These days the term data frequently gets thrown around in meetings, emails and articles. We all understand what data is and that it’s used to help drive decisions. But does data look and feel the same for every business? Does it come from the same source and require the same TLC? The short answer is no. Data originating from businesses or industries can look drastically different. Even the person who has the keys and access to data on the client side varies by business and industry.
While analytics is one of the core disciplines within Morgan & Co., the truth is data is alive and well across all we do, from audience analysis, to media strategy and even buying. Frankly, it’s at every step of our process, and its look can vary depending on where it is along that path.
Because of that varying look by business and industry, I thought it would be helpful to provide a glimpse into how we access it, what it looks like for us, most importantly how we use it.
How we access data
Arguably the biggest challenge is getting the data. Technology is amazing, but can often lead to headaches. So do not give up. We start our quest early for each campaign. We work closely with counterparts on our client’s team to find the person with the keys to hook us up. Sometimes that person isn’t on the advertising or marketing team, but instead in a completely different department.
In most cases, in addition to the access you’d expect a media agency to have (things like Google Analytics, etc.), we have direct access to the client data we need. We have a dedicated user seat on their system(s) that capture sales or conversion information. This could be POS (point of sale), booking engines or case management platforms. This direct access allows us to pull the exact information we need to analyze and react to performance week by week – all without bothering the client team.
What data looks like
Some might say data isn’t sexy, but it’s important to understand what it looks like, and to prepare the time needed to get it into the required format. Most systems (CRM, POS, chats, forms, etc.) do not capture information in a marketing-friendly form. So an Insights Analyst at Morgan & Co. will devote time cleaning up the data and organizing it so that we can use it properly. Most of the time the work is formatting and re-coding data, to have uniformity across everything the client’s team input. For instance, Texas must be abbreviated the same throughout, not TX, Tx, Tx., which could create 3 different data points. The cleaning of the data also allows the team quick access to information through pivot tables or even regression models, for insight in specific areas.
With that said, we like to clean things up for two reasons:
1) Like many systems out there, the platforms we use to analyze, report and present findings can be picky on what format the data is in, before we can upload it.
2) We’re very specific about what information we want to upload into our systems, based on what we measure, report on and optimize.
How we use data
Data provides clarity in how we look at and evaluate situations, patterns and opportunities. It is spread throughout our process, but is mainly used in two ways – research and reporting. The first phase of our process is called “Define” for a reason. It includes “Discovery,” “Audience Analysis” and “Customer Journey” stages. This is where we study the challenges or opportunities of the brand, the audience, marketplace, competition and overall landscape. It’s impossible to accomplish these critical steps if we do not have the right data shedding light on relevant areas.
Once the campaigns are humming along, we use data to optimize performance towards goals: sales, conversion, cost per acquisition; and regularly report back to the client team. For this, all data is piped through a reporting system like a dashboard, which lays out the necessary information in a clear manner. I say “necessary information” because I’m a stickler for how our reports are set up. Clients hire us to accomplish something very specific – get hotel rooms booked, get hungry patrons into a restaurant, or hire a company to perform a service. Regardless of what the goal is, it’s our job to help accomplish it. So the most important piece of data I’m concerned about is how many X did we accomplish, and at what cost. Because of that, such information is always the very top line of the report. This does not discount the other information behind those sales or conversions, as those too are in the dashboard. But you might have to scroll down.
Data is the only way you can plan and manage a successful media campaign. If you want to see what data can do for your brand’s initiatives, contact Morgan & Co., a media agency specializing in audience analysis, media strategy and analytics.