It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint

I’m no runner and I definitely don’t find it fun like others do. I’m the person that goes to the gym to lift weights and work on strength but about 2 years ago I decided that I needed to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone so I decided to set a goal of completing a half marathon. I accomplished that feat in November 2016 after a few months of training. I just recently ran my second half marathon in November 2017.

As I ran that first half marathon and then subsequently prepared for the second, I realized that there were many parallels between that and analytics and marketing technology implementations.

The design and implementation of an analytics technology solution that meets your organization’s needs now and later can be a long journey. That can often been seen as a problem as many organizations want it done as soon as possible.

Just jumping in is a mistake
You can’t one day say, “Hey, I’m going to run a 10K/half marathon/full marathon” and then go out and do it. You need to prepare and plan. You need to put work in ahead of time to get your body into the shape needed to maintain the necessary pace and distance.

As the popular adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Just jumping and starting to deploy data collection logic to your site without putting in the work ahead of time will lead to issues and more rework than you realize. Time and resources will be wasted and data will be far from reliable and trustworthy.

It’s not about speed
When I was training for my first half marathon, I thought you needed to work on how fast you can run. I was wrong; it’s not about speed at all. It’s all about maintaining a sustainable pace. If you go too fast out of the gate, you’ll burn yourself out before you get too far in. You’ll put too much strain on your body and significantly increase the chance of injuring yourself. Sprinting is for the 100 yard dash not 13.1 or 26.2 miles.

The same can be said about analytics solutions. The push to get things done as fast as possible will not lead to success. You’ll burn yourself out and team members will leave the project which will stop the project in its tracks.

Train for the long haul
So if it’s not about speed, what is it about? It’s about being able to maintain a good, sustainable pace over a long distance. Not too fast and not too slow. It’s about being on your feet for 2 to 3 hours, or more, while constantly moving. This means speeding up at times and it means slowing down at others in order to hit milestones.

With a technology implementation, I guide my clients to take a crawl, walk, run approach. This means get the core framework in place first so they can start to see information on business critical KPIs while other work continues. Enhancements will continue to be completed and new data will made available on regular intervals. This requires discipline and can be easily derailed if the typical project mentality of just checking items off a list takes over. This means maintaining a pace where key stakeholders can see progress and value in what has been done but not moving so fast that you introduce issues or develop a solution that is not manageable or scalable.

Have fun with it!
Make sure you take the time to enjoy the scenery and recognize what you have while other work is completed.

Get others in the organization interested and excited about the new solution. You’ll be able to sustain the momentum needed to mature your solution beyond the initial release so it becomes a critical part of your organization.

Also, don’t forget to wear that Incredible Hulk t-shirt for your run!
Driscoll Disney Run

Jim Driscoll
Jim is a senior consultant on the Solutions Engineering team at 33 Sticks who brings 15 years of solution design and technology implementation experience, with 9 years focused on web analytics and digital marketing technologies.  He is a fitness enthusiast and avid sports fan.  He also thinks he can play golf.