The very last week that I worked as a web analyst for a Kansas City agency, a toxic email was thrown over the wall from the marketing side to ours. It was quickly passed like a hot potato until it landed in my lap. The ask: could we run a quick check on the campaign links they had prepared for a big release, just days away? The total number of links needing a “quick” check: 8,472.
Situations like this are actually pretty common in an analyst’s line of work, but this one was special. Not one of the 8,472 links was working.
For a successful campaign launch, there are four critical elements to consider: code composition, code classification, link assembly, and capture logic. A single error is enough to invalidate a link’s tracking, but in this case, the marketer had failed in all four vital tasks. For every single link. It was like unplugging a lamp from the wall, then cutting the cord, then smashing the light bulb, and then dropping an anvil on top, and expecting the lamp to work. Some lamps won’t turn on, but this one really wouldn’t turn on.
We might be tempted to wonder how things could have gone that badly wrong, but a better question might be, with so moving parts, how does it ever manage to go without a hitch?
I’m not suggesting that marketers should know everything that the analysts know about what makes this complex system run. What’s more, handing the job over to the analytics team isn’t a sure-fire solution either, since lack of understanding is not the only source of potential problems. Many times it’s just the tedium and monotony of the job that leads people to take shortcuts or to make mistakes. Focusing for very long on this kind of work is soul-crushing, and humans with any self-preservation instincts should flee before the prospect of assembling and testing 8,472 unique landing page links.
What I am suggesting is that this is not a job for humans. It’s a job for computers. For a computer system, verifying 8,472 codes is quick work. And when a computer checks the classifications, it will stop your team from sending anything out that you can’t measure later. Wouldn’t it be nice to focus on the part of your job that you like?