Introduction

The 3 Biggest Data Mistakes in Marketing

Marketing data is important

The 3 Biggest Data Mistakes in Marketing

Marketing data is important

It’s about data – and I can see your eyes rolling – I’m even amazed you read this far. But I’m sure that’s because you know how important data is when it comes to marketing and sales success, so you’re willing to take a look.

Give me a moment and I’ll share some of the biggest data marketing problems and, best of all, I’ll tell you how to fix them.

First, please know that data doesn’t have to be boring, confusing, or even hard to understand. Not when it’s presented in pie charts, or bar graphs, with colors – and each color represents something, so when you look at it as a whole it takes just a few seconds to understand what’s going on. You don’t have to know anything about data analytics to see that the green section of a pie chart is growing and the yellow slice is getting smaller.

Yes, that’s the magic of representing data well. Reporting numbers should actually make looking at data easy and crystal clear. Presenting data well is like the engineering behind a great Apple product; it should be so well done and simple that its message is intuitive and easy to understand.

So here are the 3 biggest mistakes that marketers make when it comes to data – and how to avoid them.

  1. Most marketers use the platform tool’s reporting – which isn’t usually good or helpful

One of the biggest problems I see in marketing is that the data and measurements often come from the “one click” reports that the tech platforms create for you. They’re so easy!

Yes, and they’re so useless, in many cases.

Ever since Google and Facebook were created, software engineers have been creating these “instant” reports. Which is a big mistake because these software specialists have absolutely no idea about marketing. So they have been inept at creating reports that illustrate what marketers need, what’s useful, and what marketers (and their clients) want to see.

Instant reports were created by people who thought about function, not use. If they’d asked a group of marketers what they really need, they might have created something good.

How can you fix this? Instead of using a platform’s “instant reporting” tools, understand what numbers you need to make sense of your marketing. Is it ROI? Is it traffic to a landing page? Once you figure out your end goal – and what success looks like – figure out how to get the data to show that. And look at that, instead!

2) Marketers invented their own dashboards – which are hard to understand

Because marketers have been so frustrated by the reporting tools and analytics created by these platform engineers, some have created their own marketing dashboards. Which is great! The problem is they’re often hard to understand; they aren’t visually intuitive.

On top of that, I don’t know of many marketers who actually review their dashboards with their clients. They just send off the report saying “here it is!” and that’s that. They’ve washed their hands of any responsibility to show the success (or failures) in the work they’re doing.

How can you fix this? If you’re a client of an agency, or internal team, ask that the data be in picture format, instead of number charts. You don’t want to look at numbers and have to figure out what they mean. And agencies/marketing teams: if you create graphs, your senior leaders or clients will understand what the data stands for and represents.

Graphs and charts show progress right away. Seeing how website traffic has increased by looking at a chart takes only a moment to understand, as opposed to looking at what the numbers are month after month, quarter over quarter, or year after year.

3) Not measuring your marketing – compared to last year/season

It’s really exciting to have campaigns running that are timely, or important – perhaps with the launch of a new product or service, or to punch up sales.

But what really makes the difference in year-over-year results is to looking at these numbers all the time – in a number of ways – to measure success. I have never seen an small agency that does this. If you’re a marketer, this is the most effective way to show that the marketing spend is worth the investment and, perhaps, even more investment.  

How can you fix this? Ask your marketing team or agency to create a monthly report that shows not only how campaigns are doing – but how they are increasing traffic to your website or landing pages over time.

Ask them to show you the previous month or quarter vs. that quarter last year, as well as that month/quarter compared to the previous month/quarter. These multiple perspectives will show you both how various campaigns are doing and how your website is doing overall.

If you’ve made any of these mistakes, or your marketing team/agency is making these mistakes, feel free to contact me so we can chat. I’m happy to show you ways to be successful!