Saturday, February 21, 2015

How to fuck up analytics process and benefits you could get

This is a cross-post with Super blog. Here's Finnish version of this post: Monta mahdollisuutta möhliä analytiikkaprosessi ja siitä saatavat hyödyt.

Analyst is the best friend of any executive, marketing manager, designer or developer. First change to fuck up analytics process and collecting useful data, is the planning phase. If you ignore analyst in this phase, you will ensure that measuring is far more difficult in the next phases. On the other hand, if you don't have any goals, then it doesn't matter. If you don't have goals in your business, you can stop reading right now! If you do, please continue.

Keep your analyst aka right arm with you

When you are planning your marketing campaign, KPIs, raising the budget, newsletter, redesign of the website or something else, remember to take your right arm (analyst) with you (or the vendor which is responsible for measuring and analyzing). I have seen lots of failures because the person responsible for measuring and data collecting gets the information of plans too late (or never). The sooner, the better. In this phase it's ideal if you are able to tell the goals of the plans. These goals are not impressions, clicks or visits - they should be sales goals. If you think that digital marketing and visibility don't have anything to do with your sales - you can stop reading.

Don't forget measuring tags in technical implementation

With your analyst, it should be quite easy to draw on the white board the optimal user experience. After this it's quite easy to plan the measuring of the micro and macro goals. This way you are able to get the needed analytics tags in the implementation phase among other code production. If you ignore the analyst in the planning phase, it's possible that measuring tags are forgotten or analyst is creating some tags when there's already a rush to publish the campaign / site / newsletter / what ever. If you are using for example just the basic tracking script, you are not collecting the right and useful data. If an analyst has been in the planning phase, she can talk with developers about measuring and the different ways to implement the tags. This is a way to make sure that the implementation of measuring is done right.

Forget testing, forget quality data

Before launching things, you_should_do_some_testing. During this phase you should test that the data collecting is done right (according to measuring definitions done in the planning phase). If you are not testing at all, you are not able to trust on the collected data 100 %. It is not rare that testing phase is skipped. If you are not auditing your data, you don't know if you are making important decision based on bad data. During the testing phase you could also create needed reports. But beware: in a report, there may be just numbers - and you are missing an analysis.

There are so much useless number reporting

You are not able to get useful information without analyzing data. When campaign has been launched or any change has been made, you are getting data in (if you haven't forgotten measuring). If you follow the process, you have a change to save new quality data. Next, you have to analyze data. Analyzing should be in line with heart beat of the business. The more you have traffic, the faster you have a chance to analyze for example ads, landing pages and (purchasing)funnels. So reports may include just numbers but analysis has also text (hopefully telling you what the numbers mean). Analysis should be done against goals, your previous performance or compared to competitors. Output of the analyzing should include development, change or testing ideas!

Decisions, decisions

One of the most important task executives have, is to decide. Output of the analyzing phase is the input for decision making. Decisions are the input for redesigning. Decision can be big or small but it's very important that you are making those decisions. When you are able to manage this analytics process, you are also able to achieve constant development cycle and data driven culture. The more you have traffic and actions (heart beat of the business), the more faster analytics process should go around. The more faster the process is rolling and the more faster you are able to implement development ideas, the more faster organization is getting useful information and experience. If you haven't done, for example within last year, any A/B or MVT test, it's fair to say that your analytics process has failed!

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We are having a Super seminar with Ensighten in Helsinki on March 13. If you are around and would like to see either Ensighten in action or me telling more about analytics process and how to measure the process, sign up here.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Joining the Super Team!

After two years of working in Online Performance Unit at Sanoma corporation, I'm changing back to consulting side. My new team is literally Super - as I'm joining the beautiful and strong people at Super Analytics. The company is based in Turku but I'm starting a new office in Helsinki.
"As a VP of Analytics I'm helping our clients to use the force of data." 
The past two years has been good. I have been responsible for web analytics at Nelonen Media. I have worked with great and talented people, both in Nelonen Media and in the Online Performance Unit. Most of my time I worked with online video analytics and the Ruutu brand. It has been interesting to be a part of implementing comScore Digital Analytix and seeing the transformation of traditional TV. And not to forget the cool job of six radio stations are doing.

How I started in analytics industry and ended up to Super Analytics?

Photo by Piahostikka.com
I guess it was pretty much Kalle Heinonen's fault why I ended up to the analytics industry. Kalle, who is one of the co-founders and CEO of Super Analytics, represented the former Index Tools web analytics system 10 years ago and I was hooked immediately. Last summer, Mr. Heinonen was talking with couple of people that I didn't know in a Google Partners event. As a joke, I represented myself by saying that I will start the Super Analytics Helsinki during the fall. Kalle laughed but in that time, we hardly knew that it will become truth after all.

