Over the years as we’ve grown and worked with clients to build a digital presence, one of the things we’ve heard is how our team provided insight into marketing data, not just the data itself. I use the word “insight” for a reason. Data from marketing channels, for many, is like eating out. Small bites of info may be better for some while others need a full course meal. In the spirit of combining two things I appreciate, food and data-driven marketing, I’ve started leading our team to an approach of providing sit-down service during our discussions with certain clients versus providing a fast food service approach. Got your appetite ready? Let’s go.

Scenario 1: The Snack Food Provider Approach

You’ve built your website and pay someone (agency or freelance person) to maintain it monthly. Same goes with email or social media. Campaigns go out or posts happen (paid and organic.) No data is provided on a monthly basis and there may be a catch-up when both parties are free or if a specific project needs support. Like a snack attack, you only need small bites to maintain throughout the day.

This model works if you are a local or small company (earning less than $1MM a year) and sales come from a local sales team, networking events or heavy paid advertising.

Scenario 2: The Fast Food Service Provider Approach

Some companies want an automated dashboard that is forwarded each month or quarter. No discussion – just a dashboard. A few may want an email as well, with an executive overview, explaining why things are good, bad or the same. This is pretty common for SEO-specific companies to give a search ranking report overview and use a tool like Moz for white label reporting. It’s also common for website design and development companies to generate a dashboard of reports from Google Analytics.

This model may work for companies that are growing and need a team that takes the digital order (for example, to update “X” content on their website) and produce the creative with direction. We affectionately refer to this as a Fast Food Service Provider. Like ordering at the drive-through window, a customer tells the order taker what they want, with maybe one or two variations (hold the pickles, add jalapenos.) The order taker regurgitates back what they heard and, voilà, it’s what you ordered. This is how many marketing agencies, contractors or even full-time internal marketing teams work. A customer asks for a creative piece with some direction and general requirements (I want to make the site modern, or make it look like our brochure.) The marketing order taker writes it down, regurgitates and produces.

All of this is good if you have a full-time marketing team or person on staff who is responsible for interpreting the information for executives and is directing the agency. It’s also good for certain pieces of creative projects.

What if you want to know the satisfaction of the order, what the specials are, or if there are items on the menu to avoid?

Scenario 3: The Sit Down Dinner Approach

At On Advertising, we also use automation to gather marketing campaign data, but we also rely on having our team meet with the client executives, poring over the data to figure out several things. We determine what it means, what’s working, what needs to be changed going forward and what needs to be replicated in the future. Yes, we may even disagree with a client suggestion and provide several paths for consideration. This type of departure from a “fast food” mentality allows for an honest, collaborative discourse, where the teams focus discussions on how marketing will shift to support different campaign objectives or continue on a current path – all leading to furthering overall company goals.

While it pains me to admit that data isn’t perfect, it is invaluable to have a team that understands how to assess it, recommending what should stay, what goes and continuously iterating to find what will deliver the most beneficial impact. We have found that it’s an especially good model for businesses that have $3MM or more in revenue and are growing, and those that want to expand regionally or nationally.

If you’re ready to try a sit-down restaurant and ditch the fast food approach to your digital marketing, check out On Advertising. We won’t ask if you want fries with that – and the refills are always free.

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