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Industry Trends: The Latest From the AMA

Leigh Cesanek

June 20, 2017
Leigh Cesanek

Last week, we attended American Marketing Association’s conference which focused on marketing analytics and ROI. We had the opportunity to listen to knowledgeable speakers, make connections, and discuss the latest trends in marketing analytics.

At the event, we uncovered ways to improve processes and productivity, how to set goals, report on social media metrics efficiently, and present data to others in a way that is more easily processed. We compiled insight from the speakers at AMANJ that we found the most valuable.


  1. Technology, as presented by Joe Papa in “Riding the Marketing Analytics Hype-Cycle”

In order for a major change in marketing technology to be accepted by marketers, a process must be completed. First, new technology often elicits excitement and intent. But not long after, people become overwhelmed and disillusioned with the new innovation. It’s only after people have developed a deeper understanding of the new technology that increased productivity follows.

When organizations invest money in new technology, they fail to realize the full benefit. For every $10 spent on new technology or tools, $90 should be spent on developing the skills necessary to utilize the resource.

Understanding how technology is accepted and used, allows us to create better decision-making. Finally, ensuring that a cross-section of people are sharing the table, allows organizations to achieve business goals faster.


  1. Social Media Metrics, as presented by Greg Simpson in “Going Beyond Vanity #Socialmedia Metrics, Setting Goals & Running Marathons”

Social media, another marketing resource that is constantly evolving, can sometimes be confusing or challenging in regard to metrics analysis for social marketing investments. Metrics, such as likes, comments, and shares, are different than “actionable” metrics which report reach, site traffic, leads generated, conversions, and more. Use actionable metrics to drive social media goals that tie to larger business goals.

Finally, set goals that are attainable and realistic. For example, when setting the goal to increase a social channel’s following and site traffic over a year, set a short-term goal for each quarter. Q1’s goal would be that its first sponsored social campaign achieves a reach 5,000 people.


  1. Measurement Plans, as presented by Jim Lenskold in “Metric That Matter the Most to the CMO”

There can be difficulty in understanding the full effect of marketing efforts against larger business metrics, such as revenue and sales. In developing measurement plans, it is important to test variations in the marketing mix to better understand which components of the larger plan work and which do not.

It is also helpful to measure media in different ways. For example, advertising efforts can be measured in three different ways: efficiency, effectiveness, and ROI.

Media metrics, such as impressions, should be reported against both sales and costs to develop a clearer understanding of effectiveness and efficiency.

Finally, try to measure Customer Lifetime Value in three ways: realized value, lifetime value, and potential value.


  1. Data Presentation, as presented by Lee Feinberg in “Visualization You Make – & Why You Need to Stop!”

Presentations about marketing metrics are often laden with data – heavy reports that obfuscate rather than clarify conclusions and learnings.

Reporting upon data should serve three functions: it should show a consistent approach, tell a story rather than simply show numbers, and portray visuals without exhaustive bullets and copy.

Data should be displayed in different ways that allow the reader to more easily process the information being shared. Below is the order of things our brains process starting from easiest (location) to the most difficult (shape).

Location -> Size -> Gradient -> Color -> Direction -> Shape

Instead of your typical pie chart, try changing up the way you display information in your reports to help your audience more easily process what they are looking at. For example, display a bar chart with bars in all one color as opposed to many different colors.


Overall, our experience at AMANJ allowed us to take a deep dive into marketing analytics and ROI. The best part of all: the mark of a good conference is the company you keep after!