Ep 188 | How to Build Data Tracking Into Your Marketing with Mickey Anderson
There are so many great marketing strategies out there. Are you struggling to figure out what to do and what to pass on? The best place to start is by looking at your data, or maybe even starting to collect data. That data tells you where things are working, and where the hold up might be in the mix.
Remember it's all about testing, testing, testing and patience. Always taking your marketing plans through to your overall goals for your organization are critical. It will help you know what data is most important to track.
What you'll learn:
→ what role your goals play in marketing.
→ how to use a debrief to reverse engineer your plans.
→ testing and tracking, how to simplify it.
→ asking the right questions to determine your marketing strategies.
Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:
[3:11] Why it's important to start with your goals. Your marketing efforts should be leading directly to your growth and organizational goals. Taking a look at your overall big picture with your marketing results will also help you determine if your marketing is working. One way to start this is making sure you debrief after every campaign or event to see what worked and what didn't.
[6:37] Reverse engineer your campaigns to see what's working and what needs to be tweaked. Review each step of the process to determine where things are converting well or where you might need to make changes to increase the likelihood of the person completing the action you want them to take, like making a donation. It's also important to review this for people that complete the conversion (so you can increase that) and those that aren't (so you can find where they're dropping out). Another great way to get this information is by tracking your activities weekly. A simple google sheet will work.
[12:29] Less tweaking and more testing. This can be more of a mindset piece. As you debrief from a campaign, it's not about “fixing” what didn't work but having other options and contingencies that you can use to improve and keep testing. Focus on one area of your funnel at a time, not the whole thing, so you can do it really well.
[18:39] Use the data to ask the right questions. When you're brainstorming or planning your marketing the data tells you where to go. Trust the data and use it as a guide for the decisions you make. Put your plans into quartly projects and no more than three each quarter.
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[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hello, Hello, we are talking today about how to take a look at your year end, pay attention to the data, set your goals and really be more impactful with your marketing efforts in 2023 still cannot get over saying that I cannot believe we're almost to the end of January. But I am really excited about this conversation that I had with Vicki Anderson, talking all about just ways to set goals were to be smart with your planning so that you don't get bogged down by the things that aren't going to push the needle forward. How can you be more effective with your marketing and really get things done? Mickey Anderson is a Marketing Strategist, Speaker and educator, she helps organizations identify the 20% of their marketing that drives 80% of their results and connects the dots between business objectives, marketing strategy and execution. With over 10 years of experience as a strategist and conversion copywriter, Mickey brings a wealth of experience and knowledge. You're gonna love this conversation. It gives you a lot of information about how to track data, what data to track and just some easy ways like a Google sheet to keep track of everything. And I love her red, yellow, green way of visually seeing where you're at. So definitely give this episode a listen if you're trying to refine the way that you do your marketing in 2023. And even if you're just someone who needs to find some ways to empower themselves to be able to talk about what's working, what's not, and how to move through with your board with your team on making those decisions.
But before we get into it, this episode is brought to you by our digital marketing therapy sessions, head on over to https://thefirstclick.net/officehours book your time with me, this is great if you can't afford to have a retainer consultant on your books or you don't need to have somebody all the time. But you want me in your back pocket to be able to just help you out with where you're stuck. So you can keep moving with your digital marketing. You can book 30 minutes at a time, and we'll sit down and discuss whatever it is that you need. So again, https://thefirstclick.net/officehours. Can't wait to see you. Let's get into the episode.
[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey, everybody, please join me in welcoming Mickey Anderson to the podcast. Mickey, thank you so much for being here.
[Mickey Anderson] Thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So you and I are kindred spirits, I think in that we are both loving, tying marketing to goals, which sounds natural, but feels uncomfortable for a lot of people. And I know why I love it. But why don't you just kick us off by sharing kind of how we waste so much time and effort on marketing efforts. And if we just tied them back to kind of where we're trying to go, it would be a much more enjoyable experience.
