"We do reporting on Mondays. We hate Mondays."
Spring is here, change is in the air, and you're ready to kick some content-marketing ass. At least, you want to.
If you're anything like most B2B marketers, instead of working on your glorious new content strategy, you're putting together a report your VP needs for her board meeting. To make it more challenging, you have a complex B2B sale where your buyer isn't just one person, you market in multiple channels, and a single deal can take months.
This is why you have "Excel Ninja" on your resume and a bottle of wine under your desk.
If you're lucky (and have the time/budget), your team has built a custom dashboard on top of Salesforce. But most mid-market companies don't have a spare engineering team that can spend six months to make that happen. Instead, you log in to all your apps: HootSuite, AdWords, Google Analytics, Marketo (or Eloqua, Pardot, Hubspot), Salesforce, and probably hustle a few details out of your sales reps. Then you map all the data together to get a somewhat accurate view of your buyer's journey.
By the time you have the numbers, you barely have the brain power to figure out what insights to make from them.
Understanding your buyer's journey isn't easy
That complex process – exporting data from your sales and marketing apps, stitching it together, and figuring out what it all means – I used to do at my old job. I managed digital marketing at Igloo Software, a SaaS intranet company where we had a complex B2B sale. Every quarter we'd smush the data together to report on how our digital marketing efforts were performing.
Aggregate reporting is worthwhile work, but it's a pain in the ass that takes you away from creating new impact for your business. And the results are subject to interpretation (hello budget wars), further complicated by multi-channel marketing in a world where most apps only track the last-touch.
The details from these reports were hugely helpful (see: this case study we made about podcast ads), but it was hard enough to do this once a quarter. We couldn't afford to do this every week. I searched for an app to help and couldn't find one. Seeing an unmet need, I set out to make FunnelCake, and now we're here.
Activities are (not) behaviours
A lot of marketers (and sales people) think of activities as buyer behaviours. Apps like Google Analytics, Eloqua, and Hubspot track activities: these individual actions – downloaded a white paper, read an email, clicked a link in our drip marketing campaign – seem significant, so we optimize to increase how often they happen. We want more page views, a higher email open rate, and more click-throughs.
And those goals are great, but it's like trying to grow a really big tree when your buyer is exploring a forest. The abundance of data from all these activities makes it hard to know what to focus on. Mapping activities to your buyer's journey helps you market in a customer-centric way: what activities do they do when? How do these activities indicate their behaviour? Certain activities could mean they're in awareness, evaluation, or likely buyer phases. And that drastically changes how you communicate with them.
It's really hard to get a full picture of this in a marketing automation app. Marketers use an average of twelve apps to track activities for different channels. This doesn't even include the work being done in Excel (like event planning), or the seven other apps being used by the Sales team. Since getting data stories is so difficult, a whopping 71% of marketers are making decisions without data, and only 3.4% of CMOs feel they have the right talent to leverage marketing analytics.
The problem here isn't marketing talent. As a marketer, you know your buyer's journey. You know why that emoji-laden Tweet generated more traffic than anything else you did last week. But having data to prove why it worked is hard to get. You shouldn't need a data scientist to answer questions about repeatable business processes.
The real problem is that analytics software has been designed by technical people for technical people. We think that data should be easily understood and accessible by everyone on your team: whether you're planning events, Tweeting, or nurturing leads, you need to understand how your work impacts your buyer.
You shouldn't spend hours reporting every week, you should be figuring out how to improve your campaigns, content, and processes to better help your buyer. That's our mission. By making data easy to understand, you can make meaningful changes that impact your business every day.
Here's a sneak peak of what we're working on.