You are not alone. A new study by the Direct Marketing Association (highlighted in a recent eMarketer article) finds that companies are falling short in doing it well. The study looked at a broad spectrum of integration issues, but data management remains a particularly high priority.
Interestingly, “in spite of corporate and departmental barriers, the majority of companies are still integrating elements of their marketing programs, even if they consider their efforts ineffective.”
That suggests companies are pursuing integration strategies without clear remedies on how to improve them.
Trafficking Social Media Metrics to the Right Stakeholder
So how can your company increase the effectiveness of their metrics integration efforts? Begin by addressing two critical issues:
- Prioritizing metrics
- Making sure the right person is seeing the right data in a way the he or she can make informed actionable decisions
Companies have always wrestled with how to share information upwards to management and sideways to colleagues, but social media compounds the problem. The sheer volume of data and the 24/7 nature of the web is forcing organizations to respond more quickly and decentralize communications to better serve customers and compete with rivals.
For managers looking to prioritize incoming data, check out this slide that Jeremiah Owyang put together. It assigns data based on the needs of the stakeholder.
The lesson I draw here is that integration is undermined when data is sent to the wrong place. For example, it’s common for social strategists to focus on Twitter and Facebook results in validating their programs. Yet, executives are ultimately not interested in the numbers of comments or fans. They want to know how this data drives business results. This misdirection of data can only serve to slow down the process and confuse stakeholders.
At each level, the key is to make the data more actionable — from filtered and distilled to verified, clarified and analyzed.
Vertical vs Lateral Reporting
That’s where understanding the difference lateral and vertical reporting comes into play. It’s a distinction that Olivier Blanchard outlines in his book, Social Media ROI.
Vertical Reporting: This communication moves up and down and occurs between hierarchically positioned persons. It provides executives and decision makers with the information they need to make sound business decisions that bring value to the company and validate current programs.
Here are data issues relevant for vertical reporting:
- What is the impact on revenue growth?
- How will the data better serve customers?
- How will it lower costs and increase productivity?
- What is the ROI on social media programs vs traditional marketing?
Lateral Reporting: This reporting involves communication among persons who do not stand in hierarchical relation to one another. Its purpose is for planning, coordinating efforts and allocating resources.
Here are some data issues relevant for lateral reporting:
- How well do departments prioritize the flow of information across the organization?
- How timely and accurate is the data?
- How actionable is the data?
- What processes are in place to collaborate on solutions and take advantage of data trends?
- How are SMEs identified to respond to issues raised by the data?
Understanding these reporting channels is critical first step toward better data management — especially since the flow and amount of social media data is only going to increase and put greater pressure on all of us to better integrate the data we collect.