All the Data Things! How to Start with Marketing Automation and Metrics

Posted by Taylor Haney on Mon, Apr 14, 2014

This month's theme is Data and Analytics and we are kicking it off with a post from Bethany Walsh, Director of Marketing Programs and Events at Backupify. Bethany discusses how to get started with data tracking when there are an endless amount of options out there. 

Bethany WalshBethany Walsh is the Director of Marketing Programs and Events at Backupify, the leader in enterprise-grade cloud-to-cloud backup, a Cambridge-based startup. She is also the Marketo Admin and tracks all the data things. @babarker 

As modern marketers, we now have options available to track granular details of lead activity, but when is it too much? When does it merely distract instead of help? Learn where to start with data tracking and how to build on it. 

Marketing automation systems are a modern marketer’s key to success when it comes to metrics. They are a tool that lets us attach real ROI to the programs and campaigns that we run, tying directly back to the sales that the company makes. But they are large, complicated systems that are easy to get lost in if not given the proper attention.

You have to pick your poison.

Like many choices we are faced with, there isn’t a clear right or wrong way to set up your systems – they are built to be flexible and customized, which means there are a lot of ways to do the same thing, some more simple than others. That means you have to make trade-offs, usually between granularity of your tracking and the time spent managing your system. The more complex your system, the more it interacts with other systems, means the more manpower you need to dedicate to it.

Where to start?

The best way to approach metrics is to make a wish list. In a perfect world, what would you want to know? Every detail, right? So list them out. Next is the hard part – prioritize the list. Figure out the top handful that is non-negotiable (ideally these should align with your overall company goals) and order the rest starting with the most important. You should build your list focused at the top, keeping in mind what you want to add on in the future.

backupify blog

The definition of success.

One of the most common problems that everyone has when using an automation system, is that they never defined what things truly mean. Does your team all have the same definition of what a lead is? What about a sales ready lead? Or what a campaign really means? Most people just assume that they use the common terminology, but in reality, there is no common definition of those terms. Write down the terms you use in your metrics, lead, source, campaign – and write down their definitions in a place accessible to everyone.

Automate it.

Learn your system. Understand what it does on it’s own, what you need to build yourself, and what it’s really good at. Learn how it will interact with your CRM and other systems.

Find a company with a similar business model to yours who uses the same system and ask how they do it. Ask what they track and how they’ve built it out. Take it slow and remember that you will get there eventually, but you don’t have to do it tomorrow.

All the things, all the time!

You don’t need to look at every metric every day. Don’t waste your valuable time in the system staring at the data, spend that time more wisely by working to improve the way you collect it and learning more about your system. Bunch sets of metrics that you want to look at in waves – weekly, monthly, and quarterly.

Marketing automation systems are built for data collection. It’s up to you to setup your system to grow with you. Sometimes you’ll find that you have to start things over – we are currently in the process of rebuilding how we track all of our content, which requires me to rethink our landing page and form strategy. And that’s okay – mark it in your data as a place you started over and don’t try to compare apples to oranges in the future.

The most important thing to remember is that data is overly abundant but it doesn’t all need to be tracked. Just track what is most important to help you grow your company and stay focused on improving that.