Why Marketers Should Think Like Software Developers

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Photo Credit: Business vector designed by Freepik

 

Recently, at Web Congress Puerto Rico, I had the honor of joining business leaders in a lively discussion of the importance of measuring the impact of marketing campaigns. Although it was immediately obvious that I was out of my depth—I’m an engineer, not a marketer—I quickly realized that all of my training as a software developer and project manager gave me a unique perspective on how best to capture, measure, and use data.

Measuring marketing performance has never been easier, from a sheer toolkit standpoint. There is no shortage of great technology solutions and apps that help marketers see and understand their campaigns’ impact. But in an era where pushing content to engage customers has been inverted to require companies to build an online presence that pulls customers in, it’s not always easy to tell what types of data tell the whole story.

Let me be clear: I’m not a CMO. However, as a business leader, I have observed that the laser-like focus that so many marketing organizations have on KPIs reflects a broader trend that plays out across many functions within organizations.

At the heart of this quest for the Holy Grail of measurement is: how to effectively and accurately report data for analysis. As the old expression goes, garbage in = garbage out. So, how can you ensure that the data you’re analyzing and using for performance management has been reported correctly?

To address this challenge, marketers (and any other functional area responsible for measuring performance) need to think more like software development organizations. Here are my top tips:

 

• Institute A/B testing discipline:

This approach is essential to successful development organizations, which rely on a formal process of eliminating bad ideas through good data analysis.

• Measure everything:

Make sure that you use all available API’s to track things like your webpage, emails, blog, and Twitter. Not knowing things like pageviews, bounce rate, country of origin, and type of device can make a difference.

• Have the data when you need it:

Remember, your data is your competitive advantage. Don’t get caught saying to yourself: “I wish I knew if my client opened my email“. You have to know these things.

 

As a technology company founded and run by engineers, we track everything. We want to be certain that the message we convey in marketing material, project specs, client communications, and every other aspect of our work, is being received accurately and effectively. So we use everything from Google Analytics to 1:1 feedback mechanisms to ensure our marketing campaigns—and our work generally—hits the mark.

I’m happy to share more about my not-so-secret tips for effective performance measurement. Drop me a line if you want to chat.

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