Earlier this week, I gave a talk at the Data-Driven Marketing meetup on how we use data at SilverStripe. It was a little intimating, giving a talk about data, to a room of data scientists. This was heightened by the fact the other speaker was Shaun McGirr, Analytics Consultant for Optimal BI. Shaun has 13 years experience with data and is currently completing a PhD on bureaucratic corruption. I was a little nervous…

Luckily, Shaun didn’t dwell on detailed analytics calculations and instead offered some fantastic, practical advice. He also had one of the better talk titles I’ve seen in a while:

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 5.19.34 pm.png

Shaun explained how we all have the ability to be data ninjas, event if we’re not data scientists. The key was mastering the basics within your own area of expertise. This theme led nicely into how I use data as a marketer, which more often than not does not include spreadsheets!

Joining the dots: Data and Marketing Strategy

Here’s a summary of the talk and you can grab the slides here.

Have a framework that links the day-to-day with the bigger picture

At SilverStripe, we’ve been using the OKR framework for the past year. It was pioneered by Intel and is used by tech giants like Google and Linkedin. OKRs stands for objectives and key results. Goals are written in terms of “what do we want to achieve” [the objective] and “how will we know when we’re successful?” [The key results]. Every OKR should have a clear metric that measures the impact, not output of your efforts.

OKRs are set at a company level each quarter, tying into the longer term strategic direction. Next each team sets their own OKRs which feed into the company ones. Every team knows what the company is driving towards, and how every other team plans to help achieve this.

This framework supports data-driven marketing in a few ways:

  1. It highlights the most important data to be collecting, forcing focus and avoiding the temptation to look at everything as equal
  2. It connects day-to-day activities into the bigger picture, creating a sense of purpose
  3. The transparency created allows teams with different specialities to connect over common goals

[OKRs] are a tool for motivating and aligning people to work together. They increase transparency, accountability and empowerment.” ~ Angus Davis, CEO, Swipely to First Round (a great article if you’re interested in using OKRs).

OKRs are well suited to tech companies as it focuses on quarterly goal setting aligned with 1-5 year goals. The framework encourages continuous measurement, transparency and creativity.

Go low-fi to allow data to engage

Lets face facts: Spreadsheets aren’t engaging.

They don’t excite people. They don’t easily spark conversations. And remembering to review them on a daily basis can be painful.

Despite being a company that builds both open source software and websites, low-fi data uses have proved hugely effective in goal tracking.

Taking data out of spreadsheets and onto our walls has resulted in some surprising wins. Like getting hi-fives from developers over marketing, yes it’s true!

We also found:

  1. Whiteboards and walls provide limited real estate, so you need to be focused on the most valuable data to track
  2. Low-fi data stays top of mind and part of daily conversations
  3. Low-fi systems made tracking OKRs easy and provided good motivation when we could see our progress across the quarter

My full slidedeck

For full details on OKRs and how we use data at SilverStripe, check out my slidedeck below. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section.

Make sure you head along to the next Data-Driven Marketing meetup by joining their group. Many thanks to Kat Greenbrook for organising the event and to Dot Loves Data for hosting.

Posted by Nicole Williams

I'm a marketing geek with a passion for tech. Previously, I was the marketing manager for SilverStripe (open source CMS and cloud PaaS) Currently, podcaster and blogger for TechMarketer.org and founder of Wellington Marketing meetup. Currently exploring Europe and living the dream! I'm always up for a chat about marketing and I love sharing my experiences so that others don't have to learn the hard way.

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