In 2019, $130 billion was spent on digital advertising alone, as major retailers, consumer packaged goods companies (CPG), and media outlets embraced the ever-online customer. Despite these massive digital marketing budgets driving global ad campaigns, many marketers still lack the confidence to answer the age-old question: Is my campaign working?
Alex Yastrebenetsky and Michael Loban wrote Crawl, Walk, Run to be the practical guide for navigating each stage of analytics maturity, taking readers step-by-step through an analytics maturity framework to achieve greater efficiency and increased confidence in their marketing decisions. I recently caught up with Alex to learn what inspired him and Michael to write the book, along with his favorite idea he shares with readers in the book.
What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?
Michael and I have always been major proponents of continual professional education, especially in our industry. When we looked around for marketing analytics-focused books to recommend to our partners, however, we noticed a huge void, with years gone by since anyone had published anything comprehensive on the topic. So, we decided to leverage our 15+ years of digital analytics experience, leaning heavily on our work with over forty Fortune 500 companies, to create a practical book on what marketing and analytics professionals can and should be doing to advance their organization’s analytic maturity.
I think one thing that makes our approach to this book unique is that we’re really not looking for any direct financial return. In fact, all profit from Crawl, Walk, Runk: Advancing Analytics Maturity with Google Marketing Platform book sales will be donated to the InfoTrust Foundation, which helps communities, families, and children in need across the globe.
What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?
My favorite idea is in many ways the most simple. To get started on anything, step one is understanding where you are right now. In Crawl, Walk, Run, Michael and our team of contributors do a fantastic job of helping the reader identify where they are in their own analytics maturity journey, going as far as including a “Digital Analytics Maturity Assessment” the reader can fill out right there in the book (or digitally on our book companion site).
So, the reader may be eager to get their organization “running,” but in reality they’re still “crawling” and need to learn to “walk” first.
What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?
The Crawl, Walk, Run philosophy is really the key to how we (at InfoTrust) approach our business, and our partners are typically very grateful for it. From the very first call we have with a potential partner, we are first trying to understand where they are currently in their analytics journey. So many organizations—especially well-known, multi-brand corporations with massive digital advertising budgets—feel they should be running tomorrow, wanting to jump right into complex data science projects like customer lifetime value and propensity modeling.
This framework has allowed us to set realistic expectations with the client and build solid foundations over time. Once the basics are in place and their teams are comfortable with the platforms and data, we can move to the next stage and work with them to tackle more complex projects that require clean, accurate data and a well-established analytics strategy.