Simon — Sun, 01/30/2011 - 10:32
Far too often analysts produce reports that are impossible for read for anyone that isn't an analyst themselves.
A natural reaction for people that don't understand something is get defensive and to start to look for problems. There are almost always areas of an analysis that can be attacked. Was the sample size large enough, is your web analytics data quality accurate enough, are you matching customers within your CRM properly etc.
Too often, analysts try to protect themselves from criticism by layering in even more data points, caveats, formulas and proofs in their arguments. This is exactly the wrong approach for most audiences.
The way you learned how to present an analysis in school is almost the complete opposite of how you should present it in business.
In essence, one of the most robust approaches is to do the analysis and have all of the data backing up your findings, but present a summary of your work. Leave in only a few notes about high level data sources to show that the analysis was robust. And for the love of God, DO NOT put the methodology at the front of a presentation. If you were in an elevator trying to convince someone of a point would you first start talking about your general reasoning methodology?
If you want your ideas and recommendations to be taken seriously, you need to be able to explain them in a simple manner, otherwise people won't listen to you. It doesn't matter if you're an analyst working within a large organization, or the founder of your own company, if you can't explain why your analysis makes sense to your Mom/Grandma/Child then you are limiting the impact it will have.
Simon — Mon, 02/14/2011 - 21:12
Now, I'm not saying that every marketer needs to understand how to implement tracking codes, or have a masters degree in statistics, but if you want to compete and be successful you need a basic understanding of analytics to demonstrate why you are doing is worth what you are doing.
Often in large organizations marketers rely to heavily on their analytics teams to tell them what they should be measuring and how they should be measuring. They often ask the wrong questions, like "how is my campaign performing", when they should be asking "what is the story of my campaign"?
As a marketer, you need to be able to tell a story as to why you are successful, in addition to simply measuring success. In essence, you will be marketing yourself. This will greatly benefit you career. In order to do this you need a plan. I have developed a rough outline you can use as a template in my post "a measurement plan for any marketing campaign".
Why leave such an important measure of your performance to someone else when you can pro-actively drive it yourself?
Simon — Fri, 12/10/2010 - 00:19
I'd like to start by saying that I'm more of a hobbyist and fight fan than an actual fighter. My record of amateur and pro fights is an impressive 0-0. I have however been training in various martial arts over the past 20 years ranging from Tae Kwon Do, to Judo, to Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, to Muay Thai Kickboxing. In all of these classes I have learned some valuable lessons that I've been able to apply to many other facets of my life, most specifically my career.
1 - Belts don't really matter with few exceptions - just like degrees, certificates and awards
I am kind of embarrassed I didn't figure this one out earlier. I remember being an athletic 15 year old taking Karate lessons where the "teacher" was a skinny 12 year old black belt. I honestly thought that because the kid had black belt he could kick my ass. I also thought that because I had trained a lot of karate and had won several no contact "point fighting" tournaments I was pretty bad ass.
Let's just say my world came crashing down when a drunk kid started throwing punches that he actually intended to hit me with.
The honest truth is that most martial arts belts don't really signify much in terms of fighting ability with a few notable exceptions (e.g. Judo, Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu and a few others).
All that they really mean is the person awarded with the belt has paid enough money to get it and meets some basic knowledge requirements. The same can be said for degrees, certificates and most awards.
What really matters is the person.
2 - You need to have contact, otherwise you might as well be learning to swim on land
Now, you should learn the basic movements first, otherwise you'll just flail around and tire yourself out first, but you should always have a target of getting into the ring and into live sparring.
Training to fight without contact is like training to swim while on land. Learning some basic movements while on shore is helpful, but you wouldn't want your first actual swimming experience to be when you were potentially swimming for your life.
In your career you need to push yourself. If you never do, then you won't be ready for it when someone/something pushes you (e.g. a competitor).
3 - Quit being afraid. With hindsight, few things are as bad as you thought they would be, including getting punched in the face
Now, I'm not talking about real violence here. I've been lucky enough to have never been involved in a situation where someone truly wanted to take my life. I think it's pretty safe to say that a gun fight is something that could easily become much worse than you ever thought possible. I'm talking about getting into the ring with boxing gloves on and sparring with someone full contact. Most people are afraid of this. I was the first time I did it.
It's really not that bad
I didn't feel the punches during the session, but I did have a headache that night and the next morning. I was pretty bad at blocking when I first started real contact sparring. Turns out that blocking punches that were never really intending to hit you is easier than blocking ones that are. The only way to get better at it was take a few punches to the face.
Don't be afraid to jump into new projects, move on from a shitty situation, or change careers. It could be the best thing you ever did, and you shouldn't ever let fear be the deciding factor as to why you don't make a positive change for yourself.
