This habit seems so obvious that we shouldn’t have to call it out, but do you remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry makes a rental car reservation and the car isn't there when he gets there? If you've forgotten, here is a 40 second clip.
Some days I feel like yelling at marketers "You know how to add the data, but do you know how to review the data?"
Here is how to get going on this habit:
View your marketing data points as tactical tools, not just the raw ingredients for executive reports. Yes, you may also need to generate reports specific to your management teams, but take ownership of the data to help make the most of your marketing efforts.
- Review your marketing activity 24-48 hours after launch. While you can look at individual channels such as email or the social platform, it can be the most valuable to review it in a consolidated spot - such as Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics so you can see all the channels at once. You can certainly wait longer, but this gives you the quick feedback that is available for online campaigns. You may also have evergreen online campaigns, such as nurtures or content. For those, review the analytics at a regular pace.
- Play detective with your data. This isn’t data for data’s sake - it's the foundation of your next marketing campaign. Look at the various channels and dig into what the data actually shows:
- Which channels are working best?
- Can you tell if certain types of content resonate better on various platforms?
- Do you see any patterns in the data that might help you craft better content?
- Does this data tell me any new information about my customers and prospects? <-- This may be my favorite question.
- What data matters to the audience?
- Where do they spend their digital time?
Marketing data can be a treasure trove of information if you approach it with curiosity.
- Use this campaign’s data to make the next campaign better. The underlying goal of all marketing reporting is to help you understand the success of past actions so that you can make better decisions for the future. Use the insights that you gleaned from these reports to create better content and promote it in more relevant places to drive the most engagement with your company. Engagement is step one towards building pipeline and increasing revenue.
A few caveats about this habit:
*When I use the term ‘campaign’ it might sound like it is only applicable to a specific, time-based initiative, but I mean it in the broadest sense possible. You may have marketing efforts that run year round dedicated to a certain market or product. You can still approach your data this way. The cadence of reporting may be different, but you should keep the same hungry approach for insights.
This advise jumps right into reporting on online campaign* activity now because it's the type of information you get pretty immediate feedback on. You should continue to do regular cadence (weekly, monthly, quarterly) reviews of how all your efforts are performing across both online and offline categories.