If You’re Not A BRAT, You Might Be The Wurst

As I’ve mentioned in earlier articles, the biggest threat to effective improvement on a regular continuous basis is looking at too much data. The more metrics you’re looking at, the less likely you are to follow through on any of the signals they’re telling you. Less is always more.

If you hear about a million people starving in the Sudan, you mind can’t encompass the number; if you see a single homeless vet in a wheelchair asking for quarters, you’re much more likely to feel pity and act to help him out.

Similarly when you are looking at too many metrics from your analytics data stream, you will not be capable of effective action. And if you consume too enough of them, you may well find yourself suffering from “data diarrhea” from your anal-ysis!

The sad fact is, virtually everyone suffers from too many KPIs clamoring for attention from their analytics and are therefore in a perpetual state of running from dashboard to dooty-bowl.

Stemming The Tide Of Data

Doctors who treat patients with that malady often prescribe a BRAT diet. Let me suggest you apply the same principle to your own analytics and analysis: get down to the the absolute minimum you need to survive and use the process of testing and improving to lead you towards a much healthier analytics diet.

Here’s my prescription to you on BRAT:

B – Best KPIs: Break down your dashboard to the most important few metrics. No more than five! The point to a KPI is “Key,” otherwise it’s just a “PI”.

R – Review these KPIs on a regular basis. I covered how to discover your best KPIs in a previous article. Just because a KPI has been useful in the past doesn’t guarantee it will be useful in the future. Everything is subject to regular review.

A – Actionability: Every KPI should have an action plan. If you don’t know what you’re gonna do when the KPI moves in this direction or that, why are you looking at this KPI?

T – Testing: Regular and continuous testing, to not only buttress the decisions you’ve made from acting on the KPIs but also to tease out new insight from your overall system. And there’s no good excuse for not testing, since there’s so many excellent and free tools out there for doing it!

If you don’t follow the above steps to becoming a BRAT, you might be doing the “wurst” for your company. :) (And hopefully, my puns are not my KPI !)

Questions? Comments?

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Analytics & Marketing Column | Channel: Analytics


About The Author: is one of the inventors of Persuasion Architecture and regularly combats innumeracy among marketers in his popular "Math for Marketers" series. John's 2008 best-seller, "Always Be Testing", written with business partner Bryan Eisenberg, has been the standard reference for conversion optimization through testing since its release and has been used for the basis of both academic coursework as well as corporate training.

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