In the Headlights, March 17, 2021: Three Year Anniversary Edition

Three Year Anniversary Edition

In The Headlights

Our Third Birthday

This week, we’re celebrating the third anniversary of Trust Insights’ launch on March 19, 2018.

Birthday cake

Katie and I thought we’d take a look back at the ups and downs and what we’ve learned since then.

What have been some of the biggest wins?

Katie: The biggest win for me is being able to do something that I enjoy and having total control over the company. We don’t have to run things through committees and have tons of meetings – we trust each other and we can just get things done and move forward. It was also helpful to launch as a remote company. When the pandemic moved everyone to work from home, we had little to no transition to worry about. There were enough things going on that needed attention so that was a win in my book.

Chris: The biggest win by far, for me personally, is doing the kind of work I want to do. At previous jobs, what I did as a professional was always an add-on to something else. At an email marketing company, analytics was an add-on to the software being sold. At a financial services company, data science was an add-on to the loans being hawked. At a PR agency, analytics was an add-on to the core of selling PR services to clients. As a result, I never got to see the actual value of my work – or what it was really worth, or the impact it had on an organization. Three years later, Trust Insights is not only letting me do the kind of work I love most, it’s creating real value for customers. The biggest win for customers has been getting them to use their data, to take action with it, and it’s so rewarding when they do because they create some really impressive results.

What are some things that have happened that you didn’t expect?

Katie: I did not expect to do my first time on stage to be to 1300 people. That was quite the experience. I also did not expect to go to France on a solo trip. I was able to do both of those things because of Trust Insights. Lastly, didn’t expect some of the connections and friendships that have formed when connecting with other folks in similar positions.

Chris: A global pandemic comes to mind. That was certainly a massive, macro event that no one could have predicted with any reasonable accuracy, and it’s one of the pitfalls of techniques like predictive analytics. You can’t predict the unpredictable. On a more micro level, we’ve worked with clients in industries I never would have expected or targeted, like the burgeoning digital church sector. It’s been really interesting to see the diversity of clients who have similar challenges.

What have you learned over the past 3 years?

Katie: I have learned what it’s like to run a small business during a pandemic. Prior to March 2020, we were working on “recession proofing” the business. Thankfully our heads were already in that space so we could shift our thinking and execute what we’d put together. I have also learned to have more faith in myself and what I’m capable of. There will always be fear, there will always be doubt. The most important thing is to trust yourself. If you don’t have that, you won’t be successful.

Chris: I’ve learned how to be back in the trenches effectively. Since 2003, I’ve been in ever-increasingly management-oriented roles, with fluffier and fluffier titles – and getting further and further away from the real work. In the last 3 years, my ability to actually DO things and create stuff has exploded ten-fold, easily. Just yesterday, I was doing some work for a customer, writing code to process a massive amount of survey results and draw out quantifiable insights from survey data, and I reflected on a similar project we did just two years ago. My skills have improved to the point where two years ago, it took me almost a week to write the code necessary, and what I wrote was clumsy. Yesterday, I was able to write the core of what was needed in less than two hours, and it worked beautifully. I’m not cut out for management, not really. I’m much happier creating new things, building stuff, making things work, and solving fun puzzles and problems for customers. When I worked at my previous agency, the only time I had for professional development was after hours. Every day is professional development for me now, and it’s delightful.

What do you think is next for Trust Insights?

Katie: I want to see Trust Insights continue to grow through process optimization, utilization of AI, and strategic decisions. I like to say that we’re “small but mighty” – I don’t see adding a lot of additional staff members over the next few years. I’d like to see how small we can keep things while still scaling. It’s an interesting challenge that I want to keep tackling.

Chris: I don’t know. And that’s the honest truth, because the macro picture is also unknown. The second half of even this calendar year is an unknown, though I see indicators of a massive economic resurgence; the US government alone printed FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS last year, and probably another two to three trillion dollars this year. That’s a lot of cash sloshing around the financial system, looking for a home. There’s an incredible amount of pent-up demand for everything, and as the pandemic winds down, I suspect a lot of that will be unleashed in unforeseen ways. We already see it with cryptocurrencies and things like WallStreetBets – people looking to do something, anything, with their money. So the watchword for the second half of 2021 and beyond is nimbleness. Be ready to change and flow with where customers want to go. Strategically, I know where Katie and I want the company to go in general – continue to help existing customers, earn new customers, and solve interesting problems that deliver real impact. What exact form that takes, I don’t know, but I’m eager to find out.

