Winning the Hearts and Minds of Analytics Stakeholders

October 7, 2016 Matthew Maddox

I have seen firsthand how frustrating it can be for analysts and digital marketers to gain the confidence and approval of their analytics stakeholders.

At one company I trained at years ago, the VP of Finance, a former computer programmer, was one of the analytics stakeholders. In the executive overview session he claimed that the analytics I was showing were so basic, he could write the code for it in a weekend.

If it was as easy as he believed, why wouldn’t our high-tech clients like Microsoft and Apple just whip up some code and save themselves a ton of money?

For this stakeholder, web analytics was deceptively simple. He neither understood the power nor the resources required to harness the power of analytics.

The wrong attitude towards data precludes many stakeholders from garnering real insight from their analytics implementation. As a result, analysts and digital marketers—and stakeholders—are left frustrated.

Understanding the Stakeholder’s View of Data Analytics

When it comes to data, some stakeholders have a tendency to:

  1. Oversimplify. When thinking about analytics, some stakeholders only think of page views, visitors and conversions without considering more complex and predictive measurements.
  2. Overlook. Gung-ho and ready to go, some stakeholders pay lip service to analytics because everyone has told them that it is important. But these stakeholders often fail to budget the necessary time and resources because they haven’t put any serious thought into it.
  3. Underestimate. Many stakeholders have a hard time justifying the cost in time and resources of analytics because they don’t understand its business value.

In addition to these attitudes, some stakeholders may also just feel that all the data is overwhelming. And rightly so—data can be a bit overwhelming, if not properly organized and presented.

What to Do?

You, the analyst or digital marketer, know that customer-centric businesses are not built on a foundation of hunches and vanity metrics. Plus, you’re kind of sick of being a reporting squirrel, producing volumes of reports that may have nothing to do with really advancing the goals of the enterprise.

So what do you do to get stakeholders to adopt a comprehensive analytics plan based on specific business requirements?

1. Bring Analytics Stakeholders Together

Sending an email won’t cut it. Get people together and meet face to face if at all possible. Asking your stakeholders to travel will show them how important it is.

As I have worked with worldwide analytics teams, I have found that live, in-person interactions are much more favorable to fostering team unity, developing greater buy-in, creating stronger solutions, and holding each other accountable. Begin the analytics initiative right with an in-person kickoff.

2. Data for the Sake of Data? No!

In all reality, convincing your stakeholders to utilize data is a simple concept: Stakeholders want insight to improve their business, and data can provide that.

But two reasons many stakeholders aren’t already committed is because:

  1. They don’t see the value of data
  2. They don’t trust data

Put campaigns in terms of money. We are in the game to make money—present your strategy in terms of dollars and cents.

Saying “We can have a thousand more page views per day if we implement strategy X” won’t faze them. Rather say, “We can lift our revenue by $100K with a campaign targeted at segment X because it can drive a thousand more visitors per day.” Can you see the difference?

When it comes to increasing confidence in data, automated validation is key.

3. Answering Business Questions

When previously skeptical stakeholders begin to accept the importance of data that drives business decisions, they may still mainly focus on basic metrics like page views and visitors. This is a good start. But don’t stop here.

Data analytics expert Jason Call wrote in a recent eBook about ways analysts and marketers can expand stakeholders’ vision when it comes to data. He wrote:

“Focus on the most requested metrics, and then broaden the conversation to additional, supplemental metrics. Explain how combined metrics tell a more complete customer story that is mapped to the organization’s objectives.”

Rather than just watching overall page views move up and down over time, present supplementary metrics that tell a full story of each individual customer.

Expand Your Influence

Stakeholders are your friends. Working together, you can accomplish your data analytics goals. It’s a matter of helping them see the value that an effective, efficient analytics implementation can serve. It’s up to you to win their hearts and minds.

In his eBook Critical Web Metrics for Better Customer Intelligence, Jason Call expands on the ways analysts and marketers can help analytics stakeholders understand that there are no golden metrics and that the full customer story requires a full corpus of metrics. Download a free copy to learn more.


About the Author

Matthew Maddox

Matt’s mission as the Director of Enablement at ObservePoint is to educate customers to use the marketing technologies they select for their sites most effectively. Matt delivered training at Omniture and Adobe for over eight years before joining ObservePoint. He was the dedicated trainer for several global companies, creating and delivering custom courses based on their corporate business requirements. With a wealth of experience solving analytics questions in many industry verticals, including e-commerce, media, finance, lead generation and automotive, Matt offers sound direction and analytics insight.

LinkedIn More Content by Matthew Maddox
Previous Article
Data Validation: The Great Seal of Approval
Data Validation: The Great Seal of Approval

This article discusses how data validation can help analysts and digital marketers gain the confidence of t...

Next Article
5 Tips to Hire the Right Data Governance Leader
5 Tips to Hire the Right Data Governance Leader

This article goes over two tips in five discussing some of the pitfalls of hiring data governance leaders.

Get a free 14-day trial with ObservePoint

Start Your Trial