No objective / plan
In the 4th quarter of every year companies start planning for the upcoming year. The problem is that the planning starts with budgets. They look at what was spent over the past year, consider if the activities will remains consistent or change and adjust the budget accordingly, or just arbitrarily cut budgets. This approach does not establish performance metrics, just spending levels. Too often subordinates are handed a budget with no correlation to objectives. They realize the futility of setting up performance indicators as there is no plan on which to base them.
Objectives need to start from the top and cascade down, each level responsible for delivering a piece of the goal for the level above. As each person or team works through their objectives, determines the needed resources to achieve it, and most importantly the metrics for its success, they begin to build the plan against which they can measure their performance. By starting with the objectives, teams must build the plan and benchmarks to achieve them; this provides the basis for setting up target metrics for marketing analytics, spending amounts being just one of several.
Lack of consistency / focus
Being opportunistic and flexible is part of being an entrepreneur and can uncover opportunities that lead to long term growth. When these do become parts of the long term plan, spending the resources to set up long term plans makes sense. Until then, be honest about the purpose of this activity and keep metrics at a high level.
If you can’t commit to a direction for at least 6 months (a year plus would be better), don’t building metrics around it. The purpose of creating metrics, tracking and adjusting is to improve your performance. Doing this properly takes time and resources. Too often companies will start down a path and then change in a few months, less than a year. Setting up analytics to track and optimize is a waste of resources and a drain on morale.
Set up analytics to focus on and improve what is important to the long term success of the company. Look back on the past year. What have you been consistently measuring since the start? If nothing, then there is a lack of focus.
Restricted access / sharing
Limiting access to analytics data prevents people who can leverage the information from doing so. Analytics and reporting should be set up for a consistent “view of the truth”, and then openly shared with everyone whose action directly or indirectly impacts results. Particularly in larger companies, silos prevent collaboration, preventing people from assisting each other and identifying opportunities to improve.
Individuals should be provided with the tools to measure and analyze their own performance or KPIs while given access to view the KPIs of others whose activities affect them.
The challenge with digital analytics is not technical, but cultural and organizational. Most companies can benefit from well thought out analytics and reporting processes if they simply make it a priority.