Central marketing or digital organizations are not necessarily funding digital analytics programs anymore. At least this is what I see with our clients and in a sampling of digital analytics programs.

Instead, funds are coming from the potential consumers of the data, reports, dashboards, analyses and recommendations that compose the typical digital analytics program product and service set.

And this has significant implications:

  1. You need to be customer focused…not simply focused on analytics for the sake of analytics
  2. You need to make multiple business cases to continue to do the work you want to do
  3. You need to sell the value that analytics has to business units that may be comfortable with using their existing methods and vendors (wrong as this may seem)
  4. You need to compete for tight budgets against other service competencies in your organization or agencies from the outside

Who's Got the Money?

If you are notified about the change in funding, you may have some lead time in figuring out your strategy — or determining how to “win friends and influence people.” However, I get the sense that many analytics program managers are a bit surprised by the news.

Even if you have lead time, you’re likely being asked to change your business model in a considerable way. While this may be manageable in a small, centralized organization, it gets a lot harder if you’re in a global organization with offices, business units and data analytics consumers spread all over the place.

So if you’re in this particular situation or think you may be facing this situation soon, you should be giving serious thought to developing and executing a communication strategy.

Many analytics programs focus on production — production of reports, dashboards, implementations and analyses — and often have a fairly small pool of truly engaged internal customers. While you may have some devoted and reliable customers, you should be planning on developing new customers and expanding your audiences.

This requires a “go to market” plan that considers identification of new buyers and executive sponsors. It may require you to enlist the help of your managers and provide them with a presentation to show to their executive peers. At a minimum, you should be preparing case studies and credentials that highlight the success you’ve brought to marketers, content developers, executives and others in your organization.

You want to show how your services have brought success to your company's digital initiatives, so solicit testimonials from your best internal clients.

Make a Clear Case

Consider the services your team offers and determine whether these are the services you want to be highlighting and performing going forward, based on their bottom-line value. Then put together a crisp message that promotes them. Rather than focus on implementations, which mean you will be viewed as the data generators, consider positioning yourselves as the analytical group that just helped generate $2 million in new revenue. Sure, you may need to do the data collection platform implementations to get the data to fuel the analyses that generates the revenue. But it’s the results that you’re selling, not the work it takes to get there.

Get your team involved in this effort. Split up the roles and responsibilities of this “charm offensive.” Have team members talk to the stakeholders they know and work with, and ask them to leverage their relationships to get to the content owners and marketers. You focus on the executive presentations.

This communication initiative isn’t only about presenting and touting your team’s value; it’s also about engaging with prospective audiences to find out what they want to get from your analytics competency.

Like a candidate for election, you need to meet and get to know your constituents and help them get to know you and what you’re going to do for them.