We’re all used to using analytics to understand and learn from our advertising and marketing activities, we’ve been doing it as standard practice for years now. How many of us extend that way of thinking across our whole businesses, online and offline? It’s highly unlikely any business consists just of marketing and advertising teams, if nothing else we all need paying. When we really think about it, many teams play a part in meeting our customers’ needs, some are just more behind the scenes than others. Therefore extending our use of analytics so these teams can learn and make better informed decisions as well, seems like a natural next step.

Business Analytics

Here at 4Ps Marketing, we have a pretty standard process we take our clients through when planning out their measurement requirements, looking at their objectives, strategies, KPIs, targets and so on. Pretty standard fare. This works brilliantly in capturing all of a user’s interactions (buying and non-buying) on their website. The thing is how often is a website the entirety of a user’s experience? In fact how often is just online the entirety of a user’s experience? Even if they come from Google and buy in one visit there’s still the fulfilment and customer service elements to consider.  What we do now is cover an additional element in the planning stage and that’s identifying all the stakeholders and systems relevant to that business and it covers three main areas; all the different teams that contribute to meeting the customers’ needs, all the different levels in those teams and all the different systems they use that cover users’ touch points.

As we’ve already confirmed no business consists of just marketing and advertising teams so identifying all the others may seem obvious but is often overlooked when it comes to stating them in plans. Common contenders are IT, Finance, Content, Merchandising, Customer Service, In-store, PR, Fulfilment and so on. You get the idea. Each team has its own pain points, targets and objectives, by simply listing them down it automatically starts you thinking about what they are and what information they need to be able to measure the effectiveness of their contribution. Ideally everyone will be working towards the same overall business objective, knowing what this is and being able to see the part they’re playing is a good thing for any team.

Now we’ve identified all the different areas of your business we need to look at the various levels that exist within them. It’s well-known that CEOs require different information from reports than Junior Execs and each team will have their own hierarchies as well as across the whole company. Identifying these structures enables you to define the different reporting requirements within the team itself. For example using the step above we’ll have highlighted that IT will have its own specific reporting requirements that are quite different to Content. Head of IT will also have their own needs that are different to a junior systems architect role thereby looking at the different levels within the teams ensures you cover all the bases.

Finally we need to understand the range of systems our businesses are using that are collecting user information. Analytics covers more than our web analytics tools, most of us will be using CRM systems as well and these will contain invaluable customer data that won’t / can’t sit in our web analytics. The trick here is to identify all the different tools in place, such as web analytics, Salesforce, phone tracking, apps, tills, kiosks, load testing and so on and what information they each collect. That will tell us if there are in gaps in the infrastructure and if that can be filled by existing tools or if new ones need bringing on board. Lastly defining what tools can be made to speak to each other can give us a more holistic view of a user’s journey from one place rather than having to pick up bits and pieces here and there and then bring them altogether manually. For example it is possible to import phone tracking data into Universal Analytics and in some cases from Salesforce as well.

Now we have planned out our teams, hierarchies and systems we’re much better placed to design and implement an effective data collection infrastructure for our whole business. Providing everyone at all levels with accurate and relevant information they can easily understand and quickly use back in their decision making. When done right this makes a huge difference to a user’s experience and our understanding of it, becoming more seamless all round. That can only be a good thing for both us and the customer.