[Mickey Anderson] You know, there's a big mistake that a lot of organizations make, and it's seeing their growth objectives are their overall organizational goals as being separate from their marketing goals. And in truth, your marketing goals are an avenue to achieve your business goals. They're one in the same. And so there should never be a time where marketing wins and your organization loses, for example, your marketing is getting leads, they're achieving their goals, they've got more website traffic, and yet revenue is down. So marketing might be winning, but your organization is losing. And that should never happen, right? Your marketing should be working towards achieving your business goals or your organization's goals. But if you're not tracking, if you don't know what the goal is, how are we supposed to achieve it? And I think a lot of times in organizations there are silos where goals are housed, right? So there's the business growth goals that stay within the C suite, or stay within the organizational leadership. And then there's those tactical goals that are created separately, when in truth, they should all be made together, and everyone should be held accountable to those goals. And so if you don't set and share goals, how are you meant to achieve them as a team?
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I love that. And I hear from so many marketing people, especially in the nonprofit space, they're like, I don't know what to post. I don't know what to share. I don't know what I'm supposed to be talking about. Because like I can talk about all these things. But just to your point, they don't go anywhere of value to the overall growth of the organization. So I love that it's sales and marketing, fundraising and marketing should not be silos, if you learn nothing. Anything away. I love it. Okay, and so one thing that I think is hard when we talk about how do we create those goals, how do we create those data? Ways that we want to track sometimes people will say, Okay, we'll find like, we're just gonna, we're just gonna throw out a number we want to raise $100,000 This year, and they don't have any metrics. So we just got out of urine giving, we're just kind of coming into a new year. So there's power and kind of going backwards and reflecting on kind of what worked and what didn't from previous campaigns, right?
[Mickey Anderson] Absolutely. I think if you're not debriefing, after every campaign, you're missing out on a massive opportunity to learn and to optimize and to grow. And also to identify those big areas of opportunity that maybe you missed, as well as the challenges that you can avoid next time. So I absolutely agree, I think the debrief at the end of a campaign is essential. But I also think that when you're choosing those metrics, you need to be choosing both like the lagging metrics. So for example, the total amount that you received from your given campaign, but also you need those leading metrics that are going to help you throughout the campaign to see if you're on the right track that are going to help show you that what you're doing is working and leading you in the right direction. And then at the end of the year, you can take a look at those numbers and say, Hmm, you know, what, what can we learn? Where could we have done things differently? And moving forward? How are we going to use this information?
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So, you know, you mentioned a couple clear things like we can obviously track money, revenue, right, we can track number of donors, we can track average gift size, but some things in marketing are a little bit harder to kind of create, you know, okay, well, this led to this led to this. So how do we, if we're a marketer in our organization, and we know what we did, how do we kind of evaluate what activities were working and maybe what activities we shouldn't be doing? And the next time?
[Mickey Anderson] Yeah, I love this question. And it all comes down to that strategy. Right? The the goal of marketing is to build strong relationships and to move in this case donors, but in any organization, your customer, your client, your ideal prospect, to move them through the stages of the customer journey, right? So from awareness, understanding that you even exist, then all the way into becoming a loyal raving fan, who never wants to leave you who advocates on your behalf you promote to to their friends and family. And your marketing needs to have those tactical places where it's actively moving people through those steps. And so for me, the best place to start is from the point of sale, and then work your way backwards. Okay, so they made a donation. What happened directly before that? Why? And then what happened directly before that? Can I make these steps better? Can I make them so that it happens every single time to increase conversions? What can I do to optimize those steps, and I love to reverse engineer because I find when you move forward from awareness, and then try and move someone down that way, it gets a little bit blurry, and you make a lot of assumptions. But when you reverse engineer, you have a lot more information. So each stage can inform the next. And that's really the best way to understand if your marketing is moving, you are moving your donor in the right direction.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, and that's brilliant, too, because I think a lot of times we get stuck on who is our ideal donor? And who are we trying to target. And so what you're saying, you know, we could in theory, then just take that information and start to put people into buckets. So it might be this person came in this way this person came in that way. But that can help us naturally define kind of what those funnels look like without having to like, just start from scratch.
