Data for Growth: Our Take on Data-Driven Marketing for SaaS and WordPress Product Companies

The difference between growth and stagnation when it comes to marketing often lies in one key area: data-driven decision making. In our latest episode, we delve deep into the crux of data-driven marketing, a topic that’s particularly vital for small tech companies and WordPress product developers operating on a SaaS model.

We’re not just collecting data for the sake of it. We’re using it to carve out a clearer path to success. It’s about transforming data into actionable insights that propel growth and innovation.

Michelle highlights an essential tool often overlooked by many: UTM parameters. “Tracking the source of your traffic isn’t just helpful; it’s critical in understanding your customer’s journey,” she points out. For small teams, knowing where to focus your efforts can save precious time and resources.

When is it time to pivot based on data? Our stance is straightforward: Data informs, but it doesn’t dictate. It’s about striking a balance between numbers and intuition, especially in a small team where flexibility and agility are your biggest strengths.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Early Measurement is Crucial: Start tracking key metrics as soon as your product hits the market. It’s not about drowning in numbers but keeping a pulse on your business’s health.
  2. Focus on Key Metrics: For SaaS and WordPress companies, concentrate on tracking metrics like user engagement, conversion rates, and customer retention. These are the lifeblood of your business.
  3. Leverage UTMs Smartly: Use UTMs to fine-tune your marketing strategies. Knowing which channels are driving the most traffic or conversions can help you allocate resources more effectively.
  4. Data Plus Intuition: Use data as a guide, but don’t lose sight of your entrepreneurial intuition. Sometimes, the best decisions come from a blend of hard numbers and gut feelings.

In our world, data isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a tool for smarter, more efficient growth. We’re here to help you navigate this landscape, combining our expertise with real-world insights.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:07] Speaker A: Welcome to Audacity Marketing with Hazel Quimpo and Michelle Frechette. On this podcast, we’ll challenge you to think differently and break free of the same old strategies. We’ll push you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to think outside the box. So take notes, make bold decisions, and be audacious.

[00:00:32] Speaker B: Hey, Hazel.

[00:00:34] Speaker C: Hello, Michelle.

[00:00:36] Speaker B: How are you?

[00:00:38] Speaker C: I’m doing good. We’re getting into sweater weather on the East coast, and October is still very strongly. Well, November. Also spaghetti strap weather in the West Coast. So I’m glad we’re a bicoastal team here.

[00:00:51] Speaker B: I broke out the sweaters and I was like, this is nice.

[00:00:55] Speaker C: And I showed up in a sundress.

[00:00:57] Speaker B: Yes.

[00:00:58] Speaker C: California, New York. Representing.

[00:01:01] Speaker B: Which, actually, in a way, I’m going to really make a wild leap and say, that’s a really good segue into the topic that I have for you today, which is, how do you determine things based on data? Right. So I look at my app in the morning, it’s like, oh, it’s 34 degrees with a high of 48. I will definitely wear a sweater today. Right. But if I had seen, we have these, like, what they used to call Indian summers, I don’t know what we call them now, where suddenly it spikes back up into the 80s. Like, this sweater would have been the wrong decision.

[00:01:35] Speaker C: Yes. And you had the right data measurement because you didn’t just look outside because it could have been sunny and you wouldn’t have known if it was cold or hot. But use the right measurement.

[00:01:45] Speaker B: Exactly. And you, I know this from the Times that we’ve worked together, are the queen of looking at data, whereas I don’t see that as my strength as much as I definitely see it as yours. So I was hoping you could give us some tips today on what we do with data, especially when it comes to campaigns, because we got Black Friday coming up. We talked about that last week, especially when it comes to campaigns and knowing how to pivot, what to abandon, what to double down on, all of the good things like that. So I’m going to kind of just.

[00:02:15] Speaker C: I love it.

[00:02:17] Speaker B: I’m pitching it over to you. What do you think?

[00:02:20] Speaker C: Yeah, I like it. I think I’ll get on my soapbox at the top of this, which is there’s things when someone’s, like, starting a business or starting any marketing endeavors and they’re starting to grow.

And first of all, they didn’t build their system to measure data in the first place. And you know what? I’m okay with that. Still not going to ask you to build your system to measure data in the first place, because who has time? But that mentality goes too far and it’s very early. And I would say as soon as you make $1,000, as soon as you make any money, it’s time to start measuring. Before you’re making money, do what you’re going to do. Once you’re making money, man, you better start then spending a little bit of time measuring and less know, tweaking your product or on Instagram or whatever you might do.

So, I don’t know, where should we start? Michelle?

[00:03:14] Speaker B: Well, so here’s my first thing. So this is a little want to. I’ve been managing an online listing of Black Friday Cyber Monday sales, and I noticed that very few people are using UTMs to track where those sales are coming from. So maybe that’s like this kind of a segue into the whole topic of looking at data.

