Annual Planning for Marketing: Part 1 – Get the Facts
The most important step we advise clients to take when we start working with them is to take a closer look at their data, and either straighten out their analytics structure or have a deeper look at what it is and can be telling them about their audience base.
There are two common types of data that are available to clients.
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the most massively under-utilized tools available to business leaders today. Perhaps it’s because it’s seen as a “free” add-on to your website that your developers “plugged-in” to your code.
There is nothing further from the truth. When the basics are in place, it has the capacity to:
- Act as your digital marketing’s quarterback – integrating many insights from your website, emails, advertisements and social media.
- Provide valuable, specific, actionable insights to improve your audience’s ability to engage with your services and offerings.
- Provide measurable benchmarks upon which to improve your performance and thereby justify marketing investments.
2. Audience Data - From your CRM or Database
The data found here should reflect your segments – who your audiences are – and if you’re more advanced, how they like to engage with you.
Many organizations don’t know how to pull or present data in meaningful ways to produce insights-driven action.
You can learn more about how to develop good, clear reporting that avoids common traps such as “The flaw of averages” in our whitepaper called ”Marketing Data Intelligence: Getting the Insights you need to Make an Impact.”
With these two common types of data at your fingertips, you will be armed with the right tools to assess and plan for your next fiscal budget with confidence.
3 Steps to Better Data-Driven Annual Planning
First, assess your objectives
If your organization has measurable goals, have you been tracking them? Now is a good time to take stock and assess changes to key performance indicators year-over-year.
Second, assess the quality of your data
Are there questions you ask and want answers to but don’t have the data, or worse, are told there is no way to get that data? How certain are you in the data, and in the people doing the analysis for you?
How do you know if you’re on the right data track? Here’s our litmus test: if the numbers reinforce internal comfort zones instead of challenging you to act – then be suspicious. To be valuable, data should reveal specific actions to course correct or to improve. Honesty and a confidence in this approach is necessary.
Third, identify the driving insights to support your organization's strategy
Using data in your annual planning – the facts – is critical. It takes away the guesswork.
But the customer insights you use – probably 2 or 3 of them in any planning cycle – should be tightly aligned to supporting overall organizational objectives. When you connect the dots this way – between your marketing and the corporate strategy – the business case writes itself and real change in engagement levels will happen.