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Make Better Connections Between the Data and the Customer

"Is something important because you measure it, or is it measured because it’s important? Are we giving weight to things merely because we’ve measured them?” -Seth Godin

Data is only really valuable when it tells us something about our relationship with our customers. What are ways to determine what is most VALUABLE to measure? Of course, it depends on the type of engagement, the offering, possibly even online brand presence.

Some general criteria we can follow:

  1. Always map data results back to a customer need.
    Did we connect with the customer properly? Is the data revealing a new opportunity to solve a pain-point for our customer? Are our design assumptions valid? Have we created an unintentional pain-point?
  2. Focus on results that can be mapped to a “common goal” between business and user.
    We usually deliver results involving revenue to determine a good return. However, we should look closely at results pertinent to business goals corresponding with solving a customer need. Essentially, look for those situations where we are addressing a common goal, or mutual effort, between the business and its customer.
  3. Deliver data results that validate something new or “experimental.”
    Anything we launched based on a hunch, a different “spin,” a unique user interface decision, even an unfortunate business mandate needs to be looked at closely.
  4. Carefully drawn conclusions.
    Blaming poor performance on weak creative or a weak offer are easy assumptions to make when a communication’s performance is lackluster. However, performance is often not the result of an unfortunate headline. More likely it is the result of a communication’s timing, or worse, a design with poor usability practices. We need to ensure our metrics relate back to the true nature of a customer engagement.
  5. Frame the results into a story.
    Rather than reporting the numbers and letting a group decide for itself what is real and what is mere conjecture, put the numbers into perspective — one that highlights our customer’s engagement. Ideally, the results should be presented through narrative rather than spreadsheets.

Spreadsheet example:

4% increase in click through; revenue was 20% greater than previous similar offer; average hotel booking 5+ nights

Story example:

Delivered during the spring months, many more customers viewed our offer via email — 4% more than the previous offer that was carried out during the winter months. Predominately family-oriented, these customers are leveraging our offer to plan summer trips. Using the Hawaii property art vs. the Arizona location was a good call, as it seems to have sparked some interest in longer vacations — our results are showing an increase in bookings with extended stays.

This example may seem a bit too straightforward, but it’s meant to illustrate the “attitude” of making meaningful connections. A clear metrics strategy is critical these days, but more importantly, it is the method we use to establish our conclusions. Measurement is only as good as the story it tells us about how we can better communicate with our most valuable customers.


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