I was sitting with the sales team at CaliberMind and we got into a discussion about why the product is so exciting. They rattled off some stuff about end-to-end funnel reporting and an ability to measure return on investment.
Sure. That’s all true. But that’s not why I was excited to first learn about the product.
The ability to understand cause and effect and then go make changes, measure again, and adjust is key in any organization, but especially in marketing. Measurements make the difference between marketing organizations that are doing what their network says works and marketing departments doing what they know works.If I have my finger on the pulse of the business, I can have a direct influence on positive outcomes, which means my department looks great, my boss looks great, and my reputation in the organization is better than solid.
Insights from advanced analytics completely changed the trajectory of my career, and that’s why I get excited about CaliberMind. They offer other marketers a chance to pivot from tactical to strategic and experience the same career-altering conversations.
Moving From Tactical to Strategic
As a financial analyst fresh out of college, I thought the most important part of analyzing data was identifying issues and triple checking every number for accuracy. It drove me crazy when executives would get stuck on a formatting change or color update rather than focusing on what I thought was an obvious story in the data.
While I still don’t understand the fixation on colors (okay, I finally see the importance of being consistent), I learned a big lesson in those meetings. Not all of us see data the same way. And I was missing a lot of context around the numbers. When I started (consistently formatting and) pointing out the patterns I was spotting instead of just putting numbers up on a screen, the conversations were richer. Executives could give hypotheses behind fluctuations and I had a direction to look and track down the potential cause.
We went from focusing on what each of us was comfortable with to talking about real business problems that could be addressed with the right information.
With the help of some amazing mentors, I began learning the psychology behind the numbers.
Instead of being frustrated that an obvious problem existed, I had the tools to prove the problem existed, measure the impact, and get a team assigned to help me fix it. I could use information to push people into action.
Over time, leadership trusted my weird knack for spotting problems early and they valued my advice. I developed relationships that have lasted decades and made a major career change possible. Without advanced analytics, I’d still be sitting at a desk crunching numbers in spreadsheets.
How I Found Myself at CaliberMind
My career spanning operations management (fifteen years working in every market-facing department before revenue operations was a thing) architecting and managing systems and the data they produced was a great segue into the job I love today.
My insights into best practices as a CaliberMind prospect directly led to my work with them today documenting best practices and creating thought leadership content, beginning with this podcast episode.
It Doesn’t Have To Be So Hard…
There has been a fabulous post circulating on LinkedIn that has hit many of us in the feels.
(Note: There is quite a bit of adult language.)
Many marketers are out in the wild trying to integrate all of their applications, and too many use monstrous spreadsheets to add on what can’t be integrated. These data sources speak different languages and they look at the sales process differently than the rest of the B2B organization.
The end result is a really broken mousetrap that fails to be triggered without a human walking over and manually stepping in. This, again, was perfectly illustrated in the post above. Bravo.
Every quarter, I spent a week merging data sources. This was with a sophisticated system that benchmarked funnel stages, properly captured campaigns and channels, and used multi-touch attribution to determine campaign effectiveness. It still took manually adding in a few data sources to produce an executive dashboard.
As time-consuming as it was, it wasn’t a small achievement. After months and a marketing automation overhaul, we got to the point where the CFO and CEO were able to tear apart my models (and have their analysts tear apart my models) and be confident that we finally had marketing numbers the rest of the organization could trust.
We made sweeping changes to our marketing tactics after having this kind of knowledge at our fingertips. Sometimes we overstepped and went too far. Sometimes we got it right the first time. But we always knew whether something was working or needed more changes. Despite the positive changes we saw from advanced and predictive analytics, we still couldn’t get the green light to invest in an analytics platform. The executive team had too much faith in Excel and not enough appreciation for how fragile the system was.
Making Marketing Analytics Sustainable
What excites me about CaliberMind is that they step in and guide you through best practices. In addition to stepping in and helping you build a marketing analytics instance, they will help merge disparate system data and give you guidelines for keeping it clean going forward. They are able to use universal identifiers and tie all of the activities across all of your systems together to tell a coherent data story.
CaliberMind could have easily saved me a year of effort at my last company alone on systems research, documentation, and configuration updates. Then add in the weeks every quarter crunching numbers for our quarterly review and subsequent fact-finding missions.
If I had live data consistently at my fingertips, we would have spent far less time looking backward at what happened. We could get better performance this quarter by constantly adjusting tactics to optimize output. We could have been more proactive.
The freedom to impact this kind of change on an organization is huge. And it’s career-altering.
Having advanced analytics allows marketers to understand why things are happening, not just that something happened. This deeper level of understanding establishes credibility with the rest of the organization and positions marketing as an innovative force.