People and the process

You could say that improving the analytics and data driven culture is one of my passions. I will continue where I left my last blog about agile marketing. No wait, I did write about online videos in Sanoma's blog. Anyway, my next blog post will be about analytics process and the people involved. And I have a wild idea about how to measure the analytics process. So basically that is how to measure how you're measuring (and analyzing the data)? Stay tuned if you like to read this madness. :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Agile Marketing - check list for 2013

Agile Marketing is such of new term that there's not even a Wikipedia article about it. I guess the basic idea behind the agile marketing comes from agile software develoment and one of its famous frameworks called Scrum. I'm sure you can adapt and use these methods by the book with your marketing team. However, in current complex and fragmented marketing environment with multiple vendors, it may be very difficult to hold on rutines like daily scrum. Therefor, it can be more convenient to use an applied model of Scrum or other.

This post is more like an unformal bullet point check list, collected from my own experiences, especially during this year (2012), although each point would probably deserve a whole post or a book chapter. You can read the whole article or check out only numbered bullet points to have a check list for 2013. See also couple of very good and inspiring videos at the end of this post by Bryan Eisengerg and Jonathon Colman.

What is strategy anyway?


Beware of the corporate strategy bullshit which you may hear people speaking and not actually knowing what they are saying. "Strategy is a general, undetailed plan to achieve a goal in the long run. Strategy is a set of options (strategic choises) than a fixed plan". This is where agility really kicks in. First of all, companies and marketing team should have strategic goals in place. Your strategic goal may be put in 5, 10 or even 15 years ahead. Therefor you need to define benchmarks and yearly goals in order to follow your plan.

1. Check out your web analytics, marketing automation or business intelligence system to see if you have goals in place? If you don't, the very first thing to do in 2013 is ask / find / call help!

Do you have the right Key Performance Indicators?


Following your goals is crucial and you should have a process to deliver this information back to strategic planning. If your tactics are not working, you may need to choose another strategic option or improve your tactics. Staring at your goals (final outcomes is usually sales) is not enough because you don't know what happened on the way? This is why you need to have key performance indicators (KPIs) for your tactic campaigns. You can use customer life cycle, net income or other framework for KPI modeling.

2. Check out if your organization or your marketing team has KPIs defined and the final outcomes are linked to sales (and back to strategic goals). If you don't have KPIs at all, or you don't have "right" KPIs, you are doing something wrong. Seek help.

Campaign planning and execution


Without decent goals and KPIs you lack a lot. It's very difficult to run a simple A/B test if you don't have goals. Or then you are testing and optimizing wrong goals such as impressions or click throug rates. From day one, it's important that all people (and I mean ALL no matter if they are your team members, vendors, partners or your staff) know what are you are trying to achieve. It would be ideal that people responsible for e.g. your paid search or newsletter marketing are reporting the common KPIs and acknowledgements for everyone in the team and executives as well.

3. Check out if everyone in your marketing team, including vendors, know atleast your goals. You can also ask if they know your exact KPIs. If they don't, you have some communication to do. Ask help if needed.

Measuring is nothing without analyzing


This is the most important part for achieving success. You should set up the measuring and analysing frequency depending on your business pulse. If you have high volume online store, you could do meauring and analyzing even on daily basis. Remember that people responsible of marketing activities should report and analyze the common KPIs.

4. Check out if your people (or a single analyst) are producing questions, development and testing ideas based on your numbers. If you are not able to create a todo -list based on measuring and analyzing, it's not working as it should be. Ask help.


Decisions, decisions, decisions


One of the main duties of managers and executives is decision making. That's what they are hired for. When you have the "right" KPIs in place and your analyzing part is good, the decision making gets lots of easier than ever before. Everything is based on your company's strategy and you have data and people backing up your decisions. It's more important to run several tests and collect the marketing knowledge in the long run than being always right or afraid beforehand.

5. Check out how many new tests in tactics or strategic changes you had last year based on your reports, insights, feedback or recommendations you received? If you had none, you have a serious problem of not evolving fast enough. Ask help.

Improve your communication


The more people and vendors you have envolved in your marketing, the harder it's to communicate with all of them. I think of the key ideas in agile software development is the communication. Daily scrum rutines help that people really know what other people are doing. Be ready to surprise when smart people put their heads together.

6. Check out if you have a common (social) communication platform where you can easily share information and discuss about marketing with people in different organizations. If you don't have one, check out possibilites of Google+Basecamp or other. 


So here are my thoughts on agile marketing. Like always, feel free to disagree or comment anyone of these points. I hope you got the idea of constant and fast development of marketing. It's ongoing loop of Planning > Doing > Measuring & Analyzing > Decisions.

Here's one good article of agile marketing.