Data Driven: The Battle of Prepositions
As I began writing this column, I was immediately struck by one of the words in the deck. Using "from" suggests fitting new marketing data into an existing process integration after new initiatives are introduced, while the word "with" requires a different approach altogether, indicating a process that considers the data before the initiative is launched. These are very different approaches.
Most existing IT data processes are cyclical, meaning there is a start and an end to each process. Response data is collected, normalized and massaged, put into a reporting framework and then delivered to management where discussion happens, eventually leading to questions. Then the entire process is repeated with each new cycle of a season, year or individual event.
In the case of integrating data "from" new marketing initiatives, the best practices are fairly straightforward.
1. Learn From Others: Start by tuning into trade journals, industry conferences and speaking with peers around the business, learning how others are thinking about the challenges presented by new marketing initiatives. Look for ways to determine what the key performance indicators (KPIs) will be that make up a scorecard for measuring success for the new initiative.
2. Trial and Error Period: Next, begin a trial and error period. By definition, a new marketing initiative means we simply do not know yet where things will end up. Just jump in and trust your instincts that are already well informed by tuning in to peer opportunities. Initial KPIs are established and off we go improving our work with each new response analysis cycle and the resulting business intelligence we gain.
3. Strategic Target: Make sure when working in this environment that the KPIs you end with are relevant to your brand and business objectives. Each new marketing initiative can mean very different things to different businesses. It may be about expanding brand recognition, acquiring new customers, building an email list or any number of other targeted objectives. The key is to have a single strategic target rather than a broad direction for the process.