Every month, my team dives into our various analytics tools to put together a bunch of reports to show how the previous month went. This includes marketing channel reports, traffic, conversion rates, social media, app engagement, A/B test findings and a bunch of other data.
Up until recently, that report went into a marketing folder, as well as out via email to the marketing team for everyone to go over on their own to get an idea of how things are working.
This month I made a big change to that approach, and so far it seems to be having great results. So great, in fact, that I want to share them here with you.
Now, some of you are likely already doing something similar (and I should have been too, in hindsight). But if you’re not, I hope this suggestion helps.
Starting this month, we’ve made it a point to set aside several hours to go over marketing results in a team meeting. Now, we’d done this previously, but the issue I had was that there wasn’t all that much value to this vs. looking at the charts separately. We just went over the numbers and then went back to work.
The new approach though is this: I now require every person to write up a summary of their results, in addition to the report. And not just a summary, but an explanation of what those numbers might mean, what’s working, what’s not, and what we can do to improve.
What’s most important though is that the reports each person puts together aren’t things they have sole responsibility over. Instead we’ve spread the reports evenly throughout the department, so each person has an area they put together metrics on, but are not the only person responsible for success in that area. This way, when we discuss, we are actually having a conversation as to what can be done to make things improve – from a team-based strategy, vs. individual.
Having this synopsis of data to go along with the actual numbers has really helped to encourage discussion and to make our metric reviews much more actionable. We come out of the meeting with action items, and sometimes even new goals or metrics we hadn’t thought to look at before. But that’s only part of the value of requiring the written synopsis.
The biggest value on requiring a written synopsis from each person for their monthly numbers is the same reason that one of the most effective ways of studying is by rewriting your notes. It’s because as you do this, you are actually forcing yourself to take the numbers and turn them into something meaningful. They change from being a report, to being something you have to comprehend and explain. When you have to do this, and in particular when you have to do it and then present it to others, you are going to do your best to make your theories understandable and based in logic. You have the “peer pressure” to give value to your coworkers – and that goes a long way.
One bonus tip, that I haven’t really enforced yet but I’ve heard could be even more effective? Make each employee write out their synopsis by hand. Just changing the medium itself, from typing to writing by hand, can cause a mind shift, and supposedly improve comprehension.