[Mickey Anderson] Yeah, and you know, different tactics will work for different people, right, that's just the way that it happens. And so I think it gives you the opportunity to test different things. So if your goal is to increase brand awareness, for example, or increase the amount of awareness you have around a specific, you know, donation campaign or an event, right, there are lots of different ways to get awareness. And some will work well, and some won't. But if you're not tracking and able to see the point of those things that you're doing and how you're tracking awareness, so is awareness, moving people into maybe they're joining our email list, or maybe they're hopping right up to donorship? Like, what are the steps? And then how can we say this is effective or not? Because awareness for the sake of awareness isn't gonna get you any more donors, right? Like, what's the point? And you need to be able to see how things are moving downstream.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Okay, so marketing, data tracking is something that I hate doing. I know a lot of people struggle with it. So do you have any tools or resources like where do you put this information? And how do you even begin to track it? Because I'm hearing you you're making sense. This is all logical stuff. But like that leap of knowing to doing is very true.
[Mickey Anderson] Well, I have a confession to make. I am not a tech savvy marketer. I'm a strategist, but I am not in the nitty gritty of the tech. So I don't have some fancy dashboard or anything like that. I and I think you do this, too. I use a Google Sheet. Yep. And I track weekly. Because if you don't track weekly, it's really hard to know what's happening, what's working, what's not you become disconnected from your data. When you're tracking weekly, you can pivot quickly. You can lean into things that are working and you know, if something's not working, you can ditch it fast. stourton save yourself some money to write. So there's a lot of opportunity when it comes to weekly tracking. But what I do is I look at that customer journey that I've drawn out on a big whiteboard, all of those steps, identify one to three key metrics that are going to help me know if that step is working is moving people to the next in the right direction. And every week, I plot that into my Google Sheet. And I just give it a simple scoring a green, green, a yellow or a red. And so green is like I'm either close to achieving my target, or I'm there, yellow is moving in the right direction, but I'm not quite close to getting my goal and then read if something is wrong, it's not working, I need to fix this. And that simple system keeps everyone on the team in the loop, right, they don't have to understand everything to know what red, green and yellow means. But on a weekly basis, it helps you see how things are working, what is and what isn't. And focus on the really important stuff, maybe the big fires that are red, or leaning into the big area that's green.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I mean, I think I love a good visual because you can just look at it and process quickly. Because we've all been in that spot where you like, looked at my analytics for a while I'm gonna go look at my analytics. And then you see like some big spike on some random day and you're like, Whew, I wonder what happened that day, like, what did I do, and then to try to wrack your brain around like, going then back and figuring out what that was like, that's also not a good use of your time. But then it just makes it so much harder to duplicate that effort of what it was that happened there.
[Mickey Anderson] And that's one of the challenges with automated tracking as well, I find a lot of businesses get really excited about these fancy dashboards that do all the work for us. But I am such a proponent for manual tracking, because you need to be in your data to understand it, you need to be finding it you need to take ownership of of it, you need to know where it is. And you need to be looking at it on a regular basis, because it is really going to connect you to the day to day things that you're doing and whether or not they're actually helping you achieve your business goals, your organization's goals. Yeah. And
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] so let's bring this back to kind of what we're talking about earlier with like if we want to debrief on our year end giving campaign so that we can do better different next time, I think we also tend to maybe over course, correct? Or under Course, correct, right. So by having this kind of dashboard, looking at the weekly trends, the red, yellow, green, it can really help us figure out what to tweak, right, because we don't want to tweak too much. Like try and find that sweet spot.
