Research company Gartner suggests that there will be 4.4 million big data jobs available in the next two years, and that only a third of them will be successfully filled. It’s no surprise. Everything is moving toward data: big data, mobile data, performance data, campaign data, product data, and even data about how we track our data.
This has two implications. The first is that any professional in the internet world from SEO to content marketer can give themselves an edge by strengthening their data capabilities.
The second implication is for brands and agencies: the ability to manage successful campaigns will require strong data analysis human and technological capabilities. As your competition becomes more sophisticated, your ability to keep up will be directly helped or hindered by your data capabilities.
A Breakdown of the Analytics World
Your company needs to evaluate your internet marketing performance on multiple dimensions to get the full picture. Creating and implementing an analytics program requires four steps:
•Defining your metrics and developing a plan
•Collecting the data
•Developing reporting features and capabilities
•Ongoing analysis and implementation
Understanding each of these core components enables a company to make the right investments at the right time to yield an ROI. Successfully building a data plan is more than just identifying specific tools or learning how to interpret charts. Instead, it’s about creating a culture that values data, ensuring that key business decisions are data-driven, and consistently finding ways to drive data deeper into the DNA of your business.
Democratize Your Data Analysis
Your company should strive for an environment of democratized data analysis. Successful data and analytics management is as much about creating the right culture as having the right technology or people. Corporate data culture is a spectrum that can often be classified as follows:
No or limited data: This company is moving fast and hasn’t made time for data. Or perhaps the value of data isn’t understood, or resources are limited and the focus is elsewhere (usually on key performance indicators related to growth).
•Basic data: An organization at this stage may have a basic data program installed that offers feedback on some aspect of their digital marketing. For example, they may have Google GOOG +1.05% Analytics on their website and track high-level trends, but it’s only used for directional indication rather than specific feedback loops.
•Deeper data that’s siloed or controlled: At this level, parts of the organization have access to deeper data collection and reporting tools. Access to the data may be limited to executives and reporting staff, or filtered through a reporting department. Data may be deemed relevant only at certain times of the fiscal year or sales cycle, or only for certain positions.
•Democratic data access: This company’s data efforts are led by a data expert setting the vision, and analysis and reporting is done regularly by qualified staff. By decision makers and stake holders throughout the organization are empowered as much as possible to access data that they need and want throughout the year.
Democratized data does several things. It eliminates data bottlenecks from limited staff that are overwhelmed with requests for reporting support. It helps ensure that data is being used regularly to make decisions affecting your business. This approach also helps sway skeptics to the value of data and helps create a culture where data-drive decisions are the norm.
Moving toward democratizing your data requires a thoughtful analysis of your culture. How transparent are you with data points, ranging from sales numbers to client information? Are you regularly fielding requests for information that team members want for their own success? Could more information empower your team to make independent decisions that move your business forward? If so, now may be the time to consider opening up your data capabilities.
Prioritize Your Data Analysis Tasks
When you’re faced with planning, collecting, reporting, and analyzing data, it’s important to anticipate the right ratios. One helpful suggestion comes via Google’s data experts, who suggest that about 15 percent data capture, 20 percent data reporting, and 65 percent data analysis are reasonable ratios. Your breakdowns may not be the same, but the idea is that your strategy and execution should take the following points into account:
•Data collection and reporting are fundamental and must be accomplished effectively. But these steps in the process should also be efficient. Find ways to minimize the time being spent on these efforts, or delegate to junior staff. Automate as much as possible through using great tools.
•The majority of your focus should be on analyzing the data, articulating the implications for business and coaching your colleagues through the implementation. What the data means and what your team is supposed to do with it are the priorities. The tighter your analysis and the more you focus on performance indicators that tie to the bottom line, the more successful you’re going to be.