'd recommend choosing a service that provides individual-level granularity. You'll be able to do a lot more with your data like personalize visitors' experiences and evaluate customer lifecycle. Also, look for a service with a great API that will allow you to integrate custom visitor information.
     
  • Actions & Custom Events: Make sure the service you choose allows you to track actions (e.g. played video, hit Facebook "like" button, mobile apps etc.) and will let you add your own custom events. This will become increasingly important as your analytics needs grow.
     
  • Accessibility: If you're running a web-based business, you want to be connected all the time. Comprehensive mobile apps and push notifications to your phone are an essential component in my opinion.
     
  • Skip In-House Solutions: By choosing a SaaS, you'll get exactly what you need at a much more cost effective price point than building an in-house solution.

 

All of that being said, start by defining your analytics requirements and dream big.
 

 

By Bill Bruno
About the Author:

Bill Bruno is the CEO - North America, Ebiquity.

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