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Building an Actionable Analytics Practice

Kerry Guard • February 24, 2012 • 2 minutes to read

Andrew Edwards wrote a great article on ClickZ titled The Analytics Bridge to Nowhere; the premise of the article centered around many companies' short sighted-ness when it comes to establishing and executing actionable analytics programs.

With that in mind, we wanted to provide a quick roadmap that clients and agencies alike can use to help guide initial conversations to establish their own actionable analytics plans.


These questions come in at the 50,000 foot level and should guide the analytics plan from the very beginning. As such, preliminary answers to these questions should be made in advance of the actual analytics plan going live and referred to throughout the life of the program as success benchmarks.

  • What insights do you hope to discover?
  • How long will you commit to digging for these discoveries?

Man Power 

While there are many tools that can help collect, slice & dice your data, at the end of the day you need a trained analyst consuming and relaying the information back to the team as a whole.

  • Who do you have in place to analyze the data on day 1 / day 30 / day 90 / day 360?
  • Will this person be given "the conch", so to speak, to share their findings with the group on a regular basis?
  • Will you empower your torch bearers to act on the data in real time?


We hinted at this in the general questions section above, but setting and measuring success against a specific goal is of the utmost importance. Otherwise, how else are you going to justify this expense when budget reviews come up next year?

  • Agree to a series of time-stamped check ins to review with the 'powers that be' -- be sure to hold everyone accountable to these check ins and don't let anyone wiggle out of the meeting
  • Get sign off stating that the project will receive enough time to run its course. No 2 week 'OH SHIT!' stages should take place, because you've established up front that you're not canning the project because the results aren't exactly what you want to see right out of the gate
  • Just as your company has agreed to success metrics, you also want to establish an exit strategy if things aren't going as planned. Use a question like 'How does this project end?' to kickstart this conversation

Again, these are just some initial thoughts that brands / clients can use to build out their analytics practices. Feel free to suggest your own ideas in the comments section below.

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