Measuring is knowing: why you should align your marketing strategy with numbers

As a digital marketer, it is crucial to understand how data analysis can contribute to optimizing your marketing strategy. Measuring the results of your marketing efforts is the only way to know which strategies work and which do not. By using this information, you can use your marketing budget and time more efficiently to achieve better results.

Among marketing specialists, there has been a well-known proverb for a long time: “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” This statement comes from John Wanamaker (1838-1922), a pioneer in the field of marketing. Although marketers often debate about the right percentage, the essence of the statement is of course very clear. Today we have so many touch points, software, and platforms that the famous statement may no longer fully apply. 

As a digital marketer, it is crucial to understand how data analysis can contribute to optimizing your marketing strategy. Measuring the results of your marketing efforts is the only way to know which strategies work and which do not. By using this information, you can use your marketing budget and time more efficiently to achieve better results. 

Start by selecting the metrics that matter


In the abundance of data, it is not always clear which numbers to focus on. Moreover, the importance of a metric may depend on a certain phase in which your strategy is in. If you are launching a brand new product or service, you may want to focus on impressions rather than conversions. If you are running a promotion, it is probably the other way around. When conducting A/B tests, you should be prepared for differences in results. 

Among marketers, it is also an open secret that there is often too much data collected simply because it is technically possible, not because it automatically leads to better results. Do not drown in data. Data analysis is a means to an end, never an goal in itself. Also, remember that as a marketer, you are a specialist but you often have to report numbers to colleagues, superiors, or customers who are probably not as savvy as you are. Consider what is important and clear to them. As a data analyst, you are also a storyteller. 

Choose the platform that fits each phase of your marketing strategy


There are literally hundreds of tools and platforms that can help you in every phase of your marketing strategy. It certainly doesn’t hurt to dive into this a bit. Many platforms are built around one specific aspect of digital marketing. Other platforms bundle different functionalities, creating an overlap. We try to give a brief (and very incomplete) overview of the most popular tools. 

Competitive analysis and keyword research


Before starting your own strategy, it is best to take a look at the terrain and competitors. Semrush,, ahrefs, and Searchmetrics are very suitable for finding keyword volumes, measuring keyword density, or checking backlinks. These are the favorite tools for SEO specialists for a reason. But advertisers also use them for PPC campaigns, especially in the preparatory phases. 

Web analytics


When you think of a tool for analyzing visitor behavior on your website, Google Analytics is probably something that quickly comes to mind. With a market penetration of over 80% worldwide, this is by far the best-known platform. But by no means the only one. Know that there are numerous other web analytics tools that are just as good and in some ways even offer more features, especially with regard to privacy. Platforms such as Piwik PRO, Matomo, Piano, or Mixpanel are rapidly gaining popularity. Some offer free formulas and also have extensive tag manager solutions, just like Google Tag Manager. 

Break the data silos and map out lifetime value


In recent years, more and more platforms have emerged that focus on data warehousing. This involves bringing together all the data that is stored in different tools. There are several reasons for this evolution. 

Firstly, the entire customer journey has become more complex in recent years. With the advent of mobile devices, apps, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the combination with offline activity in brick and mortar stores, it has become much more difficult to map out user behavior. For example, someone may place a product in a shopping cart on a desktop but pay for it later on a mobile device or through an app. This makes it difficult to determine which channel or medium to assign conversion value to. 

A second explanation is a crackdown on privacy. For years, marketers could use (3rd party) cookies. Although there is nothing wrong with using cookies per se, the legislator is much stricter about this today. The fact that information collected with 3rd party cookies was often resold to the highest bidder without the consumer’s consent has led to much greater privacy awareness.

In the future, only information obtained through so-called first-party cookies will lead to meaningful insights. This is where Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) come into play. Such a platform consolidates data from different sources, creating a 360° view of the customer. A CDP allows for segmentation of target groups into smaller, better-defined groups based on behavior, preferences, and needs. 

The difference between a CDP and a CRM


A Customer Data Platform tool (CDP) is not the same as a Customer Relations Management tool (CRM). Although there is some functional overlap (both are data management tools), each has a different approach: 

  • A CDP is software that collects data from various sources (including CRMs) to create a centralized customer database. A CDP takes raw data and creates a complete picture of your target audience across different touchpoints. This structured version is then accessible to any department that needs it. Leadership, marketing, and product teams will benefit most from CDP data. Marketers can create personas for targeted campaigns, and leadership can develop high-level strategies based on big-picture trends and behavioral patterns. Product design teams can determine which parts of a site are most used so they can see where C2As are best placed. 
  • A CRM is software used to manage and maintain the interactions your company has with customers or leads. It centralizes contact information and interactions so teams can easily find all customer data in one place. Although all teams can benefit from a CRM, it is primarily sales, marketing, and customer service that use such a platform the most. A CRM helps sales track and maintain leads, marketers set up targeted campaigns, and customer support provide personalized customer service. 

A CDP allows for hyper-personalization within a GDPR-safe environment. Making marketing hyper-personalized is one of the emerging trends for the coming years. 

Well-known CDPs include Tealium, Treasure Data, Bloomreach, or Twilio Segment. But some web analytics platforms we mentioned earlier have a built-in CDP, such as Piwik PRO.

Put people with the right skills on your team


You will notice that setting up such a data architecture can be quite a challenge. Determining a strategy is one thing, but you also need to be able to implement it. This starts with choosing the right platforms, the available budgets you can work with, setting up and configuring the platform, maintenance and follow-up, and ensuring that your entire martech stack is as future-proof as possible. This requires a certain level of technical understanding. It is no coincidence that there is an increasing demand for data analysts who can bridge the gap between marketing and IT. If you do not have such a profile in your organization, be sure to have an external partner to rely on or use a platform with good customer service. 

A layer of artificial intelligence on top to wrap it up


On this centralized stack and datasets, you can then unleash AI models. AI can quickly establish connections and find trends in large amounts of data. This saves you time and money with analyzing, evaluating, and optimizing. This allows you to focus on things that automation cannot do (yet): coming up with creative campaigns, maintaining contact with your customer, and understanding their brand, service, or industry. 

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