Analytics, Dictionary

Dictionary of Marketing Questions

Creating Content for Your Marketing Funnel

funnel and attributed marketing behavior

For each stage of the funnel, you’ll need to answer the following questions:

  • How will customers at this stage find me?
  • What kind of information do I need to provide to help them move from one stage to the next?
  • How will I know if they have moved from one stage to another?

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In Awareness stage, keeping track of lead* analysis metrics (include program investment, percent of new names, total successes, total targets, investment per target, and average demographic score), answer the following three questions:

  1. Which programs bring in targets or leads most cost-effectively?
  2. Where are we exhausting our lists?
  3. Which programs are bringing in the highly qualified leads?

*”lead” in this context means “leading” as in “leading or lagging indicators” and not “lead”as in “lead nurturing”

Customer Response Models

  • Are you assessing customer response models for statistical as well as business validity?
  • Are you applying ““haircut method”?
    • A naïve application of an incrementality percentage derived from market-level models indiscriminately to all customer histories will bias attribution substantially. In these methodologies, highly effective digital marketing treatments will be penalized while ineffective ones will be favored. As a result, differentiation will be dampened and reallocation opportunities might be squandered.

Marketing Allocation

  • What econometric methods have you applied (as such log-log multi-regression models, Bayesian approaches, diffusion models) to identify causal relationshipsbetween outcome (e.g., consumer purchase funnel and sales) and marketing and other business drivers based on observed behaviors?
    • Traditional mix models, test/control experiments and judgmental attribution methods are not comprehensive enough to provide timely and credible answers to questions regarding marketing allocations, impact and trade-offs.
  • What were your hypotheses on the expectation of the direction of impact; the magnitude of the impact; and the lag between the cause and effect?
  • How did you identify and test the impact of intermediate outcomes (as organic search queries, own-site web traffic, online video viewing, social media exposure, brand awareness, etc) have on marketing tactics?
  • What control variables did you take into account?
    • To account for external factors that are impacting customers such as economy, competitive landscape, and seasonality

Statistical Analysis

General Statistics Questions

Today people have to deal with up to terabytes of data and have to make sense of it and glean the important patterns from it.  Statistics can help greatly in this process by helping to answer several important questions about your data:

  • What patterns are there in my database?
  • What is the chance that an event will occur?
  • Which patterns are significant?
  • What is a high level summary of the data that gives me some idea of what is contained in my database?

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Besides p-value, what statistical test have you conducted to ensure your hypothesis is correct?

  • One of the most important messages is that the p-value cannot tell you if your hypothesis is correct. Instead, it’s the probability of your data given your hypothesis.
  • A common misconception among nonstatisticians is that p-values can tell you the probability that a result occurred by chance. This interpretation is dead wrong
  • Nor can a p-value tell you the size of an effect, the strength of the evidence or the importance of a result.

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Analytics, Sales

Unique Selling Proposition Check List

The Big Why?

  • Do you have a clearly defined vision for your business?
  • Do you have buy-into your vision by (Check all that apply)
    • Your team
    • Your partners
    • Your suppliers

Creating USP

  • What industry are you in? (TIP: you are what you repeatedly do)
  • What’s in it for your customers to use your product or your service?
    • How does your customer describe your product?
    • How does your customer use your product?
  • What will encourage your potential customers to purchase your product or service?
  • List specific what makes your product/service unlike your competitors
  • If it is a class of its own, then do you compete on (check one):
    • Lowest price?
    • Doing something different than the competition or what the customers expects (Pick all that apply):
      • More or better
      • Extra services
    • Serve a well-defined small group?
    • Combination of the above
  • What is your competitor’s USP?
    • TIP: If there are different size companies, define the competitor’s general USP based on the size and their stage of development (start up, transition, or growth)
  • What is your complimentary firm’s USP?
  • What is your supplier’s USP?

USP Statement General Characteristics

  • Does it include a value that customers receive?
  • Is it less than 90 words?
  • Does it outline specific areas of differentiation?
  • Does it provide something to the unserved market?
  • Does it answer “what’s in it for customers AND prospects”?
  • Is it realistic that you can follow through on your promises to the customer?


  • Who owns your USP?
  • Who will revise your USP? How often?
  • How is your USP communicated to your team and suppliers?
  • How do your sale teams use of USP? How marketing materials use USP? How is your marketing aligns with sales vis-à-vis USP?

Activity, Output, and Outcome: What Is the Difference?

Measuring progress is not a way to find criticism or define business success. Business success is realization of the vision for your customers through your business. Any measuring framework is designed to advise on the health of the actions, processes, and the overall business. It is not the cure or medication. For example in healthcare industry, all of the modern technology is geared to produce the same result that doctors in prior centuries did – prescribed the right drug so the patient lives and/or has a better quality of life. Measuring anything is to find if your hypothesis on realizing the vision is on track or needs modifications. Execution is the medicine but it has to prescribed correctly.

