Is Data-Driven Decision-Making (3D) at the Heart of Your Marketing Organization?
It is a satisfying experience to attend a marketing status meeting and hear the broader team excitedly talking about changing their immediate plans based on last week’s or last month’s significant shift in a trendline.
Components of Your Results Reporting Process
- Metrics/KPI requirements — What decisions do they want to make based on the data?
- What is the right frequency for updating those decisions?
- What is the context for the data to support a good decision (comparison data?)
- Data Sources: what data is needed to support those decisions and metrics?
- Reporting technology: Where are the reports run? Do these systems support the output desired, subscription and distribution, have access to all the data required? Does your data architecture support running the reports you want in specific systems or was reporting a forgotten afterthought?
- Roles: Who owns, maintains and modifies the reports? Don’t assume that the report author is the same person who is familiar with the data — the data czar. Also the person who interprets the report might be yet a third person — a marketing business analyst. All 3 roles may need to be in the room when an important data-driven decision is being made.
- Standards: If your report creation is centralized it may not be as big an issue, but if you are global, and want to be able to roll up marketing reports from each of the regions, you have to drive standards for data collection, report building, naming, and presentation. The same business rules (think filters on the data) need to be applied and visible on the printed reports so people know they are comparing apples to apples.
- Media: What media will you use for delivering which reports? Are they online, emailed, PDF, Excel, Business Intelligence (BI) system, or MAP/CRM?
- Distribution: How can individuals subscribe and unsubscribe. How can you secure confidential reports? Restrict access and printing?
- Archival: Many firms don’t have a BI system and as a result some reports, which are snapshots of the results at an instant in time, are the only record of the data at that instant. Ie the same report cannot be re-run a month later, showing the exact results at that prior time for comparison to the current run. As a result there may be a need to archive all “runs” of a report, for comparison purposes in the future. How is this done without a BI? Build your own SQL database or use Excel? Obviously this can be laborious so it deserves attention and planning to keep it manageable.
Guiding Principles for Data-Driven Decision (3D) making
Data-driven decision making requires a set of guiding principles to be effective.
- The driving purpose of reporting is to enable data-driven-decisions.
- Do not succumb to ego/vanity reporting.
- Create reports that empower better decisions at the lowest levels – democratize decision making.
- Engender an inquisitive and investigative nature in your organization.
- Leave room for exploration and discovery of patterns.
You are probably already getting results reports. So ask yourself:
- Which of my teams are using these reports, how often, to make better decisions?
- What decisions are the reports informing?
- Are they vanity reports or reports for helping improve marketing performance?
If the reports aren’t driving any decisions or monitoring the health of a process, toss them and go to step 1 above! Audit all the reports in this way. Stop creating reports that no one uses for making decisions or confirming normal operation. My colleague Justin Yopp, who originated many of the ideas in this post also coined the phrase “Become a 3D marketing organization” - meaning Data-Driven Decision making. Are you a 3D organization? How did you do it? What were the biggest hurdles? Here are several examples of marketing dashboards that illustrate 3D thinking.
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."