Is Data-Driven Decision-Making (3D) at the Heart of Your Marketing Organization?
Here is the process we developed for creating a results reporting function.
Step 1. Decide what you want to measure.
This is not as straight forward as you might imagine. You need to engage with the marketing team, determine their key performance indicators (KPIs), and find out what decisions they want to inform with these metrics. Are they trying to become more efficient, more effective, and redirect resources and budget? Are you going to measure marketing influence, and is there an attribution model for that?
Now prioritize these metrics and KPIs based on impact to the business. Notice we did NOT discuss how to measure them; where to measure them; and broader data, process and system requirements. That comes later!
Step 2. Determine what reports you will need to measure the KPIs and metrics you selected.
With the metrics and KPI requirements in hand, determine what set of reports are required to effectively provide that data. What are the parameters and dimensions that define these reports? In what systems will the reports be generated?
Step 3: Identify the data, processes, and systems that you need to create the reports.
Are the fields present and collecting data currently in the systems you wish to run the reports in? Are new integrations or file transfers required? Do your teams currently update the data in a reliable way? What data import processes need to be redesigned to support these reports? Will your existing technology stack support the reporting you need for effective decision-making? Will you use Excel, a marketing automation platform, a CRM, or some combination of all of these to produce the reports?
Step 4: Commission someone to build the reports.
Don’t send the initial reports to a wide audience because it is highly likely you will uncover unknown data issues and process issues. Also, there is a risk that the reports won’t conform to a widely held view of how things are, and you need to be pretty sure the data and the reports are spot on before you start that battle. You don’t want to lose reporting credibility just as you are getting started.
Step 5: Determine how to interpret the reports to generate meaningful insights.
Reports alone will not provide the answers and insights necessary to make better decisions. You need these reports visualized and contextualized to facilitate analysis. What dimensions should be used to slice the data into something meaningful? What time series should be used to present the data to unveil trends — week over week, month over month, quarter over quarter? Which metrics and KPIs should be presented together? In this step you’re doing the critical work of making your data consumable.
Step 6: Drive the change to becoming a data-driven decision making organization.
Start the cadence of daily, weekly and monthly reporting. Push your teams to provide data evidence to support their claims and decisions. Model this same behavior yourself. Also, be prepared to adapt the reports to what the teams really wanted in order to make decisions (there’s nothing like seeing the report you asked for to help you really understand what you wanted). This regular distribution and consumption of the reports is critical to truly embedding data-driven-decision making into your marketing organization.
Executive Leadership and Support for the Change
Getting teams to the point of analyzing the data and making data-based decisions on a daily basis will not happen just organically. Leadership has to lead in this practice and drive it down into the organization. Provide the training and resources necessary to bring the team up to speed. And allow time for the organization to acclimate to these new expectations.
Kevin Joyce is VP of strategy services for The Pedowitz Group. He's a marketing executive with 34 years of experience in high tech, in positions in engineering, marketing, and sales. In the past 16 years Mr. Joyce has worked with many companies on their revenue marketing and demand generation strategies. With a unique combination of marketing skills and sales experience he helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing.
Mr. Joyce has successfully launched numerous products and services as a Director of Product Marketing at Sequent, as a Director of Sales at IBM, as Vice President of Marketing at Unicru, and as CEO at Rubicon Marketing Group. He has been VP of Marketing Strategy with the Pedowitz Group for more than six years. He holds a BS in Engineering from the University of Limerick, Ireland and a MBA from the University of Portland. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Download TPG’s new white paper: "TPG ONE: A New Approach to the Customer Journey."