What would you say if I told you the first thing you should do when you start a new campaign is think about the report? How could you possibly know what you’re going to measure and report on before actually doing anything?
To be data-driven is to make decisions with data first and foremost. That means breaking the mold of “measurement and reporting” and moving it to the forefront of your campaign planning. As marketers and communicators, we have an exorbitant amount of data at our fingertips, so let’s use it! It’s no longer okay to make assumptions, be it about your audience demographics, opinions, intrinsic motivations, whatever – we must base all action in fact.
Before getting started on any data-driven campaign, the absolute number one question to answer: What is my goal? I can’t stress enough how important it is to have clear goals and success metrics outlined before you even put the pen to paper at that first brainstorm. Your goal could be something as broad as ‘increase brand awareness’ or as granular as ‘we want X number of people to sign up for our webinar.’
Once you have your goal defined, use the below must-ask questions to set yourself up for success in your campaign:
What information do I have?
For each tactic in your strategy, you should have a data point (or several) that go along with it.
- Example: Social network post
- Social engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares)
- Social audience growth (fans, followers)
What data points do I need?
Now that you know what you have, take stock of what else you need to support your goals.
- Example: Social network post – Did your tweet drive sign-ups? Did your Facebook post help get prospects into the sales funnel?
- Website referral metrics (referral sessions, bounce rate, page views)
- Website conversion metrics (sign-ups, downloads, sales)
How do I collect the data?
This answer will vary of course based on your tactic. Do you have access to the tools needed to measure and report on your tactics? Do you need to set up unique tracking parameters for your content so you can attribute business action to your campaign? Everything you answered in the first two questions should have a corresponding answer here.
- Example: Social media post
- For social engagement metrics, I need…admin credentials to social network
- For website referral and conversion metrics, I need…access to my client’s analytics or CRM software. I also need to ensure consistent and trackable tagging is used throughout my campaign to tie efforts to actions.
What will the data show?
To answer this question about your campaign, think in binary statements. What will your campaign accomplish? This is your hypothesis. The data and collection of data outlined in the previous questions should be able to fully support your statements.
- Example: Social content promotion will increase brand awareness. Social content will not increase brand awareness.
I hope these questions help to keep measurement and reporting top of mind when creating data-driven campaigns. The examples outlined here are framed around final success metrics and KPIs, but you could also apply these questions to your research strategy pre-campaign. Think about your research goals and what information/data sets you’d need to inform, for example, the creative elements or messaging for your campaign. The possibilities are endless!
Senior Marketing Analyst