Marketing Analytics: Show your work


Data handling and analytics can sometimes offer shocking results, as global B2B company National Instruments discovered after a surprising decrease in an email campaign’s conversion rate.


Key Obstacle: Concern about the new numbers

“When I first saw the number change, I was a bit freaked out,” said Stephanie Logerot, Database Marketing Specialist, National Instruments.

Stephanie, as a strategist, felt her greatest challenge was communicating the new way of looking at the data to National Instruments’ stakeholders outside of the database marketing team. This meant making certain everyone understood why the numbers dropped after implementing the new, more stringent data criteria.


A little background

A recent MarketingSherpa Email Marketing case study– “Marketing Analytics: How a drip email campaign transformed National Instruments’ data management” – detailed this marketing analytics challenge at National Instruments.

The data challenge arose from a drip email campaign set around its signature product.

The campaign was beta tested in some of National Instruments’ key markets: United States, United Kingdom and India. After the beta test was completed, the program rolled out globally.

The data issue came up when the team looked into the conversion metrics.

The beta test converted at 8%, the global rollout at 5%, and when a new analyst came in to parse the same data sets without any documentation on how the 5% figure was determined, the conversion rate dropped to 2%.

While interviewing the team for the case study, as what often happens in these detailed discussions, I ended up some great material that didn’t make it into the case study and wanted to share that material with you.


The team

For the case study, I interviewed Ellen Watkins, Manager, Global Database Marketing Programs, Stephanie, the database marketing specialist, and Jordan Hefton, Global Database Marketing Analyst, all of National Instruments at the time. Jordan was the new analyst who calculated the 2% conversion rate.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, you’ll learn how the team dealt with the surprising drop in conversion, and how they communicated why data management and analytics was going to be held to a new standard going forward.

The team overcame this obstacle with a little internal marketing.


Pull back the curtain and show the process to your team

“When I went back and talked to Jordan, I understood more about how she pulled the data and me and the other specialists realized, ‘This is a new benchmark,’” Stephanie said.

Internal communications can be the biggest challenge for many marketers. They are adept at showing value to their customers, but sometimes take for granted that others in the organization understand the value and processes behind what they do.

The reality is, everybody is busy with their own deadlines and deliverables.


Use reports to detail the analytics process

By utilizing reports prepared by Jordan with detailed descriptions of how metrics, such as conversion of quote and conversion of customer, were calculated, Stephanie was able to demystify the numbers and clearly show the process used to create them.

It took two precious commodities to make this happen: time and flexibility. With other pressing concerns and deadlines, the team had decided to give time and attention to a process as rudimentary as calculating analytics.

Also, the analyst herself had to be flexible and open to learning from others on the team about what factors to consider in these calculations.

“I feel like to the credit of the team, we really dedicated ourselves to come together and make the tough discussions to focus on one idea for an entire hour,” Jordan said. “At the end of it, you feel like everybody that’s part of the team has had a seat at the table in terms of deciding how we’re going to look at the data.”

While this step can easily be overlooked, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of, essentially, “showing your work.”


Extend the data management approach across the enterprise

The next challenge was to evangelize this approach to data handling throughout the enterprise. If that approach wasn’t clearly communicated to the entire database marketing team from the outset, this change could have easily collapsed under its own weight.

But, in a company National Instruments’ size and with the complexity of its data, this internal communication to the database marketing team was only just the beginning of a process that eventually led the team to begin working closely with other groups within National Instruments, such as Business Intelligence.


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  1. Kostas Chiotis says

    Hi David, thanks for sharing this. Analytics has always been one of the areas I love getting stuck in to. This article was of great interest to me.

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