If you’ve got analytics, you have insights waiting to be discovered. Are you finding them and using them to drive value for your business?
There are few things as full of hype, promise and sexiness as “big data” and we have more data than ever before, yet marketers are challenged to parse terabytes of noise to get a megabyte of signal. Too many practitioners are focusing on reports and dashboards instead of analysis, and not reaping the promised benefits.
I am a student of the art and science of digital marketing, which is increasingly driven by the principles of decision science and continuous improvement that have informed my career in large-scale content production management. I am currently studying Social Media Marketing through Northwestern University. The purpose of this blog is to both practice the craft and share the best bits of what I’m learning along the way. Today’s catch includes 3 tips from two of the industry’s top minds on how to get the biggest bang for you big-data buck.
#1) Use the Scientific Method
- Get a marketing idea
- Ask a question that supports the idea
- Find the report that provides the answer
- Proceed with the idea (or reject it) based on the answer
- Measure the impact
In short, Andy suggests following the scientific method which includes forming a hypothesis, challenging it with data, and using the resulting insights to make better decisions and do better marketing.
“There is an ocean of data in your Analytics. And it’s fun to swim in the ocean. But it doesn’t really get you anywhere. If you’re just looking at reports, without answering questions, testing hypotheses or drawing conclusions, you’re not doing Analysis.”
– Andy Crestodina
He then goes on to give an easy to follow example of this process for each of the four reporting categories found within Google Analytics; Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, Conversions.
For example, do you think increasing social media activity might generate leads? Ask the question, “Which social network refers the most engaged visitors to our site?” A Google Analytics Acquisition report can tell you where referrals are coming from, what pages they are visiting, and how long they stay, and whether conversion rates vary meaningfully from other sources. The answers can determine whether it makes sense to test the idea. If so, measure the impact and see if the original hypothesis is proven correct. Either way, you can repeat the process to further refine the strategy’s performance or explore other options, compiling valuable insights on what does and doesn’t work along the way.
Read the full article “Google Analytics Reporting vs. Analysis: Insights From 4 Reports”
Anyone entering the realm of digital marketing and analytics will soon recognize Avinash Kaushik as a key thought leader in the industry. On his blog, Occam’s Razor, Kaushik has written extensively on how to use big data to find insights that drive action with timely value.
In his blog post, “A Big Data Imperative: Driving Big Action“, Kaushik acknowledges the potential and the challenges posed by big data.
“It is great that we have big data. It is greater that we have such amazing promise in that big data. It is sucky that almost no one knows what to do with it in the context of driving actual business value.”
– Avanish Kaushik
#2) Invest in people, not tools (the 90/10 rule)
Kaushik is adamant that for every $100 budgeted to invest in making smart decisions, invest $10 in tools, and invest $90 in big brains (aka people).
Don’t build the biggest, baddest big data environment over 32 months, only to realize it was your biggest, baddest mistake.”
Computers and artificial intelligence are simply not there yet. Hence your BFF is natural intelligence.
Let the 10/90 rule be an inspiration to simply over-invest (way over-invest) in people, because without that investment big data will absolutely, positively, be a big disappointment for your company.
While systems and tools can provide access to massive quantities of data, with ranks of impressive reports and dashboards, actionable insights that drive value remain the province of the analyst. Be sure to invest your budget accordingly.
#3) The Digital Marketing and Measurement Model
To aid “big data revolutionaries” in their quest, Kaushik has published a five-step framework called “The Digital Marketing and Measurement Model”, which contributes to structured thinking about what the real purpose of a campaign is, and the determination of an objective set of measures with which to identify success.
- Identify the business objectives upfront and set the broadest parameters for the work we are doing. Sr. Executives play a key role in this step.
- Identify crisp goals for each business objective. Executives lead the discussion, you’ll play a contributing role.
- Write down the key performance indicators. You’ll lead the work in this step, in partnership with a “data person” if you have one.
- Set the parameters for success upfront by identifying targets for each KPI. Organization leaders play a key role here, with input from Marketing and Finance.
- Identify the segments of people / behavior / outcomes that we’ll analyze to understand why we succeed or failed.
Follow this link to read the full text of Avanish Kaushik’s post on “The Digital Marketing and Measurement Model”
Remember these 3 keys to driving value from big data
- Be Scientific: Start with an idea, convert it into a question, find a report that answers it, reject or proceed with the idea, and measure the impact.
- Invest in People: Direct 90% of your analytics investment in people, who are your source for actionable insights.
- Follow the Model: Define the objective, set goals, document KPIs, determine success parameters, identify causes for success or failure.
Follow these three principles and make the difference between good and great marketing.
Nick Krueger is a 17-year veteran of the analog magazine publishing and retail marketing communications business, with the last 9 years managing the execution of print marketing programs at RadioShack.
Nick has a B.S. in Operations Management from the University of Memphis, an M.B.A. from the University of North Texas, and is currently enrolled in Social Media Marketing with Northwestern University via Coursera.