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Analytics can be fun, honestly.

Ok, fine; maybe not as much fun as driving a speedboat up the Thames, but it can be extremely handy and oddly satisfying –if you get it right, that is. If you get it wrong, it’s less “fun” and more “total bloody nightmare”.

Lots of B2B marketers are fully paid up members of the I ♥ Analytics club, but not everyone’s convinced. One of the reasons for this is that there’s often a surfeit of information that isn’t very informative. B2B marketers drown in too many numbers and statistics, and decide therefore that analytics is a waste of time (thus throwing a very useful baby out with the bathwater).

There are some things you can do to sift the gold nuggets from the river mud:

Don’t just look at the short-term

Short term reporting is quite useful, but you need to keep an eye on long-term trends. As any statistician will tell you, you can’t infer generalizations from snapshots. If you react to some spike in your stream without thinking about its context and the longer view, you’re likely to end up with a knee-jerk reaction that may actually damage your campaign. In fact, the bigger the volume of data, the more accurate your results will be.

Keep it regular

Analytics is like a pint of Guinness – it just can’t be hurried. That means they’ll just have to wait if they want anything approaching accuracy. So don’t grab data at random, even if someone is breathing down your neck about a report they want by yesterday.

Analytics takes a little planning. You need to timetable a regular round of data collection from each stream. This must be done consistently: say, always at 11.30 on a Tuesday morning. That way you’re comparing like with like, as far as possible.

It’s true, analytics can be a huge waste of time if you don’t do it properly. But that’s not the fault of the system, it’s the fault of the operator. So if your analytics isn’t playing ball, it’s probably because you’ve done something wrong. As comfortable to admit as a wooden clog up the jaxie, sure, but that’s the way it goes. B2B marketing can be cruel.

Photo credit: Munksynz

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