Activity & Output

When measuring, just like in writing a resume, you should concentrate on the outcomes not activity or output. Concentrate on the outcomes you really want. The classic business thought is “activities are basic units of competitive advantage. Overall advantage or disadvantage results from all company’s activities, not only a few” (Michael Porter, Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec 1996, Website). Analysis paralysis could set in if a business owner creates KPIs for every activity. As my coach told me, any measurement should be a few but distinct. I should not use measures like a drunk men using lamp post – for support not illumination. Here is an example of improper measurements from Anthony Iannarino (, 2012, Website) :

Sales managers should have no interest in requiring or measuring the number of cold calls a salesperson makes. It’s irrelevant. The measurement of calls is only useful in determining whether a new salesperson has an efficiency problem (like too little activity) or an effectiveness problem (like the need for more training). But beyond that, the raw number of calls tells you nothing about how the salesperson is doing. The calls are activity, not outcomes. A salesperson can succeed at making the number of required calls and still not succeed in their job.

As a leader, you should also look for the distinction between output and outcomes. Outcomes are the difference made by the outputs (Deborah Mills-Scofield,, 2012, Website). Output includes revenue and profit. I would classify the unique selling proposition as an output. Every business should be judged not by its answers but by its question. The output or “the what” of firm should be seen in the context of “the big WHY” – the relationships and the consistent user experience maintained over time.


Outcome measures the change that has occurred as the result of your product or service. The underlying assumption of all marketing strategy is the willingness of consumer to pay for the goods. From my experience, a customer need to build a sense of safety with a product or information before they can have trust in the company. Below is a list of suggested questions you should be able to answer with your outcome

  • Are the outcomes related to the “core business” of your organization or program?
  • Is it within your control to influence these outcomes?
  • Are your outcomes realistic and attainable? Are your outcomes achievable within funding and reporting periods?
  • Have you moved beyond client satisfaction in your outcomes?
  • Is there a logical sequence among your short-term, intermediate, and long-term outcomes?
  • Are there any big “leaps” in your outcomes, i.e., gaps in the progression of impacts?


Generally speaking, there are five different types of outcome you can adopt – financial (for the clients), behavioral, attitudinal (ex. Express delight with the new product), technical (ex. faster page load), and experiential (ex. customers receive more consistent and accurate information when they need it) (inspired from Jill Purse, ThoughtFarmer, 2014, Website).

Review of Definitions

  • Activity – Any activity that is engaged in for the primary purpose of making a profit.
    • Note: Managing activity is a morale killer (Jim Keenan,, 2012, Website)
  • Output – The direct and measurable products of a program’s activities or services, often expressed in terms of units (hours, number of people or completed actions); typically designated as the accomplishment or product of the activity (University of Wisconsin-Extention)); enables business to find outcomes: important products, services, profits, and revenues.
  • Outcome – Create meanings, relationships; answers, “What difference does output/activity make?”; user experience.

Web Presentations

Anything you do for you customer the impact of which is not recorded in your internal system for your future use is a waste of your customer’s time, a monitory loss for your company, and degradation of your brand. Information on the customer is the soft currency that powers the internet. The cliché – delivering what you customer wants in the right time in the right channel via the right content – can only be achieved if the customer profile is constantly updated by both marketing and sales.

Today’s customer is highly engaged and educated regardless of their background. Content marketing is the byproduct of hyper interested labor force.  The great success of the internet is not so much connecting everyone (mail and other channels did that centuries prior to TimBL’s invention), but allowing everyone to access most of human knowledge within seconds with their own tools (thus fulfilling Carnegie’s library vision). In this context, user experience expectation is not directly influenced by company or brand but by customer’s unsensational appetite to access information the way they desire.

Web presentation is an important component for your marketing tool kit. An important element of web presentation is the trust of the audience in your information. Your company’s name and the brand are impacted every time there is a web presentation. As Peter F Druker pointed out, that everyone from janitor to CEO speaks for your company and its brand. The same is true on how you conduct your webcast presentations. In every single web presentations, there are actually three meetings – before, during, and after. Each of this meeting needs to be managed in their own unique way.


Signs That Your Vendor Might Not Be Right Fit for You

“Error is feature until you discover it”

The following is just a short list of my experience with vendors. There is no particular order (just like the poor vendor).

