Moving On From Old Metrics To Next Stage

Create: 05/04/2016 - 13:00

Advanced analytics is meant vanity metrics are waning.  The demands for IoT can highlight the analytic solutions and metrics that serve marketers and make marketing beneficial for customers.

Everyone undergoes a personal transition in adolescence – in fact, I’m enjoying how my nieces are giving up their toys to discover new interests reflective of young ladies. 

In the marketing world, managers may feel that the metrics for their strategies are stuck as an awkward teen because of basic metrics, unable to reach the desired stage to understanding sophisticated customer behaviors that occur in an Internet of Things environment.

Basic vanity metrics – visits, length of time on site, etc. - are useful at the early stages of a website or app launch. After all, what business would not want to know how many site visits or app downloads occurred. 

Today those metrics are no longer the only way to interpret customer behavior that influences sales.  IoT devices have introduced new points of interaction where customers acquire media to learn about a company. The increased access points make basic metrics more complex in highlighting referral sources and in what they need to indicate. 

Value from metrics analysis involves iterative steps, because decisions based on metrics requires exploration of the causes. Exploring the metrics changes the actions behind the metrics – driving visits or app downloads become less important in the face of creating a new media experience that requires multiple metrics to consider but is essential in attracting customer segments.  

In fact, this evolution in metrics emphasis supports many ideas about why businesses thrive and others fail.  Knut Haanes, a lead consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, said in his TED talk that two strategy traps lead to business failure: 

  • Doing only more of what they have always done, and
  • Over-pursuing new opportunities   

Haanes emphasized the word “only” in his talk to direct attention to his recommended solution – applying a blended commitment of leveraging strengths and exploring innovation that builds the business.  Both scenarios hold business risks that must be addressed. Haanes asserts that balancing them, although not easy, negates the inherent risks.  

That balance corresponds with what managers should strive from analytic results.  Overemphasizing rising vanity metrics as an objective creates two scenarios that can limit strategic decisions:

1. A limiting view of retrospective metrics – in short, knowing something occurred without really learning what to do next beyond the fact that it occurred.
2. Increases the likelihood of overlooking customer experiences that should be addressed for long-term growth.
 
To take the step beyond just collecting volume data, managers should seek nuanced view of volume metrics, and then consider how those nuances generate questions or answers relative to given objectives. Doing so helps to frame the right choices for deploying advanced analytics that detail the right new strategies.

For example, acquiring volume metrics can offer a snapshot of visitor characteristics - which demographics are arriving on site or using an app, or where they are coming from.  Adding an advanced analysis – understanding a cohort or how sustainable an acquisition trend is - paints a more nuanced picture of the data collected. 

That nuanced picture can dictate the advanced analysis solutions needed just by highlighting what questions are being left unanswered from the metrics. Data visualization can provide a better data format that reveals more relevant information just by organizing the data in a relatable way.  

Another idea is blending data from multiple sources in a tool such as R programming.  The approach answers how sustainable a data trend can be and can allow for a better view of how IoT devices can correlate.  The tools should empower analysts in attributing metrics to meaningful business activity.

Managers have been long fascinated with treating site visitors, downloads, and page views as proxies for understanding potential customers.  But today they are realizing that Internet of Things and personal mobile device have been added to the mix, requiring advanced dashboards and analytics techniques to view opportunities from consumer behavior.  Certainly execs are on board for increased investment to apply actionable metrics throughout an enterprise.  eMarketer noted a study in which 80% of marketing managers expected a significant rise in their budgets.

Addressing how reported metrics represent customer attention will help business managers decide how they walk the tightrope between being focused on volume metrics while seeking advanced metrics from an intended customer segment. 
 

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Pierre DeBois

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