Almost every store sells digitally today, especially since the pandemic and the need for capturing digital data and data analysis which is more important today than ever. However, with the change in customer needs and demands, the way analytics should be perceived and inferred has also changed.
Alex Savage, Head of Digital Analytics – ABS-CBN; Hendro Riyadi, SVP Product – Ruangguru; Basker Rangachari, Chief Products Marketing Officer at Home Credit China; Julio Bermudez, VP of Emerging Markets at Amplitude; and Anmol Arora, Regional Director at MoEngage get together to discuss how product analytics and customer engagement platforms should be used to drive growth and give exciting insights into the world of analytics in the process.
Twenty years ago, marketing was a sales-led process, and strategies involved direct contact activities like cold calling. A buyer’s interactions were limited to the one representative who called them, and they got all their brand, product, and service information from them. This was essentially the case across all industries.
With the spread of the internet came the first marketing revolution. Brands now had a digital presence through websites, and buyers could get all their information through a company site.
Even with the digitization processes, marketing strategies were still sales-led and involved ‘pushing’ content to the buyer, says Basker. The delivery medium had changed, but the underlying concept was still the same – push the product and the brand.
But that has changed today, and the pandemic probably accelerated this change, but now marketing is more than just pushing content. Today, marketing has changed from a sales-led to a product-led process. It’s not the cold caller or the website that promotes the product, but the product itself becomes the sales agent.
And that’s because just attracting customers through strategies like SEO and SEM is not enough. The app has to engage the customer, upsell features, and retain the customer, or they will switch vendors and never return. In essence, Marketing continues even once the customer has been acquired, through the product itself.
And that defines what analytics is today. Product analytics is no more about metrics on a dashboard than asking questions. Most marketers believe data tools answer questions, but the reality is that analytics should raise questions, says Julio. Why did the numbers spike last week? Why is customer A spending more time on Feature X? And so on. Marketing and analytics should both be product-led processes.
Alex takes this discussion forward by explaining that product analytics has to do more than give metrics. The product analytics platform has to work for those using it – the marketers, data analysts, and so on.
In his experience, analytics has to be transparent and offer a uniform data source accessible and easily usable by consumers within the business, even those less technically inclined.
Once business objectives and KPIs are defined, teams have to be trained to understand how analytics can achieve those KPIs and even push the boundaries beyond those KPIs. When teams take ownership of their KPIs, they have the power to influence growth and elevate the company. The implementation of a product analytics tool should happen to help consumers achieve their business goals.
That said, there is a customer-targeted use for product analytics. In the media and entertainment sector, product analytics are being used to understand what content works and what doesn’t, what content customers should be recommended based on their behavior, how different cohorts should be targeted, and so on, says Alex.
A customer engagement platform helps enterprises reach their customers and nurture them. It gives them the tools to communicate, promote, and serve while also analyzing data (like which channels customers entered through, what campaigns they interacted with, etc.) that gives actionable insights.
Once the engagement platform has helped the company acquire a customer, the product analytics platform gives them specific user-product-interaction data like the number of logins per day, average time spent on the app, interactions, etc.
All four panelists agree that both platforms – customer engagement and product analytics- are not just essential but complementary.
The customer engagement platform attracts customers who generate product analytics, and the insights from the product analytics platform help marketers create better strategies to attract more customers using the customer engagement platform. The two platforms act as a feedback system for each other.
For brands that do need a chronological order for setup (maybe because of budget constraints), the customer engagement platform should ideally be the first platform implemented, followed by the product analytics platform, says Hendro. Eventually, however, the business will get the best results by integrating both platforms to propel each other.
Circling back to the definition of analytics put forward by the panelists, analytics has to be product-led and not sales-led. To understand this better, Julio explains how data analysis should be based on behavior, not demographics.
Conventionally, analytics was numbers that delivered demographic insights – customers from which geography engaged the most, which gender converts higher, and so on. This allowed marketers to create cohorts and create marketing strategies for each.
This is not the only use case for analytics today. Today, analytics must be product-focused – which features were used the most, which sections retained customers’ attention, which modules have the highest bounce rate, etc. Analytics should be used to ask questions and put forward hypotheses. Why is traffic higher in the evenings? Why do customers bounce when asked to enter their phone number for login but not email?
Using analytics this way automatically involves the whole team, which Alex was talking about earlier – teams work towards achieving their KPIs and elevating growth.
The final piece of the puzzle is explaining the implementation of platforms, especially when marketers pitch the need for two solutions – a customer engagement platform and a product analytics platform.
Decision-makers like CEOs and CFOs are extremely well-informed today thanks to the easy availability of information, says Basker. There has to be a concrete justification for purchasing any solution.
The right way forward is by defining how the platforms will be used and what outcomes can be expected. These also become the KPIs you measure after the platform is implemented and help you measure ROI.
The use and outcomes should be product-centric or service-centric and not data-centric. The purpose should not be to ‘capture more data’, the goal should be ‘to identify why CPC for search campaigns is high and how to reduce it.’ The former results in an ocean of data marketers will not know how to use, and the ROI will not be justifiable. The latter clearly defines the KPI – to reduce CPC.
The impact product analytics and customer engagement tools have on growth are evident, and the panelists vouch for this. Brands that do online business should weigh the pros and cons and plan an implementation strategy to create growth momentum.