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[Book Review] An Insightful (and Timely) Guide To Marketing Metrics


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Source:  Kogan Page

Most marketers will readily acknowledge that effectively using metrics, analytics, and data has become critically important to successful marketing. Companies can now access a huge amount of data regarding the behaviors of customers and prospects, and, therefore, “data-driven marketing” has become a guiding mantra for marketers.

Many marketers are now using metrics, analytics, and data to track the performance of some marketing activities, but relatively few companies are systematically using metrics, analytics, and data to make strategic marketing decisions. As a result, many companies are missing the opportunity to improve future marketing performance.

That’s one of the main themes of Christina Inge’s new book, Marketing Metrics:  Leverage Analytics and Data to Optimize Marketing Strategies (Kogan Page, 2022). Ms. Inge is the founder and CEO of Thoughtlight, a technology consulting firm and marketing agency that specializes in digital marketing and analytics strategies.

Ms. Inge clearly states her objective for the book when she writes:

“This book shows you how to apply the latest analytics to all aspects of marketing management . . . [I]t provides step-by-step instructions on how to create a data-driven marketing strategy . . . They [marketing metrics] are not just about understanding what happened in the past, but also about using that information to shape what will happen in the future.”

What’s In the Book

Marketing Metrics is a holistic, thorough, and non-technical guide to the use of metrics, analytics, and data in marketing. In Chapter 1, Christina Inge introduces her topic and lays the foundation for the content in the remainder of the book.

The discussion of specific metrics is found in Chapters 2-10. Ms. Inge describes and explains how to use a wide range of metrics including:

  • Customer, channel, and branding metrics (Chapters 2-5)
  • Content metrics (Chapters 6-7)
  • Product, pricing, and “place” metrics (Chapters 8-9)
  • Testing methods and the use of metrics in agile marketing (Chapter 10)

Marketing Metrics then addresses two issues relating to marketing management. In Chapter 11, Ms. Inge reviews the major laws and regulations pertaining to data privacy, and she describes several frameworks relating to data governance and the ethical use of data. In Chapter 12, she discusses the importance of “data evangelism,” and she explains how to design effective marketing dashboards.

Chapter 13 of the book describes the skills that marketers need to be “metrics-driven,” and Chapter 14 contains an extensive list of publications and other resources relating to marketing metrics and analytics.

My Take

Marketing Metrics will be a valuable resource for any marketer who doesn’t have extensive experience using metrics and analytics to track current marketing performance and support strategic marketing decisions.

Christina Inge does an excellent job of making a complex topic both interesting and accessible to marketers. Her writing is clear, and she manages to thoroughly explain the metrics she discusses, while almost entirely avoiding the use of mathematical formulas.

Ms. Inge also provides numerous examples throughout the book to illustrate how marketers can use metrics to make better decisions and improve marketing performance.

One of the most important insights in Marketing Metrics is found in the opening chapter. Ms. Inge contends that companies must develop a “metrics-driven culture” in order to use data effectively, and she further argues that the creation of a metrics-driven culture requires marketers to be comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. She writes:

“Interpreting data depends on context, which by its very nature contains a whole lot of ambiguity . . . So, although numbers can give us answers, they also raise a lot of questions, and those answers they provide are not always clear or easy ones. This means that smart metrics-driven marketers learn to navigate uncertainty using data as a compass, not always as a map, let alone turn-by-turn directions.”

Unfortunately, many marketers have a tendency to expect metrics and analytics to provide clear-cut answers, and these unrealistic expectations can lead marketers to ignore the results produced by their metrics and analytics efforts or simply avoid using metrics and analytics when making decisions.

In a 2020 survey of marketing leaders and analytics practitioners by Gartner, respondents said that analytics influenced only 54% of their marketing decisions. When asked why analytics wasn’t used to support more decisions, one of the top reasons cited by respondents was analysis does not present a clear recommendation.

Lastly, Marketing Metrics is a timely book. With uncertainty about future economic conditions likely to persist for at least the rest of 2023, it will be more important than ever for marketers to maximize the results produced by their marketing programs. Marketing Metrics can help marketers achieve this vital goal.

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