Futility and other feelings:
a marketing analytics study


We got tons of raw data, compiled it, analyzed it, and spent hours trying to be funny (did it work?). But we ended up with even more questions because things do not neatly fit together; each of those insights meant very little on their own.

Then we got back to square one. We set out to figure out what people feel, not what they think. And that’s the key difference that puts all this data, thoughts, and feelings together into a story.

A hand-drawn illustration of five paper airplanes flying at a target.

So, we have this marketer, working across 8 platforms and keeping an eye on 5 KPIs and a few other metrics every day. And this person’s worst frustration is that their work doesn’t feel meaningful, especially when it comes to reporting on their progress.

This person has the experience; they know how things are done. They do their job well, and they take pride in their work. They talk to clients, create some content and campaigns. They run those campaigns, monitor their results, adjust and optimize their performance. Then they painstakingly gather all those results, generate insights, and put them all together in a report — a symbol of all their effort, a proverbial cherry on top.

But no one reads it. Ever.

Or at least that seems to be the case. If someone reads it, they don’t seem to act on it. It feels empty, pointless. It feels bad. So now our marketer has to start all over again. Briefs, content, campaign, monitor, adjust, optimize, analyze, report, repeat. And every time it’s the same. It seems futile, and our data supports it.

Now imagine making that report, the one that goes straight to the bin. You need to monitor metrics, make sure you’re on track, and put it all together. Now it feels hard — even if you recognize the its importance, there’s overwhelming pressure and all sorts of procrastination just bubbling under the surface. With all the apps and tools that make the tasks easier, it still feels difficult so it is difficult.

A hand-drawn illustration of an envelope with stars and a lightbulb.

Now the picture is a bit more clear, right? It is hard to monitor results, track KPIs, do complex data analysis, make data-driven decisions, coordinate with other teams, and write clear and detailed reports. Because it seems that no one reads the damn thing.

Take this report as an example. It’s still a report, and it took time and effort to complete it. It’s a bow on three months of very hard work. Some of the most important and most difficult activities that a marketer must undertake eat up a lot of time, require a lot of effort and don’t always have the impact that they should. (Thanks for reading this far, btw.)

Presumably, this is because reading those reports, understanding/interpreting the data, and acting on those insights also eats up a lot of time and effort for the recipient. In other words, marketing data monitoring and reporting as we know it is ineffective and broken. It takes too much time to do, and it isn’t properly appreciated or acted on. 

And we want to help change that.

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