Don’t tell our baseball fanatic/CEO Jason, but collecting data is on the verge of surpassing the sport as America’s favorite pastime. Marketers especially seem consumed with analytics, and it’s easy to see why. What better way to prove ROI than to be able to measure and show the effectiveness of your marketing efforts?
However, while presenting data such as the number of people who Liked your page, visited your website, or opened your email shows how things are doing, the question many people tend to skip over is, “Why? Why are things performing the way that they are…or are not?”
The fact is, one of the most important steps involved with analytics is step 2 – the interpretation of the data collected – yet ironically, the analysis part of analytics is often left out, like the middle child in a family with 3 kids.
Having the data is not enough. You need to also know what it means. If you don’t, how can you validate your recommendations? As Jason might put it, going straight from measurement to next moves is like going from first base to third and not touching second!
It’s vital to remember that after you take the first step of gathering information, the next step is not to just present results and keep on keeping on. The next step is actually to take a deeper dive into the data to determine the reasons behind the numbers, the reasons why people behaved the way they did. That way, you don’t just have a number, you have an insight as to how you got it, which leads to better knowledge of what to do next (a.k.a. step 3).
Follow these steps, and when you’re asked why marketing dollars are being shifted from billboards to digital ads, you can confidently say, “Because the majority of additional Likes to your page and traffic to your site came from the ad you ran on Facebook, and more specifically, the incentive you offered, so it makes sense to spend marketing dollars on this approach over others to get the best bang for your buck and boost Likes and traffic even more.”
Now doesn’t that sound better than simply saying, “You have 12 more likes this month.”? And isn’t it also better that you are spending marketing dollars in ways that benefit you most?
We’re a data-loving society alright, and there’s nothing wrong with hopping on the metric bandwagon, but remember: there are three steps to performing analytics, and zero short cuts if you want to get the most out of your efforts.
- Gather the data
- Analyze the information
- Provide insights and make recommendations based on your analysis
Now you’re batting 1.000.