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Engineering Series: I Am an Engineer, and I Love Data

Engineering Series: I Am an Engineer, and I Love Data
Engineers are a bunch of downers. They are the ones who, when presented with an idea, start babbling about a billion obstacles they seemingly conjured up in the last two seconds. They are why we can’t have nice things. Or are they?

Drumroll……… No, of course not. As an engineer, I can easily tell you that I and most other engineers I know love ideas. But we do usually start by immediately asking questions and identifying possible problems. That is because, as Kurt Merriweather, our Director of Strategy has pointed out, we are problem solvers. Solutions are an idea’s execution.

Marketing as an Engineer

By this point, you might have realized you’re on the blog of a marketing agency. How does one use engineering to market, then?

Simple. Data. Generation of, measuring of, and ultimately acting upon data.

The first question we ask any client whose marketing we’re discussing is:

“What do you want people to do?”

Are we marketing a website? In that case, what do we want people to do on the website? Purchase a product or service? Fill out a form? Call you? View as many dog GIFs as possible? All of them? Fine. Now to the second question.

“Are you tracking those goals?”

We can’t really increase a number that we don’t know. Whether it’s an add to cart, a button click, or time spent on the site – we need to track it. Fortunately, most of that can be done with Google Tag Manager.

Once we know what the goals are, and how to measure them, then something that’s as vague as human behavior won’t seem as abstract anymore. Because now, we have reduced behavior to data; and we can stare at it, put it in a spreadsheet, put it in MatLab, build models around it, and be happy about it.

Example. You are a local veterinarian, trying to build awareness of your practice. To that end, you’re utilizing some social channels, like Facebook. Let’s ask the questions.

  • Question: What do you want people to do on your website?
    • Answer: You want them to fill out an appointment or contact form, or call your business number.
  • Question: Are you tracking those goals?
    • Answer: You aren’t, but now that you’ve read this post you want to. So you configure Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, both free, to take note of people who have filled out a form or tapped on the phone number to call you (on mobile).

Now that we know what your goals are and we are tracking them, we can do some things that are very exciting to engineers like figure out what kind of real impact your Facebook posts are making on your business. Are people actually engaging and landing on your website? Those who do – are they making appointments? Are they calling you? What kind of Facebook post, or any social media activity really, gives you what kind of website impact?

And now you can figure out, in real terms and in real time, which actions have the most powerful impact. And you spend more time doing the impactful things. Less time doing the less impactful things. That is called optimization.

I am an engineer, and I love data.

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