The Evolution of the Independent Data Driven Marketer, in 3 (and a Half) Motivating Steps

April 8, 2019

In today’s demanding marketing orb, every marketer’s quiver has to be armed with the right tools that will allow access to customized reports filled with the most recent data. Here’s the starting point of your quest.

Ever come into your office, look at your calendar, and see right there in printed black and white that today is the day of your big presentation? You walk into the meeting with the higher-ups, sharing how the marketing campaigns are doing great, feeling confident about the progress. And then, someone in the room asks you to prove your work’s impact. “How does it impact revenue or order amount?” Things that move the needle, they call them.

I know what I used to do. I’d go right to the finance team and ask for sales numbers from the day before. I’d have the marketing team put together a report on our campaigns, so we could attribute sales to each campaign. And I would sit down in front of my Excel and start stitching data together to prove the campaigns’ effectiveness.

By this point, much of the morning – not to mention lunchtime – would pass by with little progress. I knew a change was due. And that’s when I began my evolution into an independent data-driven marketer.

Answer Their Questions

The first step? Standardized Autonomous Reports. The type you can find inside your ESP or marketing automation platform. A report provides the exact number of customers who performed a given action. If the system is really advanced, you would even have a dollar amount attached to those numbers.

Standardized reports helped me identify which campaigns had better CTRs and which generated a strong uplift in revenue. They took much of the manual work out of my day-to-day. But I felt we could take this further. There are many articles out there on why marketers need next-best-action recommendations or insights into missed opportunities and potential optimizations. None of which is apparent from standard reports. Additionally, with a small team, it eventually became too difficult to measure our entire operation.

The second step of my journey led me to Smart Reports that could help marketers detect customers at risk of churn and which campaigns could bring them back from near abyss. Ones that provide insights into which campaigns had a significant impact on customer lifetime value or lacked any sort of impact at all. They could even help me see the parts of my database that weren’t being targeted at the required frequency, solving the all too common case of marketer tunnel vision.

And to better answer those company-specific questions that await at the management meeting, we have step three: a Consultant or External Supplier who could help create custom reports with the insights I needed: impact of my marketing efforts for my VIPs, aggregated campaign reports filtered by customer lifecycle and the like.

The Final Ingredient

I’ll admit this solved my problem. I was now an independent data-driven marketer, armed with the tools to prove how campaigns impact the business in any metric we could come up with. But, if you’ve read this far, you know something is still off. I felt too dependent on this external team to send me the report at a certain cadence. Like most marketers, I want access to customized reports filled with the most recent data whenever I want.

Enter integrated BI Dashboards. Customized and dynamic, integrated within the marketing solution of my choice, and always up to date. Reports that support today’s omnichannel marketing efforts and allow me to visually analyze revenue from different lifecycle stages, broken down by device type. Reports that aren’t static, that could filter dates, devices or stages from the total with the click of a button and see the revenue distribution at any given point.

This solution allowed me to slice and dice the data in a visual and intuitive manner. This was the final step for me, the stamp of approval for my personal growth as a modern marketer.

This journey did not take a day or a week. It began with understanding if the team were to achieve marketing agility, then we needed to own the data. From customer lists to sales results, we required access under one interface. We had to truly understand what the most important metrics were. We had to acknowledge the limitations, know when help is needed to uncover the deepest insights from marketing efforts either through smart reports or an external consultant. And finally, dream big. Think hard about the most dynamic report that could answer the toughest questions in an interactive way and find the BI tool that could deliver this promise.