— March 14, 2019
Well, it’s March 14, again. 3.14. Y’know, Pi Day. The day when we all take a moment to celebrate that mystical number 3.14159265359 … give or take a few thousand decimal places. At my age, I’ve had to cut back and now only celebrate out to five or six decimal places. But, hey, you do you.
So, why do you care? What’s this got to do with marketing or digital — or, for that matter, anything at all useful to anyone? Well, we’re surrounded by numbers in digital marketing. For starters, zeroes and ones provide the foundational computer code that makes your iPhone and internet work. We live our lives in a society dependent on digits.
More directly, as marketers, it’s particularly important that we pay attention to the numbers that identify when our campaigns and our content deliver for our customers and companies alike. Here are a few ways to make your numbers work for you.
You probably spend significant chunks of your day heads-down in dashboards working to decipher their meaning and determine the right next steps for your business. As I’ve noted in the past, data matters for marketers and it’s nothing you need to fear. There’s a simple approach we use to develop dashboards and analytics that answer your most important questions quickly and easily: The MASTT Framework.
What’s MASTT? It’s a simple way to think about any of your data. Make sure that all your reports and dashboards check the following boxes:
- Meaningful. Does your data matter? Here’s a simple test for you. If an increase of 10% or a decline of 5% doesn’t make you sit up and take notice — I often call these the “Oh, yeah!” and “Oh, crap!” thresholds, respectively — you’re not measuring a meaningful metric. Eliminate it and only focus on those that truly matter to your business.
- Actionable. Does the metric guide you to changes you’ll need make to improve your marketing activities? No? Again, that’s not a helpful number. Or, to be fair, it may be worthwhile to invest more time in learning what actions follow from your existing metrics. But in either case, pay attention to metrics that guide you towards repeatable, useful actions.
- Segmented. One of the best ways to understand the actions needed to take revolves around segmenting your metrics. Don’t look at the traffic to your site in total or the complete set of users of your app at the same time. Slice them into useful segments (organic search, paid search, email, social, etc.) so you can more easily see where to direct your efforts at improving individual groups — and, in turn, improve your performance as a whole.
- Trended. Let’s pretend I could predict the future and told you that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would close at 31,415 next Pi Day. Ignoring how cool it would be that I can predict the future, that information’s useful only if you know what the DJIA is today. The same is true for your company’s data. Looking at a single number with no context of its direction and velocity isn’t terribly helpful. So don’t do that. Look at data in relation to a comparable period (same time last year, last month, last week, etc.) to get a more accurate picture not only of where you’ve been, but where you’re going.
- Timely. Speaking of where you’ve been, let’s pretend I could predict the past … waitaminnit. That’s not a thing. It’s not necessarily helpful either, is it? Of course not. Many metrics show you where you were, not where you’re going. That’s not necessarily a Bad Thing. But it’s important that those data aren’t from too far in the past. Again, what are you going to do differently because of that data? Information from (March 17, 2019) or last week or, maybe, last month may provide useful insights for your business. But unless you’re using data from the not-so-recent past to get a clearer picture of long-term trends, focus instead on data you can put to use now. (Bonus points, by the way, for use of any metrics or data — such as bounce rate, voice of customer, etc. — that help you reliably forecast future business results. Sometimes we can predict the future).
Look, 3.14159 is a cool number. It’s played a key role in helping scientists, engineers, and others deliver all manner of important innovations. But as a digital marketer, you’ve got lots of cool numbers too. Use them the right way, put them to work for your brand and business, and watch as you earn your company a bigger slice of the … Pi.
Editor’s note: March 14, 1592 is still known as Ultimate Pi Day, which, let’s be honest sounds much cooler than just regular old, ordinary Pi Day. I suspect that March 1, 39,573 years from now is gonna be lit.
Additional editor’s note: For the record, our correspondent cannot predict the future, generally, nor that of the stock market specifically. Please do not use his hypothetical example, God help us, as investment advice.