As a measurement and analytics consultant at a marketing agency, I spend a lot of time talking to brand executives and industry experts about challenges with marketing measurement and analytics. I frequently hear comments such as “I want best-in-class measurement, but I don’t know how to get there” or “We have a good analytics team. I know we could be better, but I just don’t know how.”
When your numbers don’t add up, your Excel report takes 10 minutes to open or you struggle to find insights, it can be tempting to hastily invest in unified measurement. However, that rush to a unified measurement solution contains a few common “gotchas” you should make sure to avoid.
1. You think finding insights is the hard part.
In my experience, the toughest path to insights isn’t analytics, it’s your data. If you have trouble finding insights in your data, it could be that your challenge isn’t with your analysis or your analysts, but with the data itself. Integrating CRM data, site data, third-party data, media platform data and more is incredibly complex—often more complex than marketers estimate. How do you reconcile your media platform metrics with your site metrics? What level of identity can you use to tie disparate sources of data together? And once that data is integrated, how will you know where to find the information you want and help others find it as well? Establishing a marketing data management plan and finding experienced marketing data experts is crucial.
2. You are measuring the wrong thing.
“Our spend is up and our conversions are up!” Great, right? Not necessarily. What about your revenue and ROI—are those up as well? How are they calculated? Are you double counting your revenue between marketing channels? It is essential to bring leadership and marketing execution teams together to align on KPIs, their calculation logic and your strategy for how you’ll measure and take action on those KPIs. You can have the best reporting and data environment in the world, but if you’re measuring the wrong metrics or calculating them incorrectly, you’re in a heap of trouble.
3. You are trying to do everything yourself (or asking your agencies or vendors to do everything).
Some organizations leverage agencies for analytics and measurement, while others use homegrown solutions. Whichever you choose, make sure the balance is right for your organization. I see marketers fail when their team is unengaged, expecting the agency or vendor to take on the load. They also frequently fail when they insist on handling everything from strategy to execution to tool development themselves. The most successful unified measurement involves balance and active participation for both. Internal marketers bring knowledge of an organization’s culture, history and strategy. Vendors and agencies provide broad experience across many clients, having seen what works and what fails. To maximize results, consider relationships with vendors and agencies as vital, and treat those relationships as partnerships.
4. You think your Excel reports are “good enough.”
I know you love your pivot table in Excel, but finding an anomaly in that 100-row, 20-column sheet takes time. Look at the same data in an effective data visualization instead, and you’ll find that anomaly in a second—it’s the glaring big red data point. Data visualization has caught on as a trend over the past few years because it works. Period. Marketers who insist on top-quality data visualization are much more effective at finding insights in their data than those who demand large crosstabs in Excel.
5. You assume there is a unified measurement methodology unicorn.
I am often asked by clients what the “right” measurement strategy looks like. The truth of the matter is there is no magical undiscovered strategy. There is no perfect combination of media mix modeling, multitouch attribution, site attribution and KPI choice. The best measurement strategy is the right measurement strategy for your organization. What are your goals and business objectives? Which KPIs and models should you leverage to help you achieve those goals? And how can you make those scalable as your questions increase in complexity? Gain clarity on your priorities first, and then strategically partner with experts to ensure you will drive the results you want to achieve.
Overall, the best unified measurement strategy is one that aligns with your company’s goals, analyzes what you need measured and gives you results that work for you—not a one-size-fits-all solution. This isn’t necessarily the easiest approach, but if it provides the information your company needs to grow and prosper, then it’s well worth the time and effort you and your agency and vendor partners invest in it.