Marketing/customer analytics types are pretty secure in their jobs at the moment. If you’re managing an analytics team, you know how hard they are to find, how tough it is when you lose them, and how willing you are to put up with sub-genius performance. After all, the job requires a lot of knowledge, a lot of intelligence, and a lot of that certain special something called creativity.
You may despair at the idea of demanding more from your analytics team, for fear that they will actually answer the phone the next time a recruiter calls. You worry about all of that intellectual prowess walking out of the building each night. It leaves you cold.
What to do?
Make them even more indispensable than they are already.
Challenge them to be the very best and very brightest they can be. Give them stretch goals and tough problems to solve and new tools to learn and they will stick with you like glue. They will learn that you really want to help them…while they are helping you.
Specifics? Why yes, I have some specific advice that came from some specific speakers at the latest eMetrics Summit in London. Specifically, Michael Blastland, author of “The Tiger That Isn’t,” David Bomphrey, head of digital customer experience at Everything Everywhere, Vicky Brock, CEO at Clear Returns Ltd, Barbara Pezzi, director of analytics and search optimization at Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, and Richard Phillips, head of online analytics at Virgin Media. My hat’s off to each of them. Here is the culmination, conglomeration, and concatenation of their advice:
- Give them a clear picture of what you want the future to look like.
- Give them a serious challenge, not a reporting assignment. Give them a big problem to solve and get out of their way. Tell them what you want done, not how to do it.
- Have them keep a playbook about what works and what doesn’t. This is very handy when somebody leaves (and they will).
- Point out books, blogs, and columnists they should read.
- Insist they go to conferences and report back.
- Encourage them to blog internally.
- Connect them with an internal mentor.
- Have them assign monetary values to everything – including errors – so they can show the impact of various corrections, improvements, or optimizations.
- Have them keep a value log of their accomplishments.
- Require them to read the company’s annual report with special attention to the letters from the board and the CEO.
- Send them to accounting classes.
- Have them meet informally on a regular basis with the CFO.
- Assign them to shadow a different internal client for a whole day once a month so they can learn the business.
- Give them training (or at least constructive feedback) on their public speaking skills.
- Hire for technical skill and teach them the business. They can learn statistics and tools anywhere but cannot learn about how your company works or the needs of your customers anywhere else.
If you set out to make your analytics team better and better, they will get better and keep getting better and finally, they will want to be better…for you.