Stickiness Means Analytics Plus Planning
I’m all for throwing spaghetti on the walls. It’s fun! I learned that from my sons years ago. But I also learned that actually, it rarely sticks.
If you are not careful, you may find the same thing to be true of online analytics.
Google Analytics is more powerful than you can even imagine. Testing and tweaking is a breeze—well, provided you have some training. Still, continuous feedback has never been so easy, data and refinement never so accessible. Geeky, yes, but I love it.
However, analytics are not a panacea for market research and marketing communications (marcom) planning, which is actually great news. You need to be sure what you are testing in analytics is viable. Here is my conversation with a Google Analytics manager last week:
“How do you determine what to test online?” I asked.
“The client tells us.”
“How do they know what to test?”
He shrugged. He wasn’t sure.
“Couldn’t that lead to bad conclusions?”
I’m not relaying this conversation to sound like a smarty pants; I’m saying that relying solely on analytics is just throwing more spaghetti on the wall, more frequently. You look busier, but you may still end up with spaghetti piled on the floor instead of stuck to the wall.
Back to planning. For those who don’t know, your marcom plan is the matrix that outlines your communications over the next year. It details—by audience—what you are doing, the frequency, the budget, etc. It is static, but that is one of its blessings. It makes sense of your communications for a whole year. No shooting from the hip.
With Google Analytics, though, marcom plans are becoming less static, in good ways. You don’t have to wait a year to evaluate and change your marketing efforts. Google Analytics and marcom planning can be merged this way:
1. Define your audiences
2. Define what online efforts make the most sense to your audience(s)
3. Budget into your marcom plan monthly Google monitoring
4. Make changes! Remember that some online changes can impact those offline, too. For example, an online test might show that a certain headline works better, and that can be carried over to print.
Lastly—and this goes out to all my CEO friends, who, I might add, you should always keep happy—I’m not talking about a budget in flux. I’m talking about planned agility in terms of messaging and channels. Oh look, noodles on the wall!