4 - Hard work pays off
People starting out at my gym ask me how to kick or punch with a lot of power. They often don't like the answer, because people often don't like to put in the time and work. Your kick will become powerful by going through the following process: learn the basic technique, kick the bag a few thousand times (over several days), got pointers to refine technique, kick the bag several thousand more times (over days/weeks), repeat for many years. The more smart work you put in, the better you will become. It really is that simple.
Note that a key part to the process is refining the technique. In your career this equates to working hard and working smart. Having a mentor and/or colleagues who have complementary skill sets which can be cross trained is hugely beneficial to success.
5. If you're not uncomfortable, you're not getting better
You shouldn't be the best person at everything at your gym unless you're the instructor and aren't actively fighting. If you are, you will never learn anything. The best place to train at is a gym where you are the least skilled person there. The first Judo club I tried as an adult had several kids in the class, and I found that I was able to beat most of them based on strength and some rudimentary skills alone. I was a fairly competent striker at this point, was an athletic 22 year old man, and wanted to learn a bit about this grappling stuff I had seen in those early UFC's.
I thankfully tried another gym that had adult only classes and was throughly destroyed by everyone in the class that I went up against.
It was an uncomfortable, frustrating, difficult, and humbling experience, but I have never experienced that level of rapid learning since.
In your career you need to seek out challenges. The fastest way to succeed is by being brave and trying difficult things. You will fail more, but it is well worth the effort.
Simon — Mon, 09/27/2010 - 14:15
Step 1: Figure out what your goal is
Define why you are doing what you are doing. This should be something that adds value to the business. If you don’t know this, and aren’t scrambling to define this right now, then you should maybe start looking for a new job now before you’re laid off. Why not be proactive about it, right?
Some example goals for an internal social media community could be to increase employee productivity, increase employee satisfaction or spread knowledge across the organization.
Step 2: Find out how your goal is already measured at your company
There are two main sources of data for this:
Data source A: Every enterprise company that I’ve worked with surveys their employees at least once a year to understand how satisfied they are, how up to date they feel they are with respect to communication to upper management etc.
Data source B: Enterprise companies also usually have a formal employee evaluation process. If one of your goals is to increase employee productivity, this should be a valuable source of data for you.
Step 3: Use current measurement to understand impact of your activity
Employee surveys are usually confidential and run by a third party company, but you should be able to work with the company running these surveys to cross reference employees that are active on your internal community to survey results to see if active employees are more likely to be more satisfied etc. You could also take the next step to see if an employees satisfaction scores went up after they started actively using the community. If, like at most companies, much less than 100% of your employees are actively engaged in the community, then you should have a large control group to compare against.
A similar method can be applied to the employee evaluation process. You should be able to provide a list of employees who are actively engaged in your internal community to your HR group to run an analysis seeing if there is a correlation between productive employees and employees that use the internal community. HR groups should be against sharing employee reviews with you (if they’re not it is cause for concern), so they’ll need to run the analysis.
Use the results to demonstrate how effective (or ineffective) your community is. Scream from the rafters if you are increasing productivity and then ask for more money to do more. If you aren’t being effective then take a serious look at what you are doing and take steps to fix it.
Due to the nature of the data sources used, this is going to be a once a year exercise. There are many other things you should be paying attention to on a daily basis to monitor performance (e.g. engagement levels, registrations, traffic, etc.), but most of those don’t answer how well you are executing against your fundamental goal – unless your goal is as un-ambitious as getting more people to use the internal community, which in and of itself doesn’t demonstrate business value.
Simon — Sun, 02/21/2010 - 12:22
1. Understand your goal
If you don't know why you're doing something, what will you answer when someone asks you why you are doing something? I am always surprised by the number of people that initiate a marketing campaign without a clear, measurable goal.
Some examples: sell items, generate leads, move prospects through a funnel, educate prospects, raise awareness of your product
2. Set up measurement tools
Hopefully these are already in place through a web analytics team in your company. Get to know them and find out what is being currently tracked. You might be surprised to learn that what you want to measure is not currently tracked. If you don't have a web analytics team, then look into setting it up yourself. There are plenty of free tools available. I recommend google analytics as a great starting place.
3. Set a baseline
Before you can understand how well you are performing, you need to understand how the channel was performing before your marketing efforts.
Very often marketers make the mistake of taking credit for 100% of activities during the time that their marketing campaign was live. Doing this may make you look good in the short term, but will get you laughed out of the room when you have to defend your budget against finance.
4. Ensure that your campaign is set up to track correct
Didn't we do this in step 2? Yes and no. There may be an extra step to set up tracking your individual campaign via campaign tracking code. Check with your analytics team or the documentation of you analytics software to check.
5. Pay attention to your analytics as your campaign is running
Make changes as needed. If you have multiple aspects to your campaign ensure that you focus more resources on piece that are working, and kill off parts that are not.
6. Tell a story
Tell people in your organization how the work you did had an impact on the business. This will increase your personal profile and the profile of marketing overall.