Iterate on your metrics… or else.

Our product, Talu, supplies marketing analytics so we need to have a high bar to measure our own success. Right out of the gate, we wanted to create a scenario where our data would help us learn and iterate quickly.

Many marketers fear the complexity of analytics. That’s completely legit. Setting up the right data points, knowing what to measure and making sure data is being collected properly is a daunting task.

We believe your use of metrics can evolve. You don’t have to start out being an expert and create some intricate roadmap. You can start with a few questions and frame them up into a sweet, easy-to-read story.

To iterate effectively, you need to be able to experiment and change quickly. We foster this iterative approach by using one of our favorite tools in the market: Segment. If you aren’t familiar with Segment, it acts as a data hub, tracking all your key events and sending them to the various apps you’ve hooked up. There’s a long and powerful list of integrations, and it really does the job efficiently.


Does it sound like we have a crush on Segment? We definitely do.

Implementing a data hub like Segment allows you to set up your data collection efforts once and then quickly toggle them on and off as needed. So what happens if you don’t use a tool like Segment? Well, nothing immediately, but soon it will significantly impact how quickly you are able to learn and adapt. This could have serious consequences for your sales growth and in turn, limit the speed in which you can adjust or change marketing tactics. What do I mean? Here are a few examples:

Testing New Tools
Without Segment, you’d have to set up each new testing tool individually. We think this time could be better used elsewhere on, well, pretty much anything!

Making Changes to Multiple Tools at Once
You would have to fix configurations (track a new event, delete a new event, etc) in multiple places. Sounds like multiple headaches, so no thanks.

Replacing One Tool with Another
You might hesitate to switch out a tool due to the time commitment. You’ll soon suffer when your inefficient tool isn’t delivering what you want.

Temporarily Using a Tool
You might want to do some A/B testing with a tool you don’t need on a monthly basis. If that sounds annoying to implement without a data hub, that’s because it totally is.

Without this flexibility, your team might have to continuously shortchange improving your data infrastructure to get other tactics out the door. This constant tradeoff between executing and measuring can paralyze a team. You will regularly ask yourself: Should I continue to get tactics out the door that I can’t fully measure properly? Or should I slow down and work on my data? With the right infrastructure in place, this tradeoff is no longer an issue.

We believe your use of metrics can evolve. You don’t have to start out being an expert and create some intricate roadmap. You can start with a few questions and frame them up into a sweet, easy-to-read story.


So how is the Talu team using Segment to iterate and test?

As a startup, we didn't know which tools we might need to do our jobs. But once we had Segment in place, we explored multiple tools at once.

Our first pass was getting Google Analytics (GA) dialed in. We knew we were going to use GA for gathering our web and app traffic, since our product integrates with GA. Once we got our baseline established we started to play around with other tools. Like what? I’m glad you asked!

Advanced User Analytics
We tested two different services that allowed us to obtain a deeper understanding of our sales funnel and how new visitors from our website converted into trial users of our software. Basically, we needed to convert an "unknown customer" into an “actual known customer” once they signed up. Then, we wanted to analyze how these people adopted our service.

We tested both Kissmetrics and Mixpanel. Since everything was already set up in Segment, we could turn on both and just go! We’re still evaluating both tools, which are impressive, but we’re gravitating towards Kissmetrics for our current needs.

Customer Support and Help Desk
We tested three different apps for customer support: Zendesk, HelpScout, and Intercom. Again, Segment allowed us to quickly start using each of these tools with minimal effort.

We ended up selecting Intercom as our customer support application as it also allowed us to handle support activities that were really important to us: In-app messaging and email in the same interface. Intercom is amazing. It has literally opened our eyes around the potential for effective customer interaction. But that’s the subject for a whole separate article!

Marketing Automation
For marketing automation we’re trying a combo of MailChimp and Intercom. We chose MailChimp for our email marketing lists to send out campaigns to people that signed up for information about our product and our Journal (our “diary”, so to speak). When evaluating customer support tools, Intercom turned out to be a pretty in-depth one-to-one communication tool that can also handle our customer nurture. It allows us to send personalized messages to our customers based on events we identified within the Talu app.


Takeaways from all this?

Using Segment we could quickly get going with all of these services. We did have to make some modifications to better support Intercom, but it wasn’t much work. The ability to quickly iterate and evaluate multiple tools with minimal effort is awesome. We’ve continued to improve our data collection as we’ve learned what metrics we need to track.

So what’s next for us at Talu? I’m sure we’ll play around with more user testing tools to improve the user experience and our conversion rates. Meanwhile, if you want to get started with a similar approach for your company, we’ve got a five step process to help you out:

Step 1
Identify what questions you need answered to help drive your metrics.

Step 2
Identify “events” or “scenarios” you want to track in your website or application. Here’s a great slideshare, featuring Diana (from Segment), on event tracking.

Step 3
Implement Segment and set up your events. Typically you need someone with Javascript knowledge for this. The practice could take 1-3 days depending how much tracking you’re setting up.

Step 4
Start turning on tools. That’s what you’re here for - test what you want!

Step 5
Iterate and update to get best results. You’ll be up and running in no time. Then you will know how awesome it is to have the power to evaluate multiple tools without even breaking a sweat.

We’re sharing our story, but we’d love to hear yours. Leave a comment below or drop us a line via email