Why You Need Both the Big Picture and Small One

Written by: Patrick Kilgore on 6/13/16 10:39 AM


One of the benefits of marketing performance software is that businesses can break down their data silos to start seeing the marketing big picture. That high-level view is important, but it’s just as important to see all the smaller components that make up the larger story.

The Value of Metrics

The big picture tells you how well you’re meeting your goals and whether or not there’s a problem. But the more specific, smaller stories within the data you have are where you can see exactly what’s working well, what isn’t, and what changes you need to make.

Tactic-level metrics are necessary to help you build out both. In order to see how well your marketing analytics relate to your big picture goals, you need to track how well each individual tactic is contributing to meeting the smaller goals.

You might find it strange that we’re bothering to defend tactic-level metrics – these are the marketing analytics that everyone’s already tracking, right? In most cases, yes, but you’ve likely heard many tactic-level analytics come under attack as vanity metrics.

The argument is that any metric that might make you feel good (we keep getting more followers on Twitter!), but doesn’t help you make better decisions is a vanity metric. While it’s definitely true that some marketing analytics are more valuable than others, often this distinction has less to do with the metric itself than whether or not you have the tools, skills, and process in place to turn the metrics you have into actionable insights.

How to Slice and Dice Your Analytics for Better Insights

If most of your marketing data is recorded and shared between team members in spreadsheets, you’re going to have a really hard time turning the information you have into useful insights.

To start seeing what your marketing analytics really have to tell you, you need to get them out of those spreadsheets and into a marketing planning solution that helps you see the data in new ways.

One of the biggest steps you can take in the right direction is to start tagging your activities and assets.  Label liberally:

  • What campaign is the activity a part of?
  • What goal is it meant to help you meet?
  • What type of tactic is it?
  • The stage of the buyer’s journey it belongs to
  • The persona it’s meant for
  • The industry or vertical type it’s targeting

Every marketing activity your team takes on should be tied back into the bigger plan and labeled accordingly. This labeling creates metadata that allows you to slice and dice your data to start to see new insights.  When you have more ways to organize the data you have, you can start using it to answer the specific questions that tell you what to do next.

Have you ever wondered which types of tactics work best for a specific persona? When you can narrow your data down by persona, you’ll finally have your answer.

Do you really know what the path from a lead reading a blog post to becoming a customer looks like? When you can turn the data you have into journey maps, you can see what the journeys your prospects are taking actually look like.  

Can you identify which leads are likely to become your most valuable customers? Strong metadata will help you see the trends in which leads are most worth pursuing.

The combination of data visualization and metadata can help you turn those analytics you may have worried were just vanity metrics into valuable insights that help you figure out your next best move.

Being able to bring all the data you have together in order to see the big picture is crucial, but it’s worth a lot less if you don’t also have the means to dive in and see all the details that add up to that big picture.

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Topics: Dashboards, Hive9