[Mickey Anderson] Well, then I take the kind of perspective of less tweaking more testing. Because when you put that like scientific hat on or your analytic hat on and you go into a test, you're looking for a result, and you're trying to see if something is going to work or not, right, you're you're testing some assumptions. But if you're tweaking, you've made an assumption, oh, this is going to fix the problem. And it's no longer a test. And I think that's a dangerous perspective, when it comes to your marketing, because you really don't know anything. Like let's get real there. None of us have any idea for sure if things are going to work.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Like this work this time, but didn't know at the same time.
[Mickey Anderson] Exactly, exactly. And so I think it's really important for us to when we're looking at our data and reflecting at the end of the year, to instead of thinking of fixes thinking of ways to test our assumptions. So that way, you know something, you might assume something is going to absolutely fix it. But when you put it into action, it does it and you need to have a backup plan, you need to have an idea of what you can do instead, right? You don't want to be reactive, you want to be proactive. And so I love coming up with contingencies and options, and keeping those in my pocket for those moments when tests don't go the way that I think they will. So instead of trying to fix a campaign right in the debrief, that's not the point of the debrief, the debrief is to look at as a whole. This was our goal. This is where we this is what we achieved. This is what we did, what can we learn and how can we move forward? It's not how can I fix it? It's what can I learn. And that's it.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And so if you're tracking on your sheet based off of the different kind of stages of the funnel, then it can kind of make it more clear like maybe right now we need to focus a little bit on our storytelling a copy because it's just not quite resonating. Or maybe we're on the wrong platform, like it can just kind of help direct you and maybe where to test first.
[Mickey Anderson] Absolutely. So I break my spreadsheet up into rows. So I'll bundle a bunch of rows for brand awareness and I'll like make them a certain color so it's really easy, I'm such a visual person and then I'll Bunder bundle engagement data and then I'll bundle subscribers and then all bundle a bundle you know conversions and then all bundle and it just makes it way easier to keep things that are all trying to achieve the same goal together and identify a focus area because sometimes the other stuff just really doesn't matter yet. And that's okay.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, we don't have to fix it all at once. I should say fixed we don't have to test it all at once. I'm gonna change exactly after this conversation.
[Mickey Anderson] I honestly I think so many businesses and organizations get caught up trying to fix everything and do everything all at once and I'm a For a minimalist approach, if you're going to do a lot of stuff, you're probably going to do a lot of mediocre. If you want to do something really well make it your focus your priority for a focused period of time, and then you can move on to the next thing. But but don't spread yourself too thin and try and do it all at once, you're just not going to be as effective.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, I think we also tend to think of each campaign as its own unique thing. So like, my urine campaign is different from my gala registration, which is different from my medeor campaign, which is different, you know, and so we think each one has to be unique and different, but they're all really the same thing, right? So we could continue, it's not like you only have one time a year to test what works for your year end campaign, like you have time all year to kind of be tweaking and refining. We don't need to reinvent the wheel all the time. Right. And
[Mickey Anderson] when you're looking at the data in terms of those campaigns, like those aren't necessarily going to change campaign to campaign, right, you're gonna be looking at click rates and open rates and revenue. And, and it's all the same. And although it might be a different campaign, the collection the same metric, because you're just testing different ways, right? So I agree, I think there, it's all, it's all working towards achieving those business objectives or those organizational objectives, it takes a lot of the passion out for sure you don't get so personally attached to those campaigns themselves, you see them for what they are, right there. They're a tool of many tools that you have. And you can rinse and repeat a lot. It might just take a little bit of, you know, changes here and there adaptations, but but as long as it's moving people in the right direction, and moving your organization's goals in the right direction, probably doing a pretty good job.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, no, I agree. And I think too, we talked about this before we kind of kicked off, you know, the struggle that people feel with KPIs and smart goals and kind of that, like, now I'm accountable for something. But how can we kind of reframe that because, you know, it's easier to ask for support when you're kind of not quite hitting something, but then it's also a great use, it's harder to celebrate when you don't know what you were trying to hit. So how can we maybe think about those a little bit differently?
