The four questions to ask before starting an analytics initiative

Categories Analytics

I’ve enjoyed a rich career in the digital analytics industry for just under a decade and I am excited to have joined Cognetik as the Executive Director of Client Success. During my career in Analytics, I had the opportunity to lead amazing teams in midsize to enterprise-size implementations, analyses, data visualization and optimizations. I also enjoyed providing corporate training as well as one-on-one business mentorship as a mentor.  I had a rocky start in the online marketing space, which gave me a big appetite for teaching and leading others to have a successful and meaningful career in my industry. Hence I decided to start blogging.

My role as a lead in various engagements gave me an unique opportunity to see firsthand how various organizations think about and practice digital analytics, marketing automation and user experience optimization. I was able to lead many of these organizations in starting and advancing their digital ecosystem. I plan on writing a few blog posts on:

  1. What makes a successful analytics initiative?
  2. Testing and optimization: what it is, how may your customers benefit from it and some best practices.
  3. Where do I start?

This will benefit an organization trying to build or enhance their digital analytics capabilities, as well as an individual who wants to build a career in it.

Given my current title at Cognetik, I will start with “What makes a successful analytics initiative?”.

A successful analytics initiative needs to go above and beyond “a successful project”. Yes just like any other project, an analytics project will have 5 main constraints:

  1. Scope
  2. Cost
  3. Schedule
  4. Quality
  5. Risk

While these are known to a project / program manager, often an analytics specialist will overlook one or more of them. At the same time, project managers tend to overlook the need for analytics all together. Many of our clients come to us with a pre-defined agenda, and often with a predetermined timeline where their main goal is to launch “something” fast. Now that is a recipe for disaster.

When I start a new initiative, and before I even start thinking like a project manager, I try to understand the following:

  • What is the main driver behind this initiative?
  • What business questions does the client have?
  • What is it that the client is really asking?
  • What questions will drive success and add value to the business?

Notice that this really is one question, I am just diving in deeper. There are times when the clients do not know what they want to ask, or simply they can’t express their business questions in an actionable manner. My goal at the beginning of any engagement is to educate the clients and lead them to asking the right questions, that are:

  1. Actionable
  2. Operational
  3. Timely
  4. And above all, meaningful to the business

We call this process “Requirements Gathering” and its output becomes the base for everything else we will do such as solution design and architecture, project management and client management, team leadership and ongoing education. In this series, we will discuss:

  • Requirement gathering
  • Solution design and architecture
  • Project management and client management
  • Final thoughts

I am a seasoned Digital Marketing Analytics professional with over ten years of experience in the digital marketing analytics, data collection, attribution modeling and marketing automation. I’ve taken a leading role in building the analytics services practice for various organizations in the past few years, through which I lead the project/practice team of digital analysts and engineers in servicing major brands such as Target, Granger, AAA, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, J&J, Box, Red Hat, GOP & Discount Tires. Successfully designed, engineered and lead the implementation of multi-solution strategies and cross devices utilising various tools such as Adobe Analytics (SiteCatalyst), Google Analytics, Coremetrics, Adometry, PointInside, MediaMath, Target, Optimizely, Audience Manager, DTM, Signal, Domo and many others.


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