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Putting a stake in the ground for data-driven marketing

For several years now, I’ve been working on a data-driven marketing platform of my own over at www.engagefinder.com (eight years if you count the time that I spent manually executing the link building technique that is the basis for this platform). I’ve shared it with handful of industry confidants to get their thoughts as well as work through some bugs and now I’m ready to share it with everybody.

It’s not a fancy tool-set like you’ll find in industry-leading portals like SEOmoz, SEO Book, or Raven Tools and it definitely doesn’t have the the myriad of enterprise-level bells and whistles of a truly robust platform like Conductor. It just does one thing and it does it extremely well; find completely new referring sites that are likely ready and willing to be an ongoing sources of SEO-friendly inbound links and social media influence.

Anyhow, if you want to know more about the platform or the story behind it feel free to do so.

In the meantime, understand that this decision to build a data-base driven marketing platform is a reflection of what I think the digital marketing industry is moving towards. It seems that with every passing day I come across a very specific tactical methodology that can fairly easily be turned into an automated and alert-driven process that saves time and insures that no important data points fall through the cracks. And as a matter of fact, that’s what this tool does; it takes a multi-step process that requires:

  1. a fair amount of finagling with analytics platforms like Google Analytics
  2. extensive amounts of Excel-jockeying
  3. a significant amount of sheer will power to continue the process of fishing for data that might prove to be devoid of any actionable information

and automates the entire process. The platform takes care of all these aforementioned tasks for me automatically and on a daily basis. And the kicker? It sends me a frickin’ email anytime it finds an actionable piece of information (a completely new referring domain in this case) and sends me nothing if there are no new referrers on a certain day! Sure, I can log in and review historical reports and custom cuts of the data if I want. But the real value is the hours of manual work that are no longer needed and that I can reinvest into more strategic pursuits.

I plan on building out many other similar automated data processes like this one, extending out across various marketing channels, and I know that many other really smart people are doing the same thing. What’s really beautiful, though, is that despite all of these efforts, we as an industry have barely scratched the surface on what data science and quantitative analysis can do for digital marketing and general business optimization.

And don’t worry. I’m fairly sure that there will always be a place for gut feeling, aesthetic principles, and bouts of spontaneous creativity. It’s just these traditional marketing elements are going to be surrounded by a sea of automation and artificial intelligence.

That’s a very good thing, by the way, because who the hell wants to sift through referral data and build out a constantly growing master spreadsheet of historical data manually when our new robot overlords underlings could do it for us?

: )

P.S. If you do decide to take the platform for a spin and run into bugs or have questions about how to get the ball rolling please don’t hesitate to ping me. That’s what I’m here for.

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