How do I set up a good marketing analytics program that creates value for an organization? And what steps should I take to create a plan of analytics reporting for a client?

I think it makes sense to start with a list of things that you want to accomplish and what the business needs help with measuring. 

Here are some questions that you can use to develop that list of items to accomplish:

• What business questions do you use data and reports to answer?
• How often do you look at the reports you currently send?
• What reports do you find most valuable?
• What is currently missing for your reporting needs?
• What are the 5 most important metrics (i.e. data points) that are provided in your current reporting?
• What would upset you if it was removed from your reports?
• Are there any seasonality considerations with the business? (e.g. summer is strong, winter is slow)
• What marketing segments are most important to you?
• What data source or metric would make your reports better?

I like to break strategy down into the “Four T’s of web analytics”.

Here’s a summary of these items.

The Four T’s of Web Analytics

Analytics serve an organization in many ways, but the most important area is making better decisions. When a business invests in analytics, they are making an investment in better decision making.

The business expects a return on its investment through new revenue opportunities or increased profitability.

Yet those who control the data often look at it from an opposite perspective. As if the business should invest at the bleeding edge of innovation and throw profit to the wind. We want the newest tools and the biggest sets of data. We want to solve new challenges and create bigger opportunities.

We treat analytics less as an investment and more as a right. Business owners treat it as a privilege.

In order to bridge the gap between these conflicting motives, I have broken down what is necessary for both sides to thrive when it comes to web analytics.

This is by focusing on setting targets, establishing tactics, building teams and finally selecting tools to get the job done.

I call this the four T’s of analytics, and it must happen in this precise order to be successful.

First, we must set targets around the KPIs that our business has agreed are important. Setting a target gets everyone on the same page and establishes a common goal that the organization hopes to achieve.

Once targets are in place, we can now pull in tactics to go after proven results and hit our targets. We draw upon our past campaigns and learn from case studies to determine which tactics we should execute.

After deciding on tactics, you build a team and accountability structure for the people running the process. Building a team is much easier when you have your outcome in mind.

And last, evaluate tools that you can use to measure target performance. Tools should be the last item chosen by a business. The fact is that tools are built to speed up our proven processes. A hammer is not a strategy; a house is.

Add it all together and you have defined a plan that is aligned with the goals of the business executives. Not only that, but the marketing and analytics teams now are aligned with a common goal and can do the exciting work of their dreams.

When you get a team invested in a shared outcome, their true brilliance can start to shine. Analysts can have fun doing the hard work, and business owners can hit their targets with flying colors.

The key is in the order that these four T’s are adopted. Start with tools first and you will fall into the trap of shiny-object syndrome. The team will focus on building a better mouse-trap instead of building more business value.

Put the same team on the task of hitting targets valuable to the business and everyone wins.

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