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November 9, 2010 / jasonpinto

Clearing, Exposing, and Analyzing

Willow Smith may be responsible for one of the catchiest songs of 2010.  I may be able to hum that song, but as you can clearly see from my picture,  I am certainly not able to “whip my hair back and forth”.

This weekend, my bald head caught the brunt of a dart board as it fell off a wall. It left quite a mark. While my first thought may have been, “I really need a Bud Light, now”, my immediate next thought was, “Dang. There’s no way I can hide this.” There was blood and a bump, and everyone at the office was going to see it the next day.

When it comes to marketing, we sometimes wish that we could hide the results of our campaigns.

Many businesses are moving as fast as they can. This may mean launching marketing initiatives as fast as possible, and then moving onto the next one. Well, while it’s certainly very commendable to take the approach “I must do something for marketing” as opposed to “It’s too much work; no time for marketing”, we should also realize how important it is to analyze what we have done.

Some people might avoid devoting time to reviewing reports because of a lack of time. Others may find that it’s hard to do so. Or, in some cases, we may actually be scared to see how a campaign performed!

However, our future campaigns will only deliver success if we truly understand why a current one is performing the way it is. This is true whether our current campaign is a stinker, or a glowing case-study-waiting-to-be-published-in-the-pages-of-marketing-magazines.

To do this, we certainly need to look at summaries and totals. We need to know how many people are visiting our website, clicking on a banner ad, or responding to a direct mail piece.  But we should also devote time to drilling down into those numbers.

In some cases, the reasons for this are practical: “did we really have that many website visitors? Or did we forget to exclude hits from our own office?” In other cases, the reasons will save our job: “No one clicked the link in our email? Did the link actually work? Was the list any good?”

The answers to these questions may not be pretty. We may squirm a bit in our chair as we learn the answers, and then share them with others. They may appear similar to a nasty cut on an exposed scalp.

But the only way that we’ll ever get better is if we expose those answers, analyze them, and convert that into actionable intelligence.

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