Data Sourcing & Analysis

 

Creating AContent CalendarWe hope that after last week’s intro into this series, you had some time to do some serious thinking about what success looks like for your business.

In the previous post, we discussed what you should be measuring from a beginner stand point, your inputs, outputs and outcomes. But you will need to look at much more if you want the complete picture, what you’ll need to look at is your business metrics. Business metrics looks at things like Market Share, Revenue, Profit, Average Order Size, and ROI. It is these metrics that allow you to access the overall health of your business and evaluate the impact of your social media efforts. But in order to do so effectively you will need to analyze one action’s impact at a time.

In Part 1, we were just beginning to touch upon data sources, the various software suites and platforms that store all of the information regarding your business. Let’s break down what these common data sources are:

  • Corporate Finance Systems: for many these systems bridge the gap between Accounting and Management. For these systems its all about the numbers, they look at everything from profits and losses to employee productivity to provide you with valuable insights to improve your business. Very often these robust systems are able to provide you with industry benchmarks and forecasts. Developers of these types of systems include but are not limited to  Intuit, Sage, Adobe and Oracle.
  • Media & Marketing Plans: maybe you did one before you went into business, maybe you didn’t. But typically if you take the time to do these thoroughly they can be a treasure trove of data and a great jumping off point when it comes to developing and implementing any marketing or sales strategy.
  • Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM): these systems typically hold tons of data on your direct interactions with your existing customer base. Examples of commonly used CRM are Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, HelloWorld, Infusionsoft and Salesforce.
  • Market Research: which has never been easier in this digital age, are the surveys and polls you conduct with your existing customers. You’ll be surprised by what you will learn about your business if you only take the time to ask? Online services such as SurveyMonkey, make it fairly simple to get started.
  • Web Analytics: such as Google Analytics, provide you with insights on your website traffic, as well as your overall online presence.
  • Social Network Data: these are the insights provided to you by the social platforms you use.
  • Digital Ad Serving Platforms: online ads and banner management has never been more convenient and measurable then they are with Google Adwords. Your able to gain insights into the types of actions your ads invoke.
  • Online Videos: one can not deny that video is  becoming even more of an integral part of online marketing and social media. YouTube, by far the largest video platform, provides you with additional insights into the impact of your visual and media efforts

Once you’ve had an opportunity to compile data from all of your appropriate data sources, its time to analyze. Analysis is the ability to break down material into its component parts.  It is a process that serves to make improvements and streamline efforts. So it’s wise to regularly analyze your efforts. In Sexy Little Numbers, the process discussed is the A2A – Analysis to Action – framework.

Adopted from Sexy Little Numbers by Dimitri Maex

Adopted from Sexy Little Numbers by Dimitri Maex

It all begins with the data phase. This is going to require you to import all of your data into an Excel spreadsheet.  To simplify things you can utilize the Analysis ToolPak in Excel. During the analysis phase you want to figure out what worked and what didn’t work by asking the right questions. For Example:

  • Does one ad work better than another?
  • Does time of day and day of the week factor into a campaigns success?
  • Does length of campaign play a part?
  • Which products or services did well during a particle campaign?

From here you need to begin testing. What’s working, and what would the impact be on your business if you saw a small percentage increase or decrease? Knowing what doesn’t work allows you to re-work content, redistribute it, and analyze the new data. You have to be willing to do a little experimentation, going beyond A/B Testing and begin running A/B/C/D/E/F Testing.

Moving in the process from testing to share and execute, is the point at which action is required. In terms of the A2A framework the share step refers to sharing the insights of all the analysis you’ve done with your company’s team. Together you can begin to develop more engaging content and plan execution strategies based on the information your organization has.

Next week we’ll look at a hypothetical case in order to illustrate the process in action. As always we hope you have found this post to be informative. We want to hear from you so be sure to leave a comment below!

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