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“Without an analytics strategy, marketers are just writing checks.”

Before founding Alight Analytics, Michelle Jacobs directed Web analytics, marketing and advertising strategies for companies such as H&R Block, American Century Investments, Saatchi & Saatchi and Toyota.

Prior to founding Alight Analytics, Matt was a marketing intelligence consultant for AMC Theaters, a CIO at DATACORE and served as an executive leading database marketing, eBusiness, CRM and Web strategies at companies such as American Century Investments and Payless ShoeSource.

Alight Analytics is an independent marketing analytics firm offering industry leading, multi-channel marketing analytics solutions for global marketers. By uniting their clients’ offline and online marketing channel data, they provide a transparent, comprehensive view of marketing performance and return on investment. Put simply, they help companies make data-driven marketing decisions. The winning combination of their people, process and platform deliver a full-service, holistic solution for their clients.

Alight

BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to launch a business together?

Michelle: We met at American Century Investments then reconnected a few years later. Since we were both consulting in the analytics space at the time, we decided to join forces. Matt’s strengths in business strategy and technology solutions are a great compliment for my marketing and advertising background. We always joke that together we have one brain, but it is true that our skills are the perfect combination for today’s world of marketing analytics. Marketers must understand data, technology and marketing to be successful and we are experts in all aspects.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the inspiration and development process behind building a business analytics solution that is focused on the integration of three key pillars?

Matt: Our inspiration is our clients. Our clients challenge us every day to solve the unique problems and opportunities they encounter as they work to optimize their marketing. Our three pillars (people, process and platform) are the result of us innovating for our clients. We started as a web analytics firm, but just having accurate, reliable web performance data wasn’t enough. They wanted to know what all this data means, so we developed a platform to integrate all marketing performance data then built a team of analysts to craft the data into a story. Our analytics value curve, Track – Measure – Target – Predict, is the process we employ to take our clients from web analytics tracking to sophisticated omni-channel attribution modeling, the final pillar that unites our people and platform into one holistic analytics solution.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you expand on the significance of being a pioneer in multi-channel marketing analytics and the advantage this provides your clients?

Matt: As a pioneer in marketing analytics, our clients have a distinct advantage over their competitors, as they are better stewards of their marketing budgets and have better alignment of marketing to sales. They aren’t forced to analyze data in silos or rely on last click attribution models. Our clients can analyze all their marketing channels, online and offline, while applying customized attribution models to optimize their marketing efforts. Our proven process has been refined and improved over the last seven years and a lot of organizations are just now entering this space and trying to figure it out for the first time. Many marketers and executive leadership are just now grasping the importance of marketing measurement, yet many of them have little experience in the space. We have seen agencies and corporations alike attempt to build a marketing analytics solution in-house, but have failed. It is difficult to find the proper skillsets, someone who understands both marketing and technology at a detailed level yet is strategic enough to develop a functioning solution. It will come eventually, but our years of additional experience will always keep us on the forefront of innovation.

BusinessInterviews.com: Do you think that all companies should have a marketing measurement strategy in place?

Matt: Yes, without a doubt! If a company is spending money on marketing, marketers need to become investors. Without an analytics strategy, marketers are just writing checks. Marketing needs to be treated as an investment, not an expense.

BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would to give to someone about to use Google Analytics for their first time?

Michelle: Start with determining what business questions you want to answer. Google Analytics can be overwhelming for the first time user and it is common to get focused on a particular metric that may not be critical to the business. While it may seem like a good first step to analyze straightforward metrics like time on site or total visits, those typically aren’t answering key business questions. Figure out what you need to know to turn your website into a virtual sales person and build your measurement strategy from there. This approach ensures that the user will be focused on actionable analytics and, in time, will be able to ask even more sophisticated questions.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share with our readers how you’re driven to help clients build a data-driven culture through your proven four step methodology?

Michelle: A data-driven culture is about more than fancy attribution models and slick dashboard reports. A data-driven culture beings with the right attitude; the mindset that marketing should be viewed as an investment not an expense. From there, our four step methodology ensures that clients start at the beginning. Confirming all data sources are being tracked correctly and completely is the first step, then combining those into our ChannelMix marketing data warehouse delivers a single source of truth. Only then is it prudent to begin reporting and building models. If you attempt to skip the initial steps in the process and begin reporting results that are incomplete or inaccurate, naysayers immediately begin to punch holes in your data and tear down the data-driven culture you are trying so hard to build.

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