[Mickey Anderson] Yeah, you know, I find, it's really, as simple as the data is power, it makes it less about you, right? So you are no longer personally accountable to the project's overall outcome. There are a lot of different pieces that are all working towards the goal. And now you have the power to identify what works and what doesn't work, right. It's not you. These are all just tools that you have in front of you, right? So it definitely D personalizes it, I think it also gives you a lot of power to ask for support, to lean into things that are working, it gives you a lot more power to maybe influence leadership, right to take action on something that you need support with, if you have data to back it up, like this thing has worked five times, we should do it again. Right, like that's great data to have if you can bring that to a meeting. And so I think really what it does is it makes you it gives you a lot more perspective, it gives you a lot more information and a lot more power.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, and how many times have you been, it's either your boss or a board member or somebody comes up to me because marketing is fun to talk about, brainstorm, come up with new ideas like oh my gosh, I've got this great idea for this campaign, blah, blah. And all of a sudden, you're looking at what you thought you were going to be doing. And like all these things have been added to your plate and you don't feel comfortable or like you have the like you said the power to change that. And so this really kind of gives you that empowerment to say, No, and here's why or Yeah, that could be something that might benefit what we're already doing in this area.
[Mickey Anderson] Yeah. And you know what, it's funny, when you get around a table with a bunch of executives, or leaders, everyone all of a sudden becomes a marketer. And that's really fun to see. It's great for brainstorming, but I think what the data also does is it gives you the opportunity to ask the right questions, right? And so instead of coming off, like I don't like your idea, because it's not going to work, it's okay, well, if this is our goal, and this is how we're tracking progress of our goal. How does this fit here? Does it or is this something we need to put on our you know, ideas list and save for a time when this is the thing we're trying to move? Right? And so again, it D personalizes it, it makes it more objective, so you can make smarter decisions, but also ask really good questions. So people don't feel like personally attacked when you say it's not a good idea.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] It's a good idea, just not right now. And so that goes back to kind of what you were talking about with like not doing too many things at once also, so like, you know, you talked about not you know, not changing or not testing too many different things in the funnel, not feeling the pressure to do all of the different things work on all of them at once. So how many things like so we have our goals for our organization, when it comes to the marketing side of things like how many different types of campaigns or like stages of the funnel should we be trying to impact at any given time?
[Mickey Anderson] You know, I'm I have a framework that I like to work within. And I find it kind of simplifies this process. And so in marketing, one of the greatest things that you can do for your marketing and for your business is ditch annual planning. Because one year is too short to do anything meaningful, right? It just is. And so when we're talking about growth objectives or business objectives, in marketing terms, I love to work with the three year goals. And then execution in marketing is typically done in quarters. Because that is short enough for us to focus on 123 key things at once, test, collect data, see if it's going to work, pivot quickly, if necessary, and then be able to move on. And so I like to work in quarters personally. And I like to choose three maximum things. And it may be measured by a bunch of different KPIs, and that's fine, but it's typically to influence one goal, one specific overall goal or theme, it might be client acquisition, it might be increasing revenue, it might be increasing upsells, it might be, you know, transforming annual donors into monthly donors. And you might have three things, you're going to try to influence that goal. But that's it for the 90 days. And I don't love them all having the same due date. Because if that's the case, you'll probably be overwhelmed. And you're going to be tracking a whole bunch of things at once and get confused. And so have one start and finish and then the next start and finish and then the next and finish. And ideally, you still have some time leftover in the quarter to be able to collect data and watch them in action. And I find when you do that, oh, go ahead. I find when you do that, it just takes a lot of the pressure off of having to do everything at once. It focuses your whole team on an objective. And it makes it really easy to say no to unnecessary things.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love being able to say no, when you do that. So are you. So like the things that let's say the things that I'm planning to work on in q1, are those projects that were that are going to like happen in q2 or q3 like because some efforts in marketing tend to need a little bit more time to marinate and to take hold. So how do you kind of balance or some like short term thing that we know is going to happen right away? And some might be like a longer term project?
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. How do you balance that?
