Google Jumps Into Marketing: Is Analytics Enough?
By: Patricia Lundy
Last week Google announced Google Analytics 360 Suite for enterprise marketers. Currently available in limited Beta, it’s essentially a data center that integrates with your CRM platform to reveal insights about digital customer journeys with the goal of making your ads, website, and social engagements not only more relevant, but tailored specifically to the needs of certain buyer behaviors and profiles. These capabilities also enable marketers to find prospective buyers across all of their online channels who are similar to their current customers, a feature that is especially relevant and strategic as marketers increasingly find themselves striving for sales and marketing alignment.
Google Analytics 360 Suite vs. Adobe Marketing Cloud
While some press (such as TechCrunch) have asserted that Google Analytics 360 Suite will challenge Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, our view is that they won’t, at least, not unless they add additional capabilities, such as the ability to send email campaigns. Email is still an integral part of the marketer’s strategy – an “old standard” if you will. Adobe Marketing Cloud has this, making it a complete platform, like Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Marketo (whose applications are available in bundles), among others.
Google Analytics 360 Suite is a data and analytics suite, so a comparison to Adobe Marketing Cloud isn’t necessarily appropriate. Google’s suite will be ideal for large enterprises who have a marketing team dedicated to analytics, or SMB who have Marketing Analysts. More often than not, SMB marketing teams are in search of a complete suite – and they will not find that in Google Analytics 360 Suite – at least, not in this iteration.
The Rise of the Niche Marketing Platform
Google Analytics 360 Suite is just one type of marketing platform. Another popular type is the content marketing platform (think Percolate) which is ideal for content marketers and social media marketers. These platforms are perfect for an extensive marketing team that has myriad roles – but what about if you are a small or medium sized business with a marketing team that has limited resources?
Marketing platforms have saturated the applications market. There are so many to choose from with so many different capabilities. Choosing which platform – or which platforms – to use depends on the needs of your team. It all comes down to how people work. Will your small marketing team benefit from an analytics platform, a content marketing/scheduling platform, and a complete marketing automation platform? More is not always better.
Choosing Which Platform Is Right for You
When looking at Marketing Tools and Platforms, keep in mind that there advantages of a one-vendor solution, and there are disadvantages, too. In addition to the platform or suite’s capabilities, the key thing to remember when evaluating Marketing Tools for your enterprise is who will use them. Here are some additional questions to ask yourself:
- How easy is the platform to learn and use?
- Is it easy to deploy?
- Which capabilities are most important to me? Which are required to get my work done?
- Which capabilities are needed on a day-to-day basis? Which should be reserved for special campaigns/events?
- What is the cost of this platform? Does the price match its value to my team?
While a platform that specializes in Digital Analytics, such as Google Analytics 360 Suite, can deliver impressive insights, most users can already pull analytics from their current marketing automation platform as well as directly from social channels (such as Twitter analytics) and ad campaigns. The features that comprise Google Analytics 360 Suite aren’t revolutionary – they have simply been integrated into one platform. Additionally, it’s important to note that Google’s suite focuses on providing metrics for a very specific part of the customer profile and journey – the journey that relates to Google advertising products (AdWords, DoubleClick Bid Manager, AdSense, & AdMob).
Marketing Tools Should Streamline Your Process – Not Impede It
Platforms are all about streamlining the digital marketing process and keeping things organized. While the insights gleaned from platforms with a specific approach to one aspect of digital marketing – such as Google Analytics 360 Suite – can be valuable to understanding your customers and prospective buyers, there are marketing platforms with additional capabilities (such as email campaigns and online event management) that already provide analytics about the customer journey. Platforms, suites, and clouds should be evaluated against how they make the digital marketer’s job easier, whether that marketer is specifically in charge of analytics or oversees a much large part of the enterprise digital marketing strategy.