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With issues of data trust and transparency front and center in the digital marketing world today, there’s no better time to think about optimizing your marketing intelligence tools. This way, you can see exactly how your marketing campaigns perform—what gets results, and what doesn’t.

As product lead on Altitude, Impact’s marketing intelligence and optimization solution, I work with a variety of marketing teams, some with experience using marketing intelligence tools, others who are embracing the technology for the first time. The common denominator for everyone: these forward-looking teams see the potential for technology to help solve their business challenges—and how it will maximize their results once integrated into their tech stacks.

No matter how experienced teams are with marketing optimization tools, the big question is: How do I implement this marketing technology to achieve my goals? These tried-and-true ground rules will get you started on the path to greater returns.

#1. Start with a sound strategy

It seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? But your team needs to establish a sound strategy of what it expects from a marketing intelligence platform first.

What business challenges are you expecting to solve? What gains do you expect to see if you solved these problems? These items need to be identified first and agreed upon. Evaluate your team and its capabilities to ensure you have the right players and they’re prepared. If you need to make organizational changes in order to ensure platform adoption, start now. Get your team aligned around the goals and strategy and make sure they understand that this software will be at the center of the team’s day-to-day activities and the core measuring stick for performance.

Part of crafting a sound strategy is for the team to clarify the KPIs it will measure. It’s important to choose metrics that are aligned with specific revenue goals. As a best practice, skip vanity metrics such as clicks, likes, and shares. Measuring things that are meaningful to your business—ideally, the ROI on your marketing spend—should be the main focus. Other goals such as customer acquisition and customer value are aligned with growth and revenue and should also be considered as you finalize the KPIs you plan to measure. Confirm that you have the appropriate dashboards, reporting, and alerts in place that will enable your team to optimize in a timely fashion.

#2: Be ruthless about speed to value

I’ve seen too many teams get hung up between signing a deal and making their first strategic shifts in marketing spend. Advertisers that get value the fastest plan their implementation so the team tests specific ideas as quickly as possible—they don’t get bogged down in waiting for a perfect implementation, focusing on details like determining particular parameters or smaller scale media sources.

There are elements that you can take action on right away. For example, are you seeing a spike in the ROI of your non-branded keywords? Try increasing your investment and measure the lift in sales. If you are finally seeing indicators of display’s contribution to the  upper and mid-funnel, shift budget toward display and measure it. Yes, you want to strive toward a “perfect” implementation that gets all your costs aligned, media tracked, and conversions accounted for, but there’s no need to sit on your hands and wait for it—you can get started maximizing your campaigns right away.

#3: Get buy-in… for real

Let’s say your team is up and running on the platform, using the new reports and dashboards— but it’s doing the same old things using a brand new tool. That doesn’t make sense. But how can you get real change?

• Push your team to try new things, make bets, and measure them.

• Get creative about your cross-device tactics, and embrace an omnichannel vs. siloed approach to campaign optimization.

• Gather channel managers together and come up with three to five hypotheses from the data you have available. For example, you might see synergies between two channels and consider shifting some spend to maximize that effect.

• Embrace the data, start a series of tests, and analyze the outcomes. Does your conversion rate look lower on mobile media referrals? Consider retargeting on consumers’ desktop device while getting to the root of the mobile experience.

Basically, you need to get your team accustomed to taking risks because you aren’t going to exceed your goals by sticking with the same old ideas. It’s a brand new world of marketing optimization opportunity, and now you have the tools to make it happen.

Whether your brand is growing rapidly and ready to give up its reliance on a jumble of spreadsheets to an integrated software platform, or it’s part of a large enterprise brand that’s migrating from one platform and onto another, embracing these three tactics will set your team up for success as you adopt new tools.

To learn more about how to evaluate your brand’s readiness for new marketing intelligence tools, download Impact’s eBook: The Marketing Optimization Maturity Curve, a guide to breaking down data silos, integrating disparate systems, and evolving, so you can stay ahead of the curve and outperform your competition.

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