It's Not the Data, It's the Questions You Ask While Looking at the Data

On the ninth day of social & digital media, Adrian Lurssen of JD Supra discusses metrics and the importance of looking at the context around your data.

What metrics do you find most valuable when tracking digital marketing successes?

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Earlier this fall, at LMA Tech Midwest, I heard a terrific anecdote from Kathryn Whitaker, Director of Marketing and Business Development at McNair Law Firm, that perfectly captures a really smart approach to data/metrics.

Kathryn and I were sharing the stage in a presentation on Data and Content Marketing, a key part of the social and digital ecosystem. In her story of the progressive successes of a particular content campaign, Kathryn talked about how various metrics contributed to decisions and actions by her team.

First, her attorneys came to her with an idea, a gut instinct based on their knowledge of the marketplace, that an emerging topic (Opportunity Zones) was growing in interest and deserved time and attention. Kathryn used data to validate this thesis. The topic was indeed a hot one, and deserved priority.

If the story stopped there, I still think it would be smart. In an environment in which marketers and BD folks are asked - daily - to support initiatives and ideas, big and small, you can turn to metrics to determine which ideas deserve priority over the others (even if you know you'll have to get to all of them). In this case, the firm's attorneys and marketing team produced a number of posts around Opportunity Zones, built a presence on Twitter dedicated to the topic and, because data supported the investment, produced a video on the subject.

Time and money well spent.

But the story doesn't end there. After the initial measure of interest supported the idea that "we should be thought leaders here," Kathryn returned to her analytics and asked a new question:  with whom does this thought leadership resonate most?

The answer was interesting, surprising, and actionable. She found that folks within a specific sector, in which her firm already had many clients, seemed the most interested in Opportunity Zones. In other words, metrics showed that a target audience for this new content was already connected to the firm, for other reasons.

Next step? Build a campaign focused specifically on existing clients in that sector, letting them know that attorneys were available to discuss Opportunity Zones with them, should they be interested. And they were.

The campaign started broadly and, based on metrics, then focused on the specific - with much success.

At the start of this 12 Days of Social & Digital Media series, Jennifer Simpson Carr wrote that a focus on data/metrics helps internal teams define, collectively, what success looks like and how to measure it. I wholeheartedly agree.

I think Jennifer's observation dovetails nicely with Kathryn's story to make my point here - my actual answer to the question/prompt I have been asked to write about:

Whatever metrics you happen to focus on, bring to them specific questions that help you to build internal consensus, validate theories, and surface next, outward-facing steps.

Have I answered the question by not answering it? I don't think so. I would argue that you can't talk about metrics without first setting the stage for your relationship to the data.

Are 2,000 views of a new article by readers in the insurance sector a good number? It depends. Did your previous articles get 4,000 views or 500? If the former, you're doing well - if the latter, something is amiss.


What is one resource you recommend to legal marketers who want to learn more about social and digital media?

A lot of good ones have been shared during this series. Here's mine to add to the mix:

This year we have been blown away by the power of LinkedIn Navigator, which gives professionals amazing ability to network, research, and follow leads for new business. It's a remarkable tool for anyone doing business development and Samantha McKenna has been writing about how to use it in this series, which is ongoing. I recommend to anyone who is interested in LinkedIn's true power to follow Sam and her posts, which are ongoing.


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ABOUT  Adrian Lurssen

Adrian Lurssen is the co-founder and VP of Strategic Development at JD Supra.

In case you missed it:

The 1st Day of Social & Digital media, featuring Jennifer Simpson Carr of Knapp Marketing

The 2nd Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Meghan Spralding of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn

The 3rd Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Laura Toledo of Nilan Johnson Lewis PA

The 4th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring  Walter D. McCorkle of  Bradley Arant Boult Cummings

The 5th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Olivia Rubio-Finn of Deborah Gaines Associates

The 6th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Madison Minner of Newmeyer & Dillion

The 7th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Clayton Dodds of Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP

The 8th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Alaina Blekicki of Lowenstein Sandler

Be on the lookout!

The Social & Digital Media SIG is excited to host a cocktail meetup at the Annual Conference in 2019. Details to come.

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