I practice agile marketing. Anyone that has worked with or for me over the past few years knows that I am a true believer of applying lean/agile concepts to marketing. I actually think I started using this term before it was a mainstream phrase, but I have no proof!
My husband is a lean consultant, and I’ve been immersed in agile methodologies for years. I’ve constantly tried to adapt what he does in the development and Quality Assurance world to marketing.
How to adapt agile thinking to marketing
Using data to drive iterative change and improvements is a critical element of agile. In my quest to do great agile marketing, I am always looking for best practices around analytics and what I should be measuring. This has evolved as digital marketing has taken a bigger role in our overall marketing mix. However, every marketing leader should have a set of KPIs (key performance indicators), aka metrics, that are tracked, reported and analyzed, and then based on those metrics, programs and plans are adjusted.
To help my fellow marketers determine what, how and why to measure, I’ve compiled my three favorite marketing analytics books.
1. Data-driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know
I first found this book several years ago, and I have given copies to many of my team members over the years. One time we even bought autographed copies to give to the team as part of an offsite. There are some gaps in my opinion – for example, I think it could have more insights into social media, but it still provides a solid foundation for the metrics marketers need to succeed, and importantly, impact the business. The author, Mark Jeffery, knows a thing or two about the topic. He is both Director of Technology and a senior lecturer at Kellogg School of Management and he is managing partner of Agile Insights, a marketing and technology consultancy, www.agileinsights.com.
As Kelly Cook, VP of Marketing at DSW says, “Data-Driven Marketing accomplishes the one thing that is most critical when running a marketing organization: using data to drive profits. He stresses the critical relationships between business and IT and how, in concert, these two forces can truly revolutionize business results.”
2. Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster
Part of the O’Reilly Lean Series of books, Lean Analytics goes beyond marketing to encompass measuring and analyzing key metrics across a start-up organization. Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskowitz are true evangelists for Lean Analytics and the overall agile philosophy behind this book. I am biased as Alistair is a good friend, but I read this book with a critical eye to make sure I did not just drink his koolaid.
This book is a solid, practical guide that absolutely every start-up executive should read. I especially love the examples and how the book encourages you to embrace failure as learning. As Alistair can be heard saying repeatedly, you need to identify the ONE metric that matters to your business right now to move you forward. Importantly with that is making sure you have the discipline to know when to change course based on what the metrics are telling you.
Another great book by Alistair is Complete Web Monitoring, which pushes marketers to really KNOW their online communities. Published in 2009, I’m hoping this gets a refresh soon, as much has changed over the past 5 years, again, especially in social.
Dan Bergevin says in his review of this book, “This book is far more useful than any other business book I have seen or heard of, with the exception of Lean Startup. It takes the science of data collection and analysis to a whole new level, showing exactly how to calculate ROI of any business idea, pricing strategy, or marketing campaign.
3. Digital Marketing Analytics: Making Sense of Consumer Data in a Digital World
I read this book when I decided to join Rival IQ as their CMO, primarily because the author looks at analytics as a competitive advantage – and that’s exactly the premise on which we have built the Rival IQ software.
What I love about this book is that the authors consistently tie analytics to action and business impact. Chuck Herman, one of the authors, is a marketing data geek, serving currently as Group Director of WCG, with previous stints as the digital analytics guru for Ogilvy and Edelman, two of the world’s largest PR firms. Co-author Ken Burbary is also living the data dream as Chief Digital Officer (okay, cool frickin’ title) for Campbell Ewald, following nearly 20 years running digital advertising and marketing programs.
As Jay Baer says of this book, “If you routinely create or digest digital analytics today, this will be your new favorite book, and you’ll keep it on your desk for reference (and I am already referring back to the review copy I was sent by the publisher). If you are a novice in the field, this book will be like drinking from a firehose, but it will be worth the effort to lap us as much as you can.”
Read the books & follow the authors on Twitter
I hope you will enjoy these books as much as I did. I continue to use them as resources. Also, if you are not following all the names I’ve mentioned in this blog on Twitter, I encourage you to do so. I have hyperlinked all the names to their twitter profiles. Maybe if we all follow him, Mark will get more active on Twitter.