Commentary

Balancing Art And Science To Track Campaign Performance

Marketing, as a craft, is being reinvented in the digital age. David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising” himself, may have said it best when he remarked, “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” To be successful, organizations must find – and maintain – the right balance between these two critical components.

This delicate blend of art and science is particularly important when it comes to measuring campaign performance. Just as meaningful metrics cannot be elicited from compelling storylines alone, a powerful, visual representation of a highly complex problem cannot be conjured up by simply inputting lines of code or analyzing terabytes of unstructured data.  Here are tips on balancing the two:

Get Inspired: When working to develop a data visualization strategy that maps out each unique stage of the customer’s journey across multiple channels and devices, spend time perusing various data visualizations outside of the industry. Galileo’s Sun Spot map, one of the earliest visualizations of a complex phenomenon is certainly an inspiration on so many levels, and for more contemporary examples check out Avinash Kaushik or StatsMonkey. These powerful examples can serve to inspire new, creative ways to represent complex business information.

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Start Small: Don’t let incomplete or fragmented data hold you back from getting started. Begin with a small sample set of data. Remember that figuring out how to visualize the information is just as important in driving business change as the data itself. If your database is one billion rows, or 20 million contacts, then just grab a slice of it that is under your control and paint a picture of what might be possible. Lay the foundation with which to create an interpretive picture, and test what works well and what doesn’t. Then, as you amass and organize new data about your customers over time, build your representation out gradually. If your question is important and your picture is compelling, you will get the support to fetch all the data you need.

Embrace Attribution: Proper attribution relies on the art and science of divvying up fair amounts of credit to each channel that was responsible for getting a customer to take a particular action. Marketers have been stymied by this concept for years. It’s time to get it right and it’s high time to make fast progress on this key element of campaign performance. Pretty much every contemporary marketing program is full multi-channel – and if it isn’t, it should be. Simple approaches that pile 100% of the credit into the last channel that touched your customer before the sale can lead to poor and ill-informed decision with regards to your marketing budget.

With fractional attribution in reach and data visualization at your fingertips, you may have all the tools that you need to get started.

 

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