There’s an ever-increasing complexity in the world of marketing. Being able to sort through all the noise is one thing the best companies do consistently well. The lighthouse within the fog is your data. In this post, I’ll walk you through a short checklist that you can use to design a data-driven marketing strategy & team.
A data-driven marketing strategy has three major components: Metrics & KPIs, Technology, and Reporting. In my experience, teams are already doing certain things well, and the question here is how to get better across all three areas.
I created a free Google Sheets checklist that you can use to rate how your team is currently performing. Simply open up the following link and follow the instructions within it.
I’m interested in building on success instead of telling teams all the things they are doing wrong. The checklist items you’ll read below will show you different ways to level up your current efforts and get more insights and value out of your data.
Metrics / KPIs
Connect business goals with key success metrics, e.g., increase customer lifetime value by measuring LTV as a key success metric.
You want to connect your metrics and KPIs with tangible business outcomes. It’s not enough to know your CAC, but you should also know how it ties into the overall company strategy. There’s no point in optimizing metrics that aren’t important to the business. This is the equivalent of losing the basketball game but doing well in metrics like steals and blocks.
Select key success metrics across the conversion funnel
Conversion funnels are standard for marketing teams, and you should strive to have metrics along the entire funnel. Examples of these metrics include paid ads clicks, landing page conversions, website behavior, conversion actions such as sign up or purchases, or revenue. Define your conversion funnel and then track all the major actions.
Pick actionable segments to help you slice and dice your data, e.g., segment users by demographics and behaviors
There’s a saying in the analytics world that “average lies but segments don’t.” Your average CAC is a good metric, but it doesn’t tell you the entire story. Being able to slice this metric by channel, campaign, user demographics, and more will be incredibly helpful for understanding how to improve it.
Set targets (quarterly, monthly, or yearly) & actionable plans for each of your business KPIs.
Once you know your metrics, make sure to have clear targets. At some point, performance is “good enough,” and you can move on to other high priority activities. Targets allow your team to know where to focus their energy.
Data Tracking & Technology Stack
Track critical events or user engagement happening in your product or website, e.g., UTM tracking, revenue, etc
Data tracking should include all the significant actions users can take while in your conversion funnel. Think about this from two perspectives: quantitative and qualitative. On the quantitative side, you can track how many times people view pages, download resources, or complete purchases. On the qualitative side, focus on heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys.
Talk with your team to ensure that everyone knows each event’s purpose or data point the users take within your product or website.
The goal here is to look at any data point and know exactly what they mean. If you have an event named “click,” then you should also know what the user is clicking and where the clicking is taking place. Documentation of data can happen within analytics tools or outside of them in Google Docs or Wikis.
Check that your technology stack is set up accurately, and that you have the proper data schema.
There are two elements to consider here. First, you want to ensure that there are no technical errors in the data itself. Second, you want to double-check that your team trusts the data. It is possible to have data that is technically fine but that your team doesn’t trust. Trust is strengthened by having someone verify the accuracy and explain any discrepancies.
Choose the most suitable software tool(s) to help your team run campaigns and collect data insights.
This is where the world of “marketing stacks” comes in. Your team will need to use multiple software tools, and these tools should make your team’s life easier, not harder. Look at how much time is being spent in “set up.” You might be able to streamline your approach with the right technology.
Reporting & Decision Making
You can take action based on where you see users drop off in your conversion funnel.
Once you know the performance of your conversion funnel, you can start to take action. This might mean redesigning your landing page, changing your ads’ copy, or changing your buyer persona. The goal here is to identify what needs to improve.
You have reports and the capability to determine how good you are at converting users.
You might have the data, but are you able to summarize it in a way that is easy to digest? The goal here is to sort through all the noise to show your data’s most critical elements.
Your team can make quick decisions without getting bogged down in too much data or uncertainty.
You’ll come across decisions where the answer isn’t apparent. This is especially true when it comes to strategic matters. In these situations, is your team able to move forward despite not having all the answers? If you do have too much data, are you able to deal with data overwhelm?
Your reports and dashboards are visually effective and easy-to-read.
Reports and dashboards are how most people will engage with the data. Are they easy to read? Data should also be converted into as many formats as possible. This means that you should strive to have dashboards, email digests, raw data exports, presentations, and other ways to disperse the information. This also ties into how you think about your data culture.
You don’t have to tackle all of these items at once. Instead, look for the ones with the most significant impact and lowest score. That’s your starting point and how your marketing team gets more insights and growth out of your data.