To recap, we have been using the analogy of skydiving to show the analyst how they can gain efficiencies within their company and garner executive buy-in to your analytics program. In “Analytic Solutions: Ground School,” I covered research into the type of analytics you will have to do to be successful in your program. In “Analytical Data Maturity Takes Some Work (Fitness Training),” I explored a few general best practices to help get your analytics machine up and running quickly and efficiently. Now it’s time to apply some of the tools we’ve developed in our quest to launch your program into the “wild blue yonder.”
The idea of a tube in skydiving is to allow the sensation of freefalling. Floating a few feet off the ground, one has the opportunity to practice freefall skills. The would-be skydiver can learn to use their body to slow down, speed up, perform flips, and many other skills in a controlled environment. You should be working on your output skills using every tool available to you. Here’s a few tips to help you reach the point where you are ready to step out into nothing but air.
Set Your Baseline
Any improvement in efficiency or the bottom line must be proven if an analyst is ever going to achieve executive buy-in. Simply saying, “Things are better” using a colorful PowerPoint presentation is not enough; hard numbers and measurable output are required. A useful output depends on a solid baseline. For example, if the analyst is targeting more engaged clients in New York State, it is critical to have the actual traffic and visitor engagement data in hand before beginning to fine tune a process or strategy. A great output is a comparative analysis derived from a baseline and end result—how much did we achieve? Setting a baseline also helps the analyst define their objective clearly. With Adobe Analytics Premium, you can actually predict (or simulate with high confidence) the impact a targeted campaign will have in hitting your online optimization goals before you ever even begin your targeting campaign.
I take an empathetic and practical approach when I prioritize the challenges present in any business. You have to start somewhere, right? I start with the CMO. Typically, these executives are in a tough position. In the past, proving a CMO’s effectiveness was not always easy. Key performance indicators were tough to rationalize against the cross-channel decisions and responsibilities demanded from the CMO. With social media, multiple device types, splintering marketing channels, subscription radio, and every other marketing medium available, figuring out what is working and what is not can be a complicated proposition. It’s just as challenging to figure out how to best use these marketing tools. As a result, CMOs invest a great deal of time and effort into tools (and people) that can pinpoint how effective a campaign or process has been. Analysts who can help the CMO gain a clear picture of the company’s market share and revenue growth today and what it will do in the future have done their jobs exceedingly well.
The Same Ol’ Song and Dance
While not all outputs will be the same across every industry and across every potential strategic area of focus for the business, it is important to realize that establishing a solid, single version of the “story” or baseline via an executive dashboard is critical from the onset. Passing on information/insights and making recommendations in an efficient manner is an analyst’s ultimate goal. Executives generally do not have the time to wonder at how clever their analysts are—they want to see results, usually as quickly as possible. Having the same output format allows them to know where to quickly retrieve the data they are looking for. You can tell them how clever you are at the company banquet. In the office, they are looking for results. Be aware that changing the functionality or even the aesthetics of your output will often cause a few extra questions. The idea is to build trust. Nothing builds trust more quickly than familiarity and consistency.
These are lofty, but attainable goals that can be reached by any analyst. Using tools like those in the Adobe Marketing Cloud, an analyst has the ability to positively impact a company. So, we’ve done our ground school, gotten lean and fit, and then showed the boardroom our moves. Now what? Now, my friend, we are ready to step out into the wild blue yonder.