One of my favorite mantras is “There is no such thing as a marketing emergency” because much of what we do as marketers can be planned and foreseen. Marketing relies on understanding the psychology and behavior triggers that cause customers to take action. The marketer’s job is not to be reactionary and freak out when traffic dips or lead quality tanks, but rather to understand what forces might have caused the changes. And then fix it.
A 2011 study shows that companies that use data to underlie their decision making are 4% more productive and earn 6% more revenue over the course of a year. As more agencies use marketing data visualization tools that make analyzing and understanding your data a plug and play prospect, you need to collect and use your data more carefully than ever before just to stay competitive.
If you want to make your team and your interactions with clients less reactionary and more scientific, you’ll need to use multiple types of data points. Some might describe this hypothesize-observe-act approach “data-driven marketing”, but I feel that buzzwordy phrase fails to describe this process. It focuses on reaction, rather than the culture of testing or a scientific approach to recording actions and collecting evidence that informs your marketing decisions.
A Case for Scientific Marketing
Data on its own is meaningless. You wouldn’t present a client with stats like 1 million website views or a bounce rate of 85% without the context of date range (1 million website views in a month, a year, or a day?) or an indication of why a high bounce rate isn’t anything to worry about. Annotations without the context of additional data can only serve to confuse clients, make more questions for your client reps, and cause decreased trust in your brand.
Human brains forget, they connect circumstances that don’t have any real basis in fact, and want to find answers that aren’t there. When you collect data and use that to make your decisions, you’re less likely to fall into a trap of correlation. Hindsight may give you 20/20 vision, but the right data will give you context.
A Method of Scientific Marketing
Scientific marketing means making decisions based off of data, not off of gut feelings. It requires you to gather as much information about your immediate market context before you act. It also gives you the freedom to test and experiment, and truly understand what works for your particular audience, rather than guessing.
The fact is that if you don’t track your marketing efforts, you don’t really have an idea of what worked and what didn’t. Yes, it’s frustrating to keep copious notes, and it’s frustrating to have to wait for an A/B test to complete, but as Hemingway says, “don’t confuse movement with action.” Understanding the context that contributes to customer behavior may even be more important than the trends themselves.
Tools for Scientific Marketing
You don’t need to go buy a lab coat or a fancy microscope to make your marketing more scientific. You can use the tools you already use to measure marketing success: spreadsheets, marketing reporting tools, and some personal diligence.
Keep A Log
Make a central log of your changes on each campaign. Build a spreadsheet that includes a description of the change, the date you made it, and the potential effects you foresee from each change. Also consider adding a couple of columns where you can track your observations. Make sure that your changes tie back to your campaign goals.
A marketing log will help you keep track of the changes you make on your website and in your marketing channels, and it will keep you on track with making purposeful decisions meant to affect behavior, rather than reacting to gut feeling.
Add Annotations to your Reports
Build a universal dashboard that tracks the effects of your experiments, where clients, reps, and other stakeholders can watch how each change affects the overall movement toward goals. Add an annotation for every major change you make to campaigns, but also track other events like:
- A promotion that runs for a time period
- Page redirects
- Blog post updates
- Products featured on the home page or on a third party media
- Product-related events and appearances
- Weather events that affect the audience (hurricane, tornado, snow storm)
TapClicks dashboards let you annotate your date-based line charts, and you can share those dashboards with executive teams and clients. Annotations give clients and stakeholders the context of outside events, and reduce the need for a back and forth with agents. Annotate early and often to keep those questions to a minimum.
Set Up Alerts
Setting up marketing experiments doesn’t mean you have to suspend all of your other marketing tasks to watch the results 24/7. Use alerts to tell you if you’ve achieved a sales goal mid-month, or you’ve hit the lower limit of daily website visits. Metric-based alerts will notify you or your clients, and don’t require a lot of manual labor.
In TapClicks you can set up alerts on individual dashboard widgets, or you can use the Alerts tab to build notifications for individual metrics, even if you’re not tracking them in a dashboard. To facilitate client communication, we suggest setting up alerts on widgets in the dashboards that are visible to clients so you have a central source of truth on the health of the campaign.
A more scientific approach to marketing means taking your time. Build a culture of testing and experimentation with your clients, and finish it off with a lot of open communication.
Ready to take control of your marketing efforts? Sign up for a free 14-day trial of TapClicks and try out our annotations and alerts features. Or, sign up for a demo and let us show you how we can help make reporting easier.