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Data Analytics: Like a Boss

We need to have a discussion about marketing analytics; primarily, we need to discuss what this means because I’m seeing two distinct camps forming and using the same terminology. The first camp is about using data to mine for business intelligence related to marketing strategy and efforts; this is what the Certificate in Business Analytics and MS Degree in Business Analytics is all about. The second camp is about using data to mine for business intelligence for use in optimizing your website, advertising, SEO, SEM and general quantitative online efforts. Yes, there is overlap, but when you’re first starting to pull at that analytics thread it can be frustrating to sign up for something and then find out that the focus of the discussion isn’t quite what you were expecting. This last week I participated in one of each so it seems like just the right time to point this out.

Big things have been happening in class lately – last week we had a speaker from Microsoft talk with us about a couple of products that they offer. THEN, in addition to my Business Analytics class, I attended a four-day session offered by our Executive Education group on Marketing Data Analysis because that’s my specific area of interest. Between the two, last week was a gold mine of things I NEED.

Spoiler Alert: I’ve now got a short list of applications that, if I spend the time to master them, will allow me to own marketing analytics like a boss. Here it is:

Azure: There were a lot of bells and whistles here that I’m sure are really important to many people, and, like my sobering education with Excel, are probably things that I just don’t have the sense to know that I need yet. Other good news, a one-month trial is free and if you do end up subscribing, they offer an a la carte approach to services so you only pay for what you use; kind of awesome if you’re on contract or if your organization is too small to justify a big expense (I love Google Analytics but what they’re asking for the Universal upgrade is pause-inducing). Azure is a cloud service that (among other things) gives you access to data that you most likely don’t have collected on your company’s servers. It’s like PowerQuery in Excel, but better.

Usertesting.com: Do qualitative UX without spending $50,000. An excellent way to get quick-and-dirty feedback on site changes, conversion points, content, design, etc. The best part was that I didn’t have to embed any code, which makes everyone happy.

Qualaroo: Yes, this is a service that gives you one of those small pop-up questions on your page that a percentage of your users are going to find annoying. But if the cost/benefit is there, this is a really nice tool for gathering in-page impressions.

Survey Monkey: This is a good tool if you already have access to your user base. It lets you create qualitative or quantitative surveys to email to them.

Fiverr: I’m throwing this out there in the hope that I’m not the last person on the planet to know about Fiverr. Fiverr is a site that connects you to people who will do tasks for you for a minimum of $5. I haven’t used it yet, and the ”you get what you pay for” part of me is a bit skeptical, but the marketing professional who recommended it was giddy and effusive in recommending it.

Protovis: A library of free, downloadable graphs for data visualization. Very cool, very pretty, but you can’t be afraid of a little coding.

Canva: An online tool that lets you play designer. It’ll never be as good as something done by a professional designer, but if you don’t have access to one, it’s a really solid alternative.

Opus Magnum will follow Ghislaine’s progress through the certificate program. A native New Yorker by way of Texas, Ghislaine has a long career in marketing from large multi-national corporations to small niche agencies. Ghislaine completed her St. Thomas MBA in 2008 and in her own words, “I liked St. Thomas so much I went to work for the organization.”