[Mickey Anderson] Yeah, you know, I think in terms of like the quarterly projects, those are really about those kind of short executions, those those quick things that need to get done, you can absolutely have longer term projects that take longer than a quarter to see the growth from but I think if you can take that quarter to focus on getting that thing at least done and organized, then the next quarter, you can measure data, you've done yourself a service there. I think what it does, and instead of getting, you know, too caught up on the overlap, and the timing and stuff like that the whole point is to avoid shiny object syndrome. Yes, that's it, the entire point of breaking yourself up into those quarters and those focuses and choosing less things to focus on. It's because there are so many shiny objects, and so easy to get distracted. And that is just a recipe for disaster. And so how can you focus from start to finish on doing one thing and doing it really well. And that's the framework that's going to work best for your business, it might not be quarters for you. That's just you know, standard, but, but it might not be and that's okay, you just have to come up with a framework that makes sense for you and your organization. And it should
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] be noted that this is not a tool or technique just for marketing. Oh, yeah. Your business can operate this way to avoid shiny object syndrome.
[Mickey Anderson] Funny story, these challenges go through every department.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yep. But But to your point, everybody loves to talk marketing and has fun with it. Because it is there is a lot of fun to the brainstorming and the storytelling. Yeah, but when you get down to the nitty gritty execution, it gets a little bit more.
[Mickey Anderson] Nobody wants to go into Google Analytics and pull the
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] AI don't even want to do that. But I still do it. Because well, Mickey, so many good things. I don't want to overwhelm people because I think you have a lot of, of things to work with here as a as the around, really taking a look and reflecting on your last year and making some conscious decisions and making sure you have some goals, concrete goals in place. So I love that. And I love that we're not talking about you know, resolutions and all the things we're going to do different it's about taking the things are currently working and doubling down on those. Is there any other kind of last piece of advice that you'd like to share with listeners kind of as they go into this new year?
[Mickey Anderson] You know, I think if there's one thing that all of us can do a better job of consistently, it's having patience. I think a lot of us especially in marketing, we're looking for like the magic bullet or the magic pill that's going to solve all of our marketing problems. And that's just not typically the case. Right. And so I think if we can have the page chance to choose a focus, settle it on it, watch it happen and stick with it. We're going to learn so much more. But if the moment you see failure falter and issue, you ditch it entirely, you know, you're missing out on a lot of opportunity. And so I say like, if you if you take anything away from today, aside from weekly tracking it's how patients have patients. That's it.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I think that's a beautiful thing that that is your takeaway, because I think we as entrepreneurs, I think we as founders, as fundraisers in these organizations that are smaller. Patience is hard, because we want it to happen, like we see where it's going, and we want it to happen right now. But I agree with you 100%, we are slowing ourselves down by trying to do too much, too fast. So that is that is I have less than I'm working on all the time. So Mickey, this is fantastic. If people want to connect with you get in touch with you learn more from you. How do they do that?
[Mickey Anderson] Yeah, you can find me at my website, https://heymickeyanderson.com. Just like the song. I'm also on most social media platforms, I spend most of my time on Instagram and LinkedIn. And it's at Hey, Mickey Anderson, again, just like the song. So you can find me there. And I also host a podcast as well. And you can find that on the website. And we share all sorts of Marketing and Business Growth tips as well.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Awesome. I will link all of this up in the show notes at the first click dotnet forward slash 188. So you can check that all out there. Mickey, thank you so much for joining me today.
[Mickey Anderson] Oh, thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Big big thank you again to Mickey Anderson. I'm so thrilled that she joined me for this conversation. I love talking marketing shop. But it was just such a fun conversation. So I'm curious about what your key takeaways are. You can send those to me at firstname.lastname@example.org That's S A M I but I hope that you got some good value. I hope you're gonna think about how you're tracking and setting your goals for marketing. And if you have any questions about that, you know where to find me. But for now, I hope you'll leave us a five star review wherever you listen. And don't forget to subscribe. New episodes are released every Tuesday. And I will see you in the next one.