  • Move dates of major deliverables
  • The vendor says, “This is harder than we expected”, repeatedly. Uses that as excuse to not deliver a promised task.
  • Does not do what is assigned
  • No or nominal innovative, new, or exciting ideas proposed by the vendor
    • No thought leadership
    • Look to your team to create new innovation for them (“you pay for their improvements/innovation” without giving your company any IP or stake)
    • Present that innovation as their and present it to your competitors
    • Uses jargon or big words without specificity
  • You require daily meeting to assess the progress of every project step
  • Requirements documents
    • Provide too broad of description
    • Jump into specification of what they are going to do
    • Not have requirements document
  • Rely on your team and your other vendors to provide insights into the data even after months working with internal stakeholders
  • Duckspeak – much words are used by your vendors to described the project or their risk but you are still unclear what is the status of the project
  • Constant change of workers and leaders involved in your project
    • Sudden and unexplained departure of key project players on the vendor side
    • No warning or knowledge transfers
  • Consistently change the pricing model between each presentation deck
    • Produce ever increasing
  • Minimum connection between the sales presentation and the deliverable
  • No concrete discussion and commitment for the post-implementation support for the data, data infrastructure
  • End user administration is either confusing or relies too heavily on your team
    • No thought out process
    • No thought out support process
  • Constant need to supply password as there are several different technologies build one on top of the other
  • Unable to improve customer experience
  • Didn’t account for validation period in the project plan (ie time after the project/process completes and before it is released for general consumption)
  • Vendor argues with the company that hired them
  • Charges you for the work that they did not finish
  • Budget is not itemized
  • Require constant supervision of projects and/or tasks. As soon as you woke away, the tasks are not done
  • Prioritizing other projects given to them over your projects
  • Tries to sell what they developed at your company to your competitors
  • Below standard maintenance agreements.
    • Maintenance agreement is not discussed at the start of the project/program
  • Key players take extraordinary amount days off before key deliverables deadlines
  • Program manager acts as project manager
    • Program manager works on other projects that not tied to your program or (even) company

The Utopia: Standardized Data Across The Globe (for Global Company)


Increase standardization decreases customization, which leads to lower initial cost curve and increase adoption rate of the technology. Though over time costs do increase, the increase is handicapped with cross-learning and spreading of the risks among various internal entities. Theoretically all companies will benefit in concentrating their key data processes into a standard format and flow.


My Experience:

With few notable exceptions, in global companies (at least in Fortune 500) all major standardization for data, systems, processes, metrics and technologies initiatives will fail in reaching most, if any, of their objectives. Experience curve, rate of technology change, rate of adoption, competition, short-termism, and internal company’s group will detract, diminish, and, eventually, downsize major data initiatives.

Internal special interest teams will not yield their influence over data and its related processes. They tend to be better organized, closer to the source of power, and have grassroot support that major (top-down) standardization initiatives do not. The locus of control is locked into the mid-level managers who have incentives to protect and grow their vision of data structure. The bigger the bureaucratic structure the more powerful the managers on local level. They are already set much of the strategic direction of the company. LinkedIn and the like have, unsurprisingly, scares number of articles about projects that unified the entire company from end-to-end of analytics continuum successfully.


Why is Search Important to Your Business?

The search engines employ advance algoriths and technologies that are in constant state of evolution and innovation. Though the systems are brilliant, they require that the sites they index cooperate. Failure to maintain a mutual relationship between the site and search engine will lead to decrease in traffic.

Results in positions 1, 2, and 3 receive much more traffic than results down the page, and considerably more than results on deeper pages. The fact that so much attention goes to so few listings means that there will always be a financial incentive for search engine rankings. No matter how search may change in the future, websites and businesses will compete with one another for this attention, and for the user traffic and brand visibility it provides[1]. One study shows that 56% of clicks and a third of time spent searching will be spend on the first link. [2]

Google represents 65% of the searches[3]. That share is, more or less, stable. Bing maintains the other third of the market.

Many things that are in Google’s ranking algorithm correlate very well with brands. Google’s algorithmic inputs have started favoring things that brands are better at. Google is rewarding better links rather than just more links. They’re things around user and usage data[4].

The Latest Research:

A recent study shows that three key drivers of Google search rank are

Domain-Level Link Features – based on link/citation metrics such as quality of links, trust

Page-Level Link Features – PageRank, trust metrics, quantity of linking root domains, links

Page-Level Keyword & Content-Based Features – content relevance scoring, on-page optimization of keyword usage, topic-modeling algorithm scores on content, content quality/relevance


The following are least influential

Domain-Level Keyword Usage – Exact-match keyword domains, partial-keyword match

Domain-Level Keyword-Agnostic Features – Domain name length, TLD extension

Page-Level Social Metrics – Quantity/quality of tweeted links, Facebook shares, Google +1s


[2] F Takes – Leiden University, 2011