Want teams with less conflict and faster decision-making that drive toward optimization? The answer: Build a data-oriented mind-set into your company culture. Data-driven insight provides a framework for better decision-making, validating instinct and tribal knowledge. A culture of data drives the innovation and iteration that lead to positive outcomes.
Peter Drucker said “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and he’s right. A data-driven culture is a modern answer to better marketing practices. Below are key steps to data-driven decision-making and culture.
1) Prioritize setting KPIs. Set targets for all projects and carefully choose what to measure in advance. Focus on metrics you know you can act on. Include indicators that help you define your audience, score your content and measure the overall effectiveness of your program. If a program is new or doesn’t have specific goals, use KPIs to create benchmarks for future evaluation. Establishing KPIs gives you material for nonjudgmental conversations about performance.
2) Forecast results. Forecasting can be difficult at first, but the process of projecting how a tactic will perform provides a learning opportunity every time. Forecasting makes results analysis easier by providing a pivot point for discussion, and establishes a background for improving KPI selection during each iteration. Have some fun with it, challenge your team and reward the person with the most accurate prediction.
3) Always develop hypotheses. Where forecasts are about broad performance results, hypotheses are focused on learnings surrounding a single topic that, ideally, you can isolate from other variables. The best way to test a hypothesis is with a simple A/B test. Topics can often stem from creative debates on things like where to place a CTA, whether a witty headline is better than a straightforward headline or even where to place content on a page. Treat hypotheses as part of the content plan and focus on something you hope to learn from the data each week or month. Then test or observe.
4) Integrate a learning plan into your campaign calendar. Hypotheses propose an answer to a single question, but a learning plan strings together a series of hypotheses to answer a series of related questions that help refine your content and tactics. By incorporating a learning plan into your content calendar, you create structure and prioritization around your hypotheses. This enables you to look at a single topic using multiple variables. It makes sure that you learn something from every piece of content and it helps you capture that learning for future application.
5) Putting data in slides is not enough. Set up regular discussions to review data and encourage questions and curiosity through collaborative analysis. Discussion and debate lead to new ideas and test concepts.
6) Free the data. Provide access to anyone touching marketing, from a project manager to a designer. By providing the entire team with access to data and conversations about it, you’ll see understanding, acceptance and trust quickly grow. Adjustments to creative, media buying and more will begin working their way into programs organically.
7) Don’t be a robot. AI might be all the rage, but business decisions are made and consensus is formed by humans. Don’t make binary decisions based on data; let data inform and influence the business owners.