Begin with the end in mind because your analysts cannot always save you
Here is the first of what will probably be a number of confessions during the course of these blogs, I’m a fan of management and leadership theory. I find it massively useful in finding ways to constantly improve communication, influencing and self awareness. It is a brilliant way of continually challenging yourself, something I found especially useful when I had a team of 17 with some very different people, all of which needed to work as a team and part of my job was to get the best out of them.
One of the authors I have found most influential has been Stephen (great name) Covey and his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I’m not going to dissect the book and go into huge amounts of detail, there are people out there that are far better at it than I am and have experience in helping people make use of those principles.
One of the principles did spring to mind recently when working with a client on improving customer acquisition activity, the one called ‘begin with the end in mind’. In the book this principle is covered with examples of CEO’s understanding the difference between leadership and management, constructing your own mission statement and (my favourite) planning the build of a house. It is this example that captures the essence of the principle for me, you plan, you write up the blueprint and then you start the actual build.
Quite simply, you think about what it is that you want to achieve, what your ultimate goal looks like, what the outputs need to be and what you want out of it. Once you have created this plan, then you proceed with your ‘build’. If you do this, you have a plan to benchmark your progress against and make sure you are heading towards your goal and will succeed.
Never has the need for this clear goal setting and planning been more needed than when carrying out campaign and journey analysis.
Campaign tagging and good record keeping is essential for deep campaign analysis. Without it you have lots of actions, interactions, email sends, transactions, quotes, etc but not necessarily have the structure that stitches it all together. These days it is uncommon to come across data in a complete mess, but as analysts don’t manage campaign development, it is common to find something missed out so there is still a bit of work to be done.
When planning your campaign activity, work with your analysts. Share your plans, your goals and what you want to achieve. Talk about what you might like to analyse in the future and they can help you with getting everything in place so that it reduces the need for any form of reverse engineering and ensures you are asking the right questions to get exactly what you need.
That last phrase is one of the reasons that analysts are occasionally your saviours. It isn’t always possible, but when that question comes up that nobody thought of a month ago, the famous ‘I know I didn’t ask for it, but can you just have a look at…’, the analyst can find a way of working back through the data and getting the info you need. You might get a bit of chin stroking and head scratching, but if there is a way, they can make it happen.
This is why good analysts are worth their weight in gold, but there is no substitute for thorough planning and campaign management. Like Covey says, begin with the end in mind and then you will create an effective plan to achieve your goals. On the occasions you don’t, look in the direction of your analysts, you never know, they might have their superhero outfit on that day.