[00:03:36] Speaker C: So as we do this, I’m going to Google what UTM is. So I think I know what I’m talking about because I have used the term UTM for a million years and I forget what it even.

[00:03:46] Speaker B: Is it urchin?

[00:03:47] Speaker C: Yeah, sure is. Sure is. Nicely done. Urchin tracking module There you go.

[00:03:51] Speaker B: I remembered the Urchin. I didn’t remember the TM part.

[00:03:54] Speaker C: Urchin tracking module. Anyway, the point of it is, a UTM should be appended to the end of any URL where you’re buying an ad, especially in a newsletter or on a website that isn’t social media. UTMs were all the rage, say, in the early stages of social media because you didn’t know if your traffic was coming from Facebook or Twitter or anything like that. Those products all have built in these days, so you don’t really need to track it. Like, you don’t have to add a UTM code to the end of yours to know if your traffic is coming from Facebook. However, you have no idea if you’re using any sort of partner email or newsletter marketing, which I know lots of folks in the wordpress industry do. You are spending money on an ad to place and you don’t have a UTM tracker on there. I mean, I guess you could buy a billboard on the 405 if you want to and see if it works.

Seems like a weird way to spend your money.

[00:04:52] Speaker B: I know my Californian says something like the 405, but yes, continue Californian thing.

[00:05:01] Speaker C: I think what this comes down to is it’s really hard for folks to know what to track, right? Like, is a UTM something I care about or is that extra technical? So I do have a few things that I think are important for every company. And let’s focus into go to technology, product companies. We’ll talk about that mostly. And the ones that I think is without a doubt important to track is how big your social following is and congregate like aggregate depending on where your social following lives, how big your social following is. You should know that and you should know how much it grows or decreases each week.

You need to know how much traffic you’re getting to your website. I measure that in sessions. You can measure it a number of different ways. I like sessions, which is a person visiting your site. So a person could have multiple sessions a week. I believe it’s generally not multiple sessions a day. Don’t quote me on that. But all right, so where are we social following traffic? And then I want to know. Email growth. Like I am obsessed. This is my number one that I care about more than anything is email numbers and how they’re doing on all of these. This is where data gets overwhelming. You could go deep into all of those on like how is this bounce rate doing and whatever. And I think that’s why people just throw it all out and don’t do any, those three social growth, website traffic and email growth number, those are the top three that you have to know no matter what.

Now, why do UTMS matter in that UTMs matter for that traffic to your website, which is our number one important one.

If you’re caring how it grows, then first dimension deeper I care about that is where they came from, because then I know where to double down my money. Let’s say I spent all of my money on the penny Saver instead of the Yellow Pages. We’ll pretend this is the 80s when we were doing ads, right?

[00:07:03] Speaker B: I remember those days, yes.

[00:07:05] Speaker C: And let’s say it’s Penny Saver digital, right? And I saw none of my stuff coming from the Penny Saver and everything coming from Yellow Pages. Super simple choice next year to not go to the penny Saver. I mean, it’s just a no brainer in saving money. So that’s it in a nutshell. I hope that gives you what to track. What are Utm?

[00:07:24] Speaker B: It does. I remember the days of clipping coupons, and sometimes I wonder if the clipping coupons was really an incentive just for them to know which ads were serving better than other ads because there was no Internet back in the 80s. So if you could give twenty five cents off, but it came from the Penny Saver versus the whatever, then you knew where your advertising dollars were better spent.

[00:07:47] Speaker C: I suspect you’re right. And I think that’s also when they started to introduce grocery store cards for the very same reason. Right?

[00:07:53] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:07:54] Speaker C: We live in this world of tracking, and as much as we all, especially in the tech world, love to complain about the big tech companies doing it, the other side of the coin is this is the world you live in. If you’re running a business and not collecting data, you’re not doing as good a job as you can. I don’t know how to say it any other way.

[00:08:12] Speaker B: No, it’s true for sure. And sales is just one part of that data. Right. So where are my sales coming from is important, because where do we spend our advertising dollars and where do we put our human resources to work at whatever it is that we’re creating to drive people to our website. Absolutely.

[00:08:32] Speaker C: And I think that’s why I care most about email. And the reason I care most about email is because that is when that metric most closely relates to dollars in the tech world. So once I’ve grown someone to My email list or they have engaged, then I have a pretty good idea how long before they’re going to purchase or not, or what my percentage rate is that they’re going to purchase. Otherwise it’s more of a shot in the dark. But once you get people on your email, basically I say it becomes a math problem. And I love when marketing becomes a math problem. And then it’s just like, well, how many emails can we get? And does the conversion rate stay the same?

[00:09:07] Speaker B: Yeah, for sure, when we talk about using that data to pivot. My biggest experience in my lifetime of watching a company really pivot was the catastrophe of new Coke versus original Coke. Remember that? And so even if you were born after that, like my daughter was, she knows what new Coke means because it’s still something that carries over. And as an example of really bad decisions and having to pivot back to regain the market. So what do you see as the signals in tech that would cause us to have to reevaluate, to pivot or to just go, hey, we’re abandoning ship and going back to what we used to do as opposed to pivoting?

