Gone are the days when marketing analytics was a buzzword. Today marketing analytics is simply the process of connecting the dots to provide insights that allow a marketing team to work more efficiently and to have a more significant impact on the business.
Anyone that has worked with me over the past few years knows that I am a true believer in applying lean/agile concepts to marketing. I actually think I started using this term before it was a mainstream phrase, but I have no proof!
How to adapt agile thinking to marketing
Using data to drive iterative change and improvements is a critical element of agile. In my quest to do great agile marketing, I am always looking for best practices around analytics and what I should be measuring. This has evolved as digital marketing has taken a bigger role in our overall marketing mix. However, every marketing leader should have a set of KPIs (key performance indicators), aka metrics, that are tracked, reported, and analyzed, and then based on those metrics, programs, and plans are adjusted.
To help my fellow marketers determine what, how, and why to measure, I’ve compiled my three favorite marketing analytics books.
1. Data-driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know
I first found this book several years ago, and I have given copies to many of my team members over the years. One time we even bought autographed copies to give to the team as part of an offsite. There are some gaps in my opinion – for example, I think it could have more insights into social media. However, it still provides a solid foundation for the metrics marketers need to succeed and, significantly, impact the business. The author, Mark Jeffery, knows a thing or two about the topic. He is both Director of Technology and a senior lecturer at Kellogg School of Management, and he is managing partner of Agile Insights, a marketing and technology consultancy, www.agileinsights.com.
As Kelly Cook, CMO at David’s Bridal, says, “Data-Driven Marketing accomplishes the one thing that is most critical when running a marketing organization: using data to drive profits. He stresses the critical relationships between business and IT and how, in concert, these two forces can truly revolutionize business results.”
2. Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster
Part of the O’Reilly Lean Series of books, Lean Analytics goes beyond marketing to encompass measuring and analyzing key metrics across a start-up organization. Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskowitz are true evangelists for Lean Analytics and the overall agile philosophy behind this book. I am biased as Alistair is a good friend, but I read this book with a critical eye to make sure I did not just drink his Kool-Aid.
This book is a solid, practical guide that absolutely every start-up executive should read. I especially love the examples and how the book encourages you to embrace failure as learning. As Alistair can be heard saying repeatedly, you need to identify the ONE metric that matters to your business right now to move you forward. Importantly with that is making sure you have the discipline to know when to change course based on what the metrics are telling you.
Another great book by Alistair is Complete Web Monitoring, which pushes marketers to really KNOW their online communities. Published in 2009, I hope this gets a refresh soon, as much has changed over the past five years, especially in social.
Dan Bergevin says in his review of this book, “This book is far more helpful than any other business book I have seen or heard of, with the exception of Lean Startup. It takes the science of data collection and analysis to a whole new level, showing exactly how to calculate the ROI of any business idea, pricing strategy, or marketing campaign.
3. Digital Marketing Analytics: Making Sense of Consumer Data in a Digital World
In this book, the authors look at analytics as a competitive advantage – and that’s precisely the premise on which we have built the Rival IQ software.
I love this book because the authors consistently tie analytics to action and business impact. Chuck Hemann, one of the authors, is a marketing data geek, currently serving as Group Director of WCG, with previous stints as the digital analytics guru for Ogilvy and Edelman, two of the world’s largest PR firms. Co-author Ken Burbary is also living the data dream as Chief Digital Officer (okay, cool frickin’ title) for Campbell Ewald, following nearly 20 years running digital advertising and marketing programs.
As Jay Baer says of this book, “If you routinely create or digest digital analytics today, this will be your new favorite book, and you’ll keep it on your desk for reference. If you are a novice in the field, this book will be like drinking from a firehose, but it will be worth the effort to lap us as much as you can.”
Bonus book! Marketing Analytics: A Practical Guide to Improving Consumer Insights Using Data Techniques
I’ll warn you that this book is a little statistics-heavy, but as a data-obsessed marketer reading this book has added an invaluable dimension to how I approach marketing science. If you’re in charge of data and analytics at your company, grab a copy and check out the regression models explained in this edition!
Author Mike Grigsby does a great job of going beyond theoretical aspects and helping practitioners apply analytics to understand consumer behavior and identify targeting opportunities. The best and more important value of this book is that it shows how you can be strategic, purposeful, and responsive while being 100% consumer-focused.
In her review of the book, Anna Andrusova, Customer Decision Scientist, JCPenney, says, “This book is an invaluable toolkit of frameworks to drive consumer-centric analytics initiatives across marketing organizations. Grigsby’s extensive experience makes it a must-read for marketing professionals of all levels.”
Read the books & follow the authors on Twitter.
I hope you will enjoy these books as much as I did. I continue to use them as resources. Also, if you are not following all the names I’ve mentioned in this blog on Twitter, I encourage you to do so. While you’re scrolling, feel free to drop us a link to your favorite marketing analytics books on our Twitter.
This blog was originally posted on August 8, 2014, and has since been updated.