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Marketing automation has addressed many of the issues that marketers encounter over the course of promotional campaigns. Staffers could greatly mitigate the amount of data entry required to input results or to directly reach specific leads, time they can then use to improve a strategy. However, there’s more work companies can do to make their marketing campaigns more effective. Instead of just focusing on one aspect of a promotion, marketing departments can use automation to create a better picture of whether a campaign will succeed or fail based on whatever objectives they choose.

Data provides the information necessary to make the forecasts and adjustments that makes for a successful marketing strategy. Combining analytics with automation becomes the next essential step in perfecting campaigns of varying stripes.

Analytics driven by real metrics
Data is becoming the essential tool to drive analytics forward. According to Unica, now owned by IBM, 57 percent of marketers said that “measurements, analysis and learning” was the most significant obstacle in delivering campaign success. Automation has helped mitigate that to some degree through various forms of gathering data.

“Cost-per-lead and conversion rates provide a better chance at measuring success.”

The main bottleneck in getting analytics to work is in finding actual measurements that are specific to marketing, according to marketing firm HubSpot. For the most part, when marketers use automation software, they tend to follow Web-based metrics, including bounce rate, unique visitors, overall traffic and click-thru rates. These metrics are basic at best and require additional analysis just to get key information on the results of any given campaign. Marketers should focus on attaining more important metrics such as cost per lead, conversion rates and others through gathering data on marketing operations. Consequently there is a better chance of actually measuring the marketing strategy for what it is rather than what it looks like to web designers.

Understanding the customer
Another major factor in implementing data is to understand customer behavior better. A major concern is that businesses are unable to properly direct customers to buy their products and services. That’s because while marketers are trying to treat the lead generation and conversion process as a funnel, consumers don’t necessarily behave that way – especially on the Web. They have different shopping patterns, and many don’t approach a particular brand or company until they’ve already made a decision. Data can help marketing departments understand these shifts in decision-making to the point of making real-time adjustments in the way people view products and services. That contributes to higher success in an overall marketing strategy.