The Analytics Hiring Imperative
Web sites can produce a staggering amount of marketing information, but this data is only useful if a marketer can analyze it and then take action to address the opportunities that are identified. And search engine marketing (SEM) activities can make this all the more complicated. “The search recipe contains so many different factors—bids, keywords, matchpoints and more,” explains Josh Stylman, managing partner of SEM firm Reprise Media. He adds that most online retailers and catalogers don’t have the in-house capabilities to build the necessary infrastructure to handle this volume of data.
While there’s no shortage of analytics tools on the market, these offerings are fragmented and can’t be expected to provide marketers with the ability to get a full picture of their online activities, says Jeffrey Rohrs, president of interactive marketing agency Optiem. Marketers have to make an investment in their in-house analytical capabilities, he stresses, so they’re able to track and measure online results in a meaningful way. Stylman adds that even better is for marketers to set up their online analytics in a way that they can compare results in this channel to those achieved by their offline channels, enabling a 360-degree view of marketing ROI.
While some marketers already might have this on-staff expertise, to a degree, they likely have not trained these analysts how to interpret the online channel, says Lisa Wehr, found and CEO of SEM firm Oneupweb. Right now, the big analytics firms hire out their staff at phenomenal hourly rates to help marketers with this data-crunching chore.
Without a doubt, the next wave of hiring for direct marketers is that of in-house analytics experts, she notes, which will lead to even stronger SEM competition for those firms that don’t get a handle on their ability to measure the effectiveness of their online spend.