“My, what big analytics you have!”

One of the boons to marketers in today’s technological rampage is the ability to measure just about anything. Which customers responded to which tweet what time of day wearing what color shirt? Did the Facebook post reach the right demographic in the right ZIP Code before the target had Mexican food for lunch? We exaggerate, of course:analytics there’s no way to definitively know which color shirt. Yet.

Back in the olden PK days (pre-Keurig,) we could do a fair amount of targeting with traditional media, but the difference between then and today (to quote Mark Twain,) is the “difference between lightning bug and lightning.”

We are awash in information. Social media is really great because you can measure just about anything. But that’s the problem, too. Perfectly nice people get caught up in the analytics, and the numbers end up taking on a life of their own. What happens is that people lose sight of why we have analytics in the first place. Numbers for numbers sake doesn’t make sense.

Do you find that you are too busy doing the analytics to focus on the business of marketing? We’re certainly not suggesting that you shouldn’t take advantage of the numbers in all their glory. And knowing how to properly use those shiny numbers can be a clear strategic advantage. Yes, analytics are a wealth of useful information, but make sure you don’t squander that wealth. It’s easy to get caught up in the how many and how often trap and lose sight of the who.

For example, you can tell if your message is reaching a large audience, but have you looked to see if it is reaching the right audience? Are your numbers matching up with the customer profile you’ve developed? (You do have a customer profile written down, right? No, the customer is not defined as “anybody who might buy our product.”)

You can spend days with all those analytics and know just about everything about the people who saw your message. However, if that’s all you’re doing, you’re just playing with numbers.

The whole purpose of analytics is to get hard data that that you can use to help your business grow. You must look for the message behind the numbers, not just at the pretty pie charts and bar graphs.

Use your analytics to measure if your message reached the right people. There may be strength in numbers, but not using analytics to benefit the growth of your business doesn’t add up.

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