[00:09:50] Speaker C: I love this example because I suspect new Coke is an example. I mean, we have a more recent example, X in Twitter, right, is a really good example of someone looking at only data and not talking to customers. And then you get into a weird challenge. So my suspicion is I could see new Coke happening in a board meeting with a bunch of people who hadn’t talked to customers. They probably don’t even drink Coke. They’re drinking iced tea, and they’re like, oh, sales are flat. And we hired a consultant agency that said, if you add a new product, we’ll get more sales.

And the data all shows that adding a new product adds more sales. Literally nobody asked customers, oh, what’s your satisfaction with Coke? What is the reason you like it? Is this bottle, like, that’s happening? And were you looking for alternatives?

And it’s funny, actually bring up ICIC became, like, the big alternative at the time, not new Coke. So they were looking in the wrong direction the whole time.

So I’ll go on to that. When to pivot. I would rarely pivot on data alone. I am data driven to my core. I love it. But I’m always going to gut check that against real customers and against my colleagues, I think, Michelle, you’ve been a really good colleague to me in that sense, when we’ve worked together of like, hey, the data is all showing me this, but you are on Twitter all the time. Do you feel the same thing? And that anecdotal really goes a long way to data because data can hide the real answers.

[00:11:11] Speaker B: Yeah, that makes sense. And sometimes the data is only based on decisions you’ve already made, as opposed to decisions that you could be making based on anecdotal information and actually speaking to actual people.

[00:11:23] Speaker C: That is like, such a wise statement. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:11:26] Speaker B: There’s a Venn diagram for there. I mean, I’m sure there’s a Venn diagram. It depends on how much overlap between those two circles. Right?

[00:11:33] Speaker C: So true. I mean, the data that you only have the data you already collected. So being too data driven doesn’t allow enough room for innovation. Right. So there is a middle ground. But I would say when to pivot. One tool I do to give you a very tactical advice on data.

I have a tool that every project I work on, I start a simple spreadsheet that on the left has my three data points I care about, which are almost always social, growth, traffic and email. And on the top are week by week. And each week I start off and I fill them in and see if they’re trending up or down. And that is the simplest way without digging into all the data and getting distracted and spending half my day on Google analytics of shit. This one’s been red for four weeks. All right, guys, what’s going on?

[00:12:22] Speaker B: What’s happening?

[00:12:24] Speaker C: Yeah, you get to. But if I have those three and every week I start the top of the week with a manual. Like, what is this number? Okay, well, that’s a good way for me to at least signal it’s time for that conversation to see if it’s time to pivot.

[00:12:36] Speaker B: Yeah, I think that’s great. I think we could go really deep into a B testing and all of that, and I think we should actually do an episode on that. But I think we could go down the rabbit hole much too quickly if we start to talk about all the different things. But certainly there’s a lot of ways to test before you pivot completely or before you abandon something like new Coke.

I wish that we could go back to Twitter instead of this X thing, but, yeah, we’ll see what happens with that, for sure. It’s interesting to see lack of engagement, although my personal numbers, I just hit over 16,000 followers this week, and so my numbers are still climbing. All of the follower numbers for all the brands that I’m working on are still climbing, and yet engagement is down a lot. So it’s very interesting to see what’s happening with Twitter specifically.

[00:13:27] Speaker C: Yeah.

Did you hear the valuation?

[00:13:31] Speaker B: No.

[00:13:32] Speaker C: So he bought it at 44 billion, and the most recent valuation is 19 billion.

[00:13:38] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. That’s pathetic.

[00:13:41] Speaker C: I just sold some stocks I lost like, 15% on today, and I feel way less bad about it.


[00:13:47] Speaker B: At least I’m not Elon Musk.

[00:13:49] Speaker C: At least I’m not Elon Musk, is all I can say.

But no, I’m a data nerd. Love diving into this. I think in the theme of our podcast is to put a point on it here.

Data and audacity aren’t things you hear together. But I do believe, and my whole sort of philosophy and work is that a stable foundation gives you so much room for creativity and audacity, and data is a real big piece of that stable foundation. If you have a strong marketing machine working with those three pieces that I keep mentioning, then you have room to be creative and go try other weird shit.

[00:14:27] Speaker B: I love that, and I think that’s very true, and that’s a really good point for us to wrap up on. I have lots of ideas for future episodes based on this conversation alone, but we’ll keep that for another day. But thank you, Hazel. I knew that you were the right person to ask these questions to because I know your love of data, and you know my lack of love of data.

[00:14:49] Speaker C: Well, thanks, Michelle, and we’ll talk to you all soon.

[00:14:52] Speaker B: TAke Care.

[00:14:54] Speaker A: This has been Michelle Frechette and Hazel Quimpo with audacity marketing. Dare to be different and dominate your market with Audacity.