There has been more discussion about cross-channel analytics as more organizations leverage both digital and traditional vehicles in their communication mix.

The emergence of Yahoo Web Analytics, Adobe's acquisition of Omniture (recall that Omniture acquired Visual Sciences, WebSideStory, Offermatica, Instadia, and TouchClarity), and Google's continued push into the enterprise all signal an increased emphasis on multichannel data analysis.

Before exploring what cross-channel analytics is and how marketers can use it to analyze customer behavior, it makes sense to define analytics and how analytics is being used by marketers.

Basically, analytics is about deriving insights from data. Analysis involves breaking data into smaller parts to increase insight.

For example, chemical analysis entails breaking down chemical processes to understand the chemical reactions between elements of matter. In their books Competing on Analytics and Super Crunchers, Thomas Davenport and Ian Ayres, respectively, make compelling cases for the value of a structured analytics practice in business as a way to create a competitive advantage.

Davenport says that the creation of strategic data assets and business processes is one of the "last remaining points of differentiation" in an increasingly competitive world. More specifically, marketing analytics is a methodical examination of customer and market data to increase understanding of the customer and the market to make and take action to improve your competitive advantage.

What Is Cross-Channel Analytics?

Organizations that pull together data from various marketing programs across different channels use cross-channel analytics to understand the impact of each channel on customer behavior.

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image of Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM