Marketing managers need to put down the tools and take data analysis into their own hands

Digital tools have become an invaluable commodity for data analysis, but as well as embracing these tools, marketers should develop a habit of taking data analysis into their own hands and remember the value of human analysis.Whether it was due to a nifty e-mail marketing campaign, a show stopping television advert or simply the promise of tequila for breakfast, in 2015 alone almost 30 million holidaymakers visited Mexico.

While reasons for visiting might be mixed, Mexico’s tourism board can prove which technique was responsible for getting tourists on planes using digital tools.With a greater variety of measuring techniques available, evaluating marketing success rates is now easier than ever before for SMEs. However, there is more to marketing analysis than just digital tools.

According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), 'marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably' - but this is just the official definition. In practice, the ultimate goal of those who hold marketing budgets is to generate and identify a clear return on investment (ROI).

For traditional marketers, the ability to produce a report outlining the exact value and ROI of marketing activities is a godsend. But, let’s face it, you can’t split test your social media strategy and it’s difficult to run an accurate experiment to see whether your SEO strategy is truly responsible for a growth in your web traffic.Even with today’s advanced digital tools, it is still notoriously difficult to justify marketing efforts when results can’t be measured purely by sales figures or footfall.

It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible

Many marketers expect digital tools to do all the legwork when it comes to proving marketing efficiency, but it’s no use receiving your Google Analytics report each week and taking no action with the results.If you are serious about analysing the benefits of your marketing efforts, you will need to try much harder than simply setting up an automated report. Of course, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of digital analysis, but in addition to these tools, marketers and small business owners must commit to more.

By taking time out to personally study reports, review feedback from customers and of course, measure the success of different marketing activities against each other, marketers can gain a much clearer and personal insight into the success of a campaign.Inevitably, most marketers will already do this, but what is important is that this human analysis becomes a regular habit, not just something for the end of a campaign.

It takes as few as 21 days to form a habit, perhaps a little bit longer if you are as forgetful as some. To ensure you don’t let your new routine slip, set yourself a reminder.Whether it’s a sticky note on your computer screen or a blaring alarm on your phone, depending on the size and complexity of your marketing activities, set the reminder every other day, weekly or even just fortnightly.

Plan a timeframe, even half an hour will do, to analyse the results of your campaign. By forcing yourself to repeat this action, you will slowly build a positive habit of data analysis, which in the long run, will give you the best and most accurate insight into your marketing success. When it comes to digital campaigns, content marketing and SEO, measuring ROI of marketing activities is not as simple as a basic equation. However, today, we have a plethora of digital tools to help us scrutinise the value of marketing efforts.

As marketing experts and business owners, it is essential that we continue to do what we do best. By all means, embrace these digital tools, but let’s not forget the value of our own analysis too.