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Building an Analytics Center of Excellence

Make your analytics the glue between you and your customers.


There has been a lot of talk recently about how to get the most ROI out of digital marketing. Marketers want to know exactly how much they’ll get back for every dollar they spend. There is still too much slack in the system and often that simply has to do with organizational ineffectiveness. On one hand, you have an analytics team revealing insights, a media team planning campaigns, IT keeping systems working properly, and a brand team working to create loyal customers. All too often, these teams don’t talk with each other enough, which leads to disjointed experiences and missed sales opportunities. Proving ROI from any one of these teams’ activities is already tricky, and the perception is that analytics should be the one able to prove its worth first. Your analytics initiatives result in ROI only when actioned by your media or brand teams. So how do you make sure everyone is connected and close the loop on reporting to show ROI? It can seem impossible. Building out an analytics center of excellence (COE) can help create value for your program by using analytics as the glue that bonds you to your customers, and to the other teams involved to make marketing happen.

Here’s four principle ways that analytics teams can strengthen their value proposition

  1. Seek out good communication and organization. These are two of the qualities that you should always expect from your COE. You want to look for resourceful and influential individuals. When you want to make a big, delicious dinner you need to ensure each course is well prepared and has the proper ingredients, so each component becomes remarkable at one point or another. I’m not recommending official or unofficial reporting relationship changes, but rather a working-better-together framework. Remember, these are advocates in their respective teams who can get things done.communication organization
  2. Build a charter and guiding principles. A program charter and principles are translated into action steps for people to work on with a defined structure, consisting of common goals, individual tasks, and results. Outputs include a set of guiding principles, RACI charts, a team scorecard, and governance procedures. Adherence results in everyone working from the same playbook and having the same assumptions. It also ensures everyone knows the goals and how they’re measured.

  3. Keep the end in mind. Most brands’ technology efforts are fragmented across the company. Being able to accurately measure behavior, customer value, and optimize your media requires some level of centralization and coordination. This is especially true in a large enterprise or where the customer journey has multiple touchpoints that your direct team may not manage. Build a roadmap that shows the ultimate vision for your customers, the value they bring to the brand, and an agreed upon plan of how to get there. Focus on building shared goals and milestones that focus on coordination amongst the stakeholders.

  4.  Get a solid data strategy in place. This is a comprehensive vision and foundation to harness data-related capabilities. It represents the container for all domain-specific strategies, such as data processing agreements, storage, and GDPR guidelines. Without a unified strategy, your teams will view data and its capabilities differently and that has a price tag. This leads to duplication of data and systems and makes it difficult to determine the ‘truth’ within your data.

When you reimagine and reinvent how your analytics team works within marketing, you can stay ahead of an ever-changing digital landscape, while continually delivering value and ROI. It takes effort to get people, process, and technology working together, and it drives better, more relevant customer communications for your business

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