Are you an analytics leader, student, or skeptic?

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As marketing continues to become progressively more digital, it is important that all those within the industry understand the value of analyzing and measuring data yielded from campaigns.

I’ve always been passionate about the power of data. With that, I believe data needs to be in the DNA of all marketing and PR professionals – the agency side and client side – even more than it is today.

My subjective analysis with brands and agencies across verticals is this: there is a growing divide when it comes to the analytics “haves” and the “have nots.” A study by MIT in 2015 noted this gap. Those embracing measurement continue to get more sophisticated and advanced, while those who ignore it fall further behind. The good news is there are plenty of people in the middle that are passionate about learning and constantly improving.

For this month’s article, I thought it would be useful to explore the three types of people I see at organizations, and hopefully inspire you to move more people up the sophistication curve.

Analytics leaders

These are the practitioners that really get metrics. In fact, they’ve been making data-driven decisions for years and iterating their marketing programs to achieve sustainable returns. Measurement isn’t new to them, and they are focused on insight and action as they have collecting and reporting nailed down. They submit clear dashboards metrics to key stakeholders and have educated those stakeholders about metrics, differences between outcomes and KPIs, how they conduct analysis to inform tactics, and so forth.

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Leaders are focused on the critical few metrics and understand the importance of simplicity in reporting. They also don’t have shiny object syndrome when it comes to whatever the day’s fluffy metric du jour is and don’t feel like they have to report on something simply because it’s new. Instead, they calmly and rationally add defensible metrics that matter to their mix.

Analytics students

These practitioners know they need to embrace analytics, and are making the effort to learn. They’re testing and tinkering with tools and starting to analyze and report to see the bigger picture of how analytics across platforms and tactics work together.

Ideally, the leaders on their team help push them to the next level. With time and additional encouragement, students are positioned to lead their organization, be the ones establishing measurement processes and confidently educating clients, teammates, and superiors.

Analytics skeptics

Unfortunately, there is still a group that either ignores data because they think it’s too difficult to use – it’s not. This group also remains tentative about digital marketing tactics overall. Leaders and students have their work cut out for them to educate these skeptics.

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Hopefully in time and with the right coaching, current skeptics will get more comfortable with data and making informed decisions for their marketing initiatives. I know for most readers here, making marketing decisions based on gut feel sounds crazy – it is. But as hard as it is to believe, these people still exist. It’s all of our jobs to help bring them forward because it improves the industry as a whole and makes us all better, more accountable marketers.

Why this really matters

Eventually, we won’t have any online marketers or entrepreneurs who aren’t fluent in digital measurement. The confusion exists today only due to the transition of our industry into one that’s purely digital. As a new generation of marketers native to digital and measurement comes into the workforce, this trend will continue to accelerate.

In the meantime, the world belongs to the leaders: they have defensible, metrics-driven rationales for their strategies. They’re able to clearly show superiors how their programs are working and, due to this, are consistently given increases in budgets. Leaders win the biggest and best clients as the industry becomes more educated and is interested in outcome-oriented programs and agencies, versus those who just focus on KPIs. It should be all of our goals as practitioners to strive to be the best leaders and students we can.

Article images via Flickr.

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