If you want to know how powerful marketing analytics can really be—and how to do it well—just look to the companies that do it best. That’s one of the key lessons of the Marketing Analytics Leadership Award (MALA), established by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) to champion advancement of marketing measurement and accountability. MALA is a competition showcasing the companies that lead in analytics innovation and effectiveness. (The award is presented by MarketShare.)

Marketing trade publication Warc recently ran an in-depth piece about each of the three 2014 MALA finalists, highlighting the planning that goes into a strong analytics program—and the results it drives.

The numbers were impressive, to say the least:

  • Management consultancy McKinsey “has reported that adopting an integrated approach to analytics could free up 15-20% of marketing expenditure”.
  • Through its use of analytics, telecommunications and technology services company C Spire increased the effectiveness of its customer retention campaigns by 50%, and boosted its cross-selling by 270%. (C Spire was ultimately named the 2014 MALA winner.)
  • Mobile workspaces leader Citrix can now “validate scenarios and predict business impact with at least 85% accuracy”.
  • Computing and communications component company Intel now has greater insight into marketing impact than ever before. Edwin Derks, insights and market research leader at Intel, explains that the models his teams have built “are, in essence, capturing relationships between our marketing activities, external drivers of our business success along with what it brings us in terms of business success.”

Another key takeaway was that getting cross-departmental participation is a key to analytics success. Intel, for instance, works with models that are “fully supported and built both by marketing and finance.” In other words: to unite marketing and financial data, you need to unite the teams. (The reverse is also true: the data unites the teams as well.)

And how should marketing analytics groups gain that cross-departmental support? Justin Croft, manager/brand platforms and analytics at C Spire, advises to "Pick a high-profile, high-priority area that everyone will be thrilled to have insight into. Then the skillsets, resources and technologies will flow from there."

Of course, not everyone is satisfied with the toe-in-the-water approach. Judith Breisch, staff marketing operations analyst in Citrix's marketing operations and analytics team, comments: "We originally started small – one product, one country. We now wish we had done global, portfolio from the very beginning."

Whether you start big or start small, the message is clear: a well-orchestrated analytics program with cross-team support drives powerful results.

Download the whole article here and learn more about the Marketing Analytics Leadership Award.