My library of operating instructions is growing. Thanks to the generosity of family, friends, colleagues, and a pinch of autonomous acquisition, I have about a dozen more devices than I did two weeks ago.
Each camera, DVD player, streaming TV box, phone, exercise gadget, navigation system, wrist watch, and thermostat (yep) comes with a thick, complete guide to the use of every feature (in print so small, I now need a 14 year old just to read it to me). Each also comes with a quick start guide - the only literature I have ever bothered to actually review. You 14 year-olds can stand down now.
A complete instruction manual to online advertising, marketing, and customer experience would require an entire library or two flash drives on a keychain. One would have no chance of consuming all that material fast enough for the information therein to still be relevant by the time you were done.
So, do not go out and buy the complete set of Jim Sterne online advertising, marketing, and customer experience books and instead, quickly browse the following as you reboot the 2013 version of your marketing measurement efforts.
1. You can't do it all. It's all fascinating, but measuring everything is mostly hypothetical. Has been since 1993 when Peppers & Rogers published the first edition of "The One to One Future."
Bringing all the bits and bytes together about each and every customer is only possible if that's all you do for a living; think Amazon or Google. For the rest of us, it's a bit of a pipe dream. Do not get hung up on it. You're never going to compete in the Olympics either. Time to move on.
2. Understand why you're measuring stuff. Get over the excitement of all the data that can be collected. Someday, there will be a service that collates all the data about you that can be collected and will sell it to the highest bidder in order to predict what you want to buy before you know yourself. At that point, purchasing Christmas presents for others will be child's play.
Until then, stick with why you're collecting information. What's the most important thing on your list this year?
Prioritize these and zero in on what will make you more successful in 2013 in specific areas.
Find ways to communicate clearly with the people who are in charge of your tech. You know it's important to speak fluid media buying, creative, sales, and finance. Add technology to your lexicon before it's too late.
4. Get the politics right. You have goals, your direct reports have goals, and all the others in your organization and those organizations that support you have goals. Once you know what motivates them, you can figure out how to help them help you. If you know how they measure their own success, they will want to help you help them. Simple, but often neglected.
5. Trust your gut. Once you have a healthy amount of knowledge about your industry, your marketplace, your unique sales proposition, and your key performance indicators...and once you have the chops to figure out the interdependence of all the moving parts...and once you have a clear idea of what motivates the various players in your advertising/marketing/sales orchestra…then...it's time to do a gut check.
The data says this, the consultant says that, your boss wants this, and your customers say they want that. What do you think?
More importantly, what do you feel?
A gut feeling is the culmination of all of your knowledge, skill, and experience. It's 100 billion neurons weighing in and voting on decisions like: is it safe to change lanes on the freeway? Should I have the sushi in the mall food court? If I raise my billing rates will I still book as many contracts? Should I spend more on YouTube if it means taking spend away from Pinterest?
Once your knowledge and intellectual capacity are fully engaged, disengage them and see how you feel about your plans for spending an uncomfortably large amount of money on a variety of promotional channels in order to impact the possibility of earning your 2013 year-end bonus.
If you feel that you should alter the mix, cozy up to those predictive analytics types and ask them to start building some models for you.
Once your gut gives you a hypothesis, trust it - but verify. Then go ahead and spend like you mean it and keep tabs on the result.
To sum up:
Bonus tip: keep up to date. Read the blogs, hire the consultants, watch the webinars, go to the conferences.
2013 is going to be an interesting year. It would be a shame to let it get past you.
Chess image via Shutterstock.
Jim Sterne is an international consultant focused on measuring the value of the online marketing for creating and strengthening customer relationships. Sterne has written eight books on using the Internet for marketing, produces the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit and is co-founder and current chairman of the Digital Analytics Association.
June 5, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT
June 20, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT