Capturing the Right Campaign Data Part 2

If you missed last week’s blog post read it now…

Last week, I wrote that part of the challenge in determining how to capture the right campaign data is figuring out what data is interesting, but not critical, and treating those variables as a dangerous distraction from the core work. This refinement exercise calls to mind Warren Buffet’s famous “2 List” strategy for career success. The idea is to write down one’s top 25 career goals. Then, after reflection, to circle the 5 most important ones. At that point, it’s no longer sufficient to treat the remaining 20 items as secondary goals — one must reject them altogether. They must now be seen not as goals but as obstacles: as things that will only get in the way of achieving one’s real objectives.

So it is with data. The fact that there are so many dimensions inside Adobe, and with those dimensions, the ability to slice and dice endlessly, is really appealing. But it’s also a trap. Companies that are unwilling to refine their questions down to what is essential — who actually try to measure “everything” — end up measuring nothing.

One of Claravine’s clients (we’ll call him Tom), tells a story about stepping into his new role. At that time, the company he joined was tracking 200 separate columns of data. Each column represented a campaign attribute that was, at one time, important enough to be prioritized for measurement. But over time no effort was made to clean and revise what was getting captured. By the time Tom walked in, it had become data soup. Any insights were lost in the mire. Tom’s work was cut out for him.

He began by working with corporate stakeholders. By design, he refused to offer them everything on the menu but instead made them choose and prioritize what they most wanted to capture. As of this writing, Tom’s company is still measuring a hefty number of campaign dimensions, 75, but it’s a big improvement: They now have 75 quality reports vs. 200 that had become meaningless.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that even while we preach the Less is More gospel here at Claravine, and use stories like Tom’s as teaching examples, we still hear a common question from clients. “Can Adobe really manage unlimited classifications?”

The theoretical answer is Yes. But don’t do that! The smorgasbord is there so that you can choose the dimension that are critical for your unique business, NOT so that you can choose them all. Remember: the 125 variables you might measure are the enemy of the 75 important ones. Every dimension you add is a rock you’re putting in your knapsack and you’ll be stuck carrying it. Keep it lean and mean on your data journey.