Which Came First, the Analyst or the Culture?

By Jason Thompson, co-founder, 33 Sticks   You can spend a lot of money hiring great analysts but unless you have the culture of analytics as a core component across the business, even the best analysts will have a diminished ability to drive value.   Companies that I have worked both for and with that have really leveraged analytics all had one thing in common, the importance of using data to inform decisions was woven into the culture of the company.   When analytics is part of the culture, it becomes it’s own department that has many customers within the business that crave the product (insights and recommendations) that analytics can offer. When I ran an analytics organization on the client-side, my customers were the executive team, creatives, developers, product managers, marketeers, support reps, etc. etc. etc.   I’ll offer a few uses cases to highlight how different levels in the organization interacted with the analytics organization.   Executive Team The Executive Team would receive a weekly digest containing the performance of top level metrics. It’s important to note that this was not simply an automated report containing metrics but a summary that contained commentary from the Analytics Team on what the changes in metrics meant, in context, to the business.   In addition to the weekly digest, the Executive Team would take part in a monthly discussion in which the Analytics Team would present in-depth findings and recommendations.   Marketing The Marketing team used the Analytics Team to help in the creation of their campaigns i.e. what is the best segment of our population to target this specific...

Analytics Tips for Early Stage Startups

By Jason Thompson, co-founder, 33 Sticks   All the tips I can offer will mean little if startups are unwilling to properly invest in analytics.   Many early stage startups, being in the 1-10 employee range, often understand the important of analytics yet, for many different reasons, don’t properly invest in analytics.   Investing in analytics does not mean deploying Google Analytics, setting up a few automated reports, and forgetting about it.   Investing in analytics does mean investing in time and people. While many early stage startups don’t have the luxury of hiring a full-time analyst, a small investment in outside help can produce huge returns. Also, startups should allocate time for data curious employees to dive into the data in order to produce insights and recommendations.   Tip #1 – Analyze Marketing Spend   One of the biggest mistakes I see startups making is investing in marketing campaigns without measuring the results. Many marketing campaigns on the surface may look successful i.e. ‘hey, that Facebook campaign sure did drive a lot of traffic to our site!’ but underneath are bleeding money. Analyzing the success of marketing campaigns through an in-depth understanding of conversion rates, total acquisition costs, and lifetime value, is critical. Not only will investing time in analyzing the effectiveness of marketing spend prove to be a cost saving activity, it also has the added benefit of producing more targeted and efficient content which will ultimately increase conversion and revenue.   Tip #2 – Make Use of Product Analytics While investing in the top part of the customer acquisition funnel is vitally important, it is just...

Are You Branding Your Internal Analytics Practice?

By Jason Thompson, co-founder, 33 Sticks     The first boss I had, after graduating college, taught me two* valuable lessons.   Lesson 1: Invest wisely so that you can make a lot of money, in a relatively short amount of time, so that you can retire early and become a ski instructor in Austria.   Lesson 2: You must treat internal customers like you would treat external customers. They aren’t going to use your product just because you work for the same company. You have to market to them and sell them on the value of your services. If you force your product on them, they will begrudgingly use it while they curse you under their breath. If you give them the choice, and they select your services, they will reap great rewards and will become your champions.   * To be fair, he was an amazing boss and he taught me many, many more lessons, but these are the two that are relevant for this post.   I took lesson 2 to heart and had the opportunity to put it into practice when I was hired as Web Analytics Manager at Spark Networks. I was lucky in that I was going into a company that had zero web analytics, I had a clean slate (one of the main reasons I took the job). As I began wrapping my head around the measure needs of the organization, I also began to think about how I would brand my practice. Branding to me was as important as the vendor interviews I was conducting.   You may think it silly...