Marketing analytics is set to grow tremendously over the next five years. Why such growth? Marketing analytics has a critical impact on a marketing organization’s activities, but also on a brand’s overall understanding of their entire company’s success. Market research has a similar impact.
From focus groups to mix modeling to big data, the methodologies can vary drastically in style, execution, and results when it comes to both market research and marketing analytics. But the objectives of these exercises remain pretty universal: gather accurate data, analyze it for insights, and turn those consumer insights into better business decisions.
Market Research vs. Marketing Analytics
Many of us already know that market research is the process of gathering information in order to answer strategic business questions. Such information could include everything from consumer segmentations to reactions to stimulus to purchasing behavior. Often this research is done through the use of statistical methods or practices that collect and analyze data to make inferences about something. Of course, in today’s digital landscape market research has evolved to encompass far more, such as behavioral targeting insights and social media listening.
Marketing analytics is a result of the technology and influx of data we use as marketers. Early on marketing analytics was a relatively simple concept. It encompassed the process of evaluating marketing efforts from multiple data sources, processes, or technology to understand the effectiveness of marketing activities from a big-picture view—often through the use of metrics. Marketing analysts’ objectives can be an endless list of how to understand or increase ROI, monitor trends over time, determine campaign effectiveness, forecast future results, and so on.
Market analytics has now come to mean the information captured by all the relevant online data that has been gathered and integrated into a consumer’s profile, like purchase history and contact information. And it is this valuable addition to customer knowledge that drives our reasoning for coupling it with market research.
Leveraging the Two Together
Together, market research and marketing analytics drive an industry that’s changing the way we work and the type of work we do. The reason why is, together, both not only measure the impact of marketing efforts on our consumers, but the varying impact of a variety of efforts from product to sales. That’s not to say that either of the two cannot function on their own. Maybe a company prefers the intimacy of qualitative studies, or perhaps they only have the budget for mining social data.
But thinking of both disciplines on different playing fields only limits their potential. Market research and market analytics should be wielded as a two-pronged weapon to build an even more comprehensive view of the consumer, ensuring you are delivering the right messages to the right consumer at the right time.
For example, instead of focusing on the differences between market research and market analytics, it makes a lot more sense to think of them as two separate phases of consumer investigation. Market research is a form of primary research, taken from the source and providing firsthand evidence; market analytics is a form of secondary research, a summary of descriptive documentation and synthesis of data drawn from a number of sources.
When the two are leveraged together, their advantages amplify each other. While market research captures what your consumers want you to hear by verbalizing an experience or telling you why, market analytics offers the online behavior and patterns that consumers might not think to share, and keeps it all in a consolidated database. You can use the two together to validate that your online data matches your offline data; that is, your analytics reflects your research, and vice versa.
We challenge brands to use marketing research as a tool to push their marketing analytics from just learning about metrics to actually understanding customers in the context of their consumers. To learn more about combining marketing analytics specific to big data with survey data, download the report below. You’ll see an example deliverable of what combining these two disciplines provides.