Practical, Self-service Marketing Analytics, Part 1: The Transformation Begins

These are the confessions of an uninformed marketer – the first in a series of posts that will highlight the transformation our own Altair marketing team is making with the help of self-service analytics.

We’re eating our own dogfood! We’re walking the walk! My team and I are embracing analytics, finally. Our small marketing team (10 internal people plus our agency) has been data-driven and using reports and dashboards for years. We measure what many of you probably do – web traffic, leads, opportunities, pipeline, click-rates, impressions, trial downloads, sales to new vs. existing customers, etc. But, like you, our data is all siloed. We have different dashboards for everything – Salesforce, Google Analytics, Pardot, Salesloft, Kapost to name just a few. We have been “reporting” on our performance, and using that plus intuition and experience to plan our future activity. What we haven’t done is blend that data together to understand the relationships and impact of our marketing activity. As you know, marketing data integration can be a huge challenge. But we know it doesn’t have to be that way.

Fortunately, we provide software for data preparation that enables self-service analytics, and the market for marketing analytics has exploded. As we evaluated our content strategy, we realized we had an opportunity to speak, blog and evangelize based on our own experiences. So we have embarked on a journey to transform our marketing strategy to one that is based on analytics. We are early in this journey and it’s not happening overnight, yet we are already seeing an impact.

Below is the first in what will be a series of real use cases that highlight how we are using data preparation and analytics for faster insight into our marketing programs and spend.

What happens to inbound calls when you change your website?

hero-marketing-analytics As a software vendor we have a fairly common structure for our sales team. Business development reps (BDRs) focus on inbound call inquiries, lead qualification and outbound prospecting to set meetings. Inside Sales Reps (ISRs) handle initial meetings, demos and direct sales to small and mid-sized accounts, while our outside sales reps (OSRs) have named accounts, territories or verticals. Our BDRs work very closely with marketing, with much of their activity based on our programs and content. When their numbers go down, we need to know why.

This past spring, we launched a new website – a major project for our small team – complete with an updated brand identity and intended to support more inbound marketing and content marketing activity. After some discussion, we wanted to see if our new website had an impact on inbound call volume. Sounds simple right? Not exactly.

Our Digital Marketing Manager dove in to the challenge.

First we needed a dataset from IT (sound familiar?). We asked IT to pull inbound call metrics from the past year for the sales line to see if there was any sort of change once we launched the new website, which has the sales phone number featured more prominently. The phone system is managed by IT, so we need to go through them for data, but we learned there is the ability to send automated reports via email, which we can use in the future.

After charting out the raw data in Excel, we saw that the call volume remained basically flat since the new site launched. Wanting to dig in further, we pulled our website traffic data from Google Analytics. We were able to import the call data as a CSV file and append it to the Google Analytics data in our Monarch data prep tool. The data showed that despite an increase in site traffic, the call volume was not impacted. Using Monarch, we have decided to do some data enrichment to see where the calls are coming from and match them up with lead phone numbers in

Note, there are many ways marketing can gather this info. Often it is either by requesting reports from IT, engaging a services/consulting agency or painstakingly doing this manually. Collecting, cleaning and blending the data ourselves not only saved time, it made the information more accurate and clear.

Initial findings and next steps

By analyzing the data, we determined the new website design has not had an impact on inbound calls. Our recent increase in program spend, SEO and PPC spend, delivering more compelling content and doing more in both PR and social media, however, has not only increased our web traffic, but our share of voice and brand awareness as well.

We are introducing A/B tests with different placement of our phone number on the website, and also providing separately labeled numbers for sales vs. support. Additionally, we’re also investing in more trackable communications options, particularly click-to-chat.

Again, this is our early venture into being more data-driven and self-sufficient. Our next step is to use IBM Watson Analytics to create three marketing visualizations. Stay tuned…