Every WHAT? has a WHY?

by Jenny on November 14, 2019 Comments Off on Every WHAT? has a WHY?

Topics Discussed:

  • Marketing engagement metrics are just an introduction to the story
  • Every consumer action has a driver which is found beneath surface-level insights
  • Grow your level of knowledge and understanding with one simple follow up question


Virtually all customer-brand interactions can be tracked and measured. At times this may feel creepy for the customer who talked about a product then saw an ad for that very product in their Instagram feed. But for the brand it’s the best way to give the customer what many studies have found they want – personalized experiences.

From social media and website activity to email opens and link clicks, there’s a fire-hose of incoming consumer engagement data for brands to sort through. Deciding what is and what isn’t relevant depends on each brand’s specific objectives, so there’s no definitive rule in that regard. There is, however, a common thread to be considered across all industries and company sizes:  Most consumer behavior data provides the WHAT, not the WHY.

As an example, think about your branded social media posts. Awareness and perception are rightfully huge areas of focus for even the biggest brands, and standard social media metrics (likes and impressions) shed light on content performance. But it’s important to continue digging into these high-level data points and pose a question that our team of consumer data analysts ask ourselves all day, every day… why might this be? 

Behaviors are not random. Whether or not a person can articulate (or even understand) why they do certain things, there are drivers behind their actions. So where high-level social media metrics cover the consumer behavior what (i.e. someone liked your Instagram post), there’s a treasure trove of insight buried under the question of “why might this be?”

Let’s say we’re looking at last month’s social media metrics; there were a total of 50,000 likes and 1 million impressions. These are strong numbers and our marketing team deserves credit for a job well done. Now, looking ahead to next month, what can be done with these numbers? How do we build on last month’s successes and refine our marketing strategy to apply what we’ve learned? Looking at the post subject matter, image/video type or post copy will definitely help reveal what’s driving engagement and what isn’t. Still, we go back to the question of “why might this be?”

Images containing people got more engagement than images with text or quotes. Simply including people in more images because it got more engagement isn’t a strategy, it’s a reaction. Will images with people drive conversion rates? Does this improve brand perception? Does this further develop brand identity and foster brand loyalty?

Let’s try out our method of posing the aforementioned follow up question… “Last month, social media images with people drove more engagement than any other image type. Why might that be?”

Perhaps everyone who liked the image knew or recognized someone in the picture. Or they were at the event where the picture was taken. If the social media strategy is to showcase where the brand is in terms of networking, then mission accomplished. But more often than not a social media strategy has grander goals more focused on brand growth and development. Looking beyond the high-level social media engagement metrics and understanding why specific content garners a reaction is a key aspect of leveraging data in a strategic manner.

At this point you may be thinking, “Ok so how am I supposed to know the why behind the what?” This is where market research and feedback come into play. Posing carefully crafted questions to a target segment of consumers will start to reveal the why behind their behavior. Pairing standard engagement data with consumer behavior drivers will equip your team with next-level stats for strategic development. This is how we convert interesting observations into actionable insights, and we’ve seen with our clients that a simple shift in mentality toward this approach has a profound impact on effectiveness and efficiency.

Take a moment to think about a key marketing performance metric within your organization and ask yourself, why might this be? Looking beyond surface level insights is an easy concept to grasp but difficult to execute. We’ve spent the last 30+ years supporting our clients in getting the most out of their consumer data by asking the right questions and digging deeper to find insights that matter.


Interested in discovering more about the WHY behind your marketing metrics? Let us know, we love to talk about this stuff.   






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Jenny Dinnen is President of Sales and Marketing at MacKenzie Corporation. Driven to maximize customer's value and exceed expectations, Jenny carries a can-do attitude wherever she goes. She maintains open communication channels with both her clients and her staff to ensure all goals and objectives are being met in an expeditious manner. Jenny is a big-picture thinker who leads MacKenzie in developing strategies for growth while maintaining a focus on the core services that have made the company a success. Basically, when something needs to get done, go see Jenny. Before joining MacKenzie, Jenny worked at HD Supply as a Marketing Manager and Household Auto Finance in their marketing department. Jenny received her undergrad degree in Marketing from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and her MBA from the University of Redlands.

JennyEvery WHAT? has a WHY?