Thank YOU

Katie and I would both like to thank you for your support, your presence in our community, your contributions to us from interest and readership to doing business with us. We couldn’t have made it this far without you, and we’re eager to see what we can do together in the years ahead. Thank you for being a part of our story and letting us be a part of yours.

The Bright Idea

In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris discuss sales techniques and the second half of 2021, what things to be thinking about as the pandemic winds down:

Watch/listen to this episode of In-Ear Insights here »

On last week’s So What? The Marketing Analytics and Insights Live show, we talked about three easy wins (and one big, difficult win) in the new Google Analytics 4.

Catch last week’s episode replay here »

This week, there’s no live show due to a schedule conflict, but you can check out past episodes on our YouTube channel. Need a recommendation? Our most popular past episode is on getting started with Google Data Studio.

Are you subscribed to our YouTube channel? If not, click/tap here to subscribe!

Rear View Mirror Data

In this week’s Rear View Mirror, we take a walk down memory lane for our anniversary. One of the things we rarely do in any of our analytics is step back and look at the BIG picture, which in this case is a look at Google Analytics since the first days of the company:

Google Analytics for 3 years

You’ll note a few interesting things here. First, the journey to today isn’t a smooth, linear ride from point A to point B. There are lots of hills and valleys, but the trip is generally going in the right direction.

Second, you’ll note the annotations at the bottom of the chart. This is one of the most powerful, most under-used features of Google Analytics – the ability to make shared notes when something’s gone awry, so that later on down the road when times have changed, you can look back and see what happened in the past.

This is especially important as you have people coming and going from an organization – any tool like this helps preserve institutional knowledge, and when we do assessments of companies’ analytics maturity, a Google Analytics account with annotations that are frequent and current is a sign of high maturity.

What would you do with a similar analysis at your company? Any time you’re looking at big picture data, dig into the anomalies – what made the highs so high, what made the lows so low? Are those things that you can either replicate or mitigate? Very often – especially with changes in personnel – we’ll find hidden gems in our back data, things we forgot we did that worked well. When you find those and dust them off, see if you can do a variation of them to build repeatable successes.

In Case You Missed It
Partner Spotlight

Do you want to understand data science better as a marketer? Would you like to learn whether it’s the right choice for your career? Do you need to know how to manage data science employees and vendors? Take the Data Science 101 workshop from Trust Insights.

In this 90-minute on-demand workshop, learn what data science is, why it matters to marketers, and how to embark on your marketing data science journey. You’ll learn:

  • How to build a KPI map
  • How to analyze and explore Google Analytics data
  • How to construct a valid hypothesis
  • Basics of centrality, distribution, regression, and clustering
  • Essential soft skills
  • How to hire data science professionals or agencies

The course comes with the video, audio recording, PDF of the slides, automated transcript, example KPI map, and sample workbook with data.

Get your copy by clicking here or visiting »

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Shiny Objects

Shiny Objects is a roundup of the best content you and others have written and shared in the last week.

Data Science and AI

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Social Media Marketing

Content Marketing

Join the Club

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Get Back To Work

We’ve changed things up in Get Back To Work, and we’re looking at the top 310 metro areas in the United States by population. This will give you a much better sense of what the overall market looks like, and will cover companies hiring in multiple locations. Get all the data in our Slack group!

Upcoming Events

Where can you find us in person?

  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, April 2021, virtual
  • HighEdWeb Analytics Summit, April 2021, virtual
  • ContentTech Summit, April 2021, virtual

Going to a conference we should know about? Reach out!

Want some private training at your company? Ask us!

Stay In Touch

Where do you spend your time online? Chances are, we’re there too, and would enjoy sharing with you. Here’s where we are – see you there?

FTC Disclosure

Some events and partners have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, Trust Insights receives financial compensation for promoting them. Read our full disclosures statement on our website.


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