Towards data driven business

Towards data driven business

The last couple of months have been both busy and insightful.

Two of the projects I have been working on sit firmly in the evaluation and measurement space. One around developing a measurement framework to support digital marketing and one around a series of workshops focusing on overall marketing effectiveness – across owned, earned and bought media.

Both for big organisations and both facing fairly similar challenges.

I’d like to rehearse three immediate take-outs from working in this area.

Thoughts welcome!

Develop a framework around brand, direct and ROI

One that defines the outcomes and overall impact of specific marketing programmes within the context of the limitations that exist around specific types of activity and their evaluation.

Where brand communications are concerned they affect things like overall awareness of the brand, perceptions of the brand and the extent to which the brand is ‘front of mind’ across the target audience. It is however much more difficult to develop a robust model around ROI for above the line activity. Broadcast channels work to create awareness and change perceptions rather than necessarily generate direct sales. They also create an associated ‘halo’ effect that supports other channels.

Where direct and digital marketing activity is concerned it is possible to create a measurement model that derives ROI for each specific area of activity. One based on a clear definition of business objectives, specific goals, key metrics and appropriate targets. Attribution to specific channels is of course challenging and something that brands continue to wrestle with.

Audit your current evaluation and measurement activities 

Most organisations are already undertaking a significant amount of evaluation and measurement across the marketing programmes they are running. However, what often happens is that the insight and knowledge created through this work is not shared across the business and joined up in a way that can help solve the problems the business is facing.

An audit of current evaluation and measurement programmes within the context of the framework discussed above provide a really good starting point for identifying where the gaps in evaluation and measurement lie.

Becoming a data driven business is an opportunity and a challenge

The opportunity is clear – improved strategic and operational decision-making which is based on the facts, customer insight and a clear understanding around what is working and what is not. Ultimately that equates to becoming more customer-centric and responsive to your customers needs and wants. Brilliant.

Of course that might not always line up with the politics, stakeholder opinions  or even what HIPPO (the highest paid person’s opinion) is saying. The chances are it will also highlight some uncomfortable realities that, in the face of the facts, need to be confronted and cannot be ignored. This can be challenging.

Smart businesses and organisations build on the tension this creates in a positive way. Where numbers and opinions collide it can certainly go a long way to driving a useful and productive conversation across business leaders, senior management and the teams they work with.