Hi, CI! is our monthly series featuring the best team we know - the Capacity Interactive team! You will learn more about the people who help arts organizations market smarter. This month, we're featuring our Associate Director of Analytics, who is a web analytics geek, a flutist, and a knitting pro.
Associate Director of Analytics
How long have you been at CI?
A little over two years.
Where are you originally from?
Durham, North Carolina.
What were you doing before joining the CI team?
I was the Marketing Coordinator at Carolina Performing Arts, a multidisciplinary presenting organization at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before that I worked in their ticket office, first as an associate and later as a manager.
You’re a self-proclaimed analytics geek. Why do you love web analytics?
Putting web analytics tools in the hands of marketers is so empowering. Websites are one of the most important marketing tools at our disposal. When we have the data to understand how our website is performing and how it can be improved, we can create beautiful and functional experiences that benefit both our audience, and our organization.
Why is the Google Analytics platform so intimidating for many arts marketers?
It’s easy to log into Google Analytics and feel paralyzed. We’re confronted with a lot of data at once, and an overwhelming amount of navigational elements. Where do I click? What does this metric mean? Will I break something? At first glance it can feel like a tool made for data scientists or statisticians. I was scared of it for a long time!
Training people in such a technical platform, like GA, can seem overwhelming if they’re not familiar with it. How do you approach teaching in this realm?
A lot of our training focuses on defining metrics and talking about their nuances. One of the most paralyzing aspects of GA is a whole suite of new vocabulary: Sessions, Bounce Rate, Page Value, Content Groupings, Page Depth...etc. Knowing what each of these terms means is the first step to actually using the data.
Another big piece of training involves helping you know which (of the many) reports are most important to look at on a regular basis. Rather than say “look at these 3 reports and nothing else,” we walk you through where groups of reports live, and explain the basic structure of a report, so that you can apply that understanding to almost anything that you open. We also work with you to develop and prioritize KPIs, helping you define what’s most important to track and then developing a reference document that explains where all those metrics live.
Most importantly, we believe in an open, accessible, and long-term partnership. We know questions come up months later that you may need some support in answering. We try to always be available to point our clients in the right direction.
What advice would you give to someone who says, “I don’t have time to analyze data in Google Analytics.” What’s a good starting point for someone strapped for time and resources?
I hear you. I’ve been there! It’s easy to ignore a new platform when you already feel like you’re drowning. Start by coming up with a list of questions you would “ask the data” if you could, even if you don’t know how to find the answer or you know your analytics implementation isn’t sophisticated enough yet. If you know what questions you need to answer, you can then get the infrastructure in place to do that analysis, in a way that’s focused with a clear objective.
What drew you to work at Capacity Interactive?
I was on the other end of a Capacity Interactive kickoff call, and was totally blown away when I heard Erik speak about the value of permission marketing and data-driven decision making. It wasn’t just the subject matter that moved me but the way he spoke about it with such passion, authority, and empathy. I was ready for a change both job and location-wise, and it felt like fate! I applied for a position that day.
What's something about your job that makes you excited to come to work every day? What motivates you?
I get to work with so many incredible organizations and arts administrators. To come to work every day and spend the morning with a museum in Texas, then chat with a presenter in Iowa, and end the day with a ballet company in California is so rad to me! People and organizations are facilitating the creation and presentation of beautiful and challenging art. To play a part in that, to help those folks even a tiny bit in their day to day, that moves me deeply.
Not only are you an analytics pro, but you’re also a knitting pro. Why do you love knitting?
I could nerd out about knitting forever -- there are so many things I love about it. It’s the satisfaction of creating something out of nothing, of working with your hands, of learning (basically) a new language so you can read a pattern...but more than anything it’s about the inspiring community of people that are devoted to supporting each other in a craft.
We also heard you play the flute in a community band. Tell us more about that.
Many of my CI colleagues have a way of keeping art and artistic communities in their life beyond work. We have dancers, improvisers, actors, musicians, playwrights...the list goes on! I was inspired to make art and find community at the same time. I hadn’t played my flute since high school, but a friend of mine knew about an ensemble for people looking to pick their instrument back up or learn a new one. We meet weekly to play concert band music, and members are all ages from a variety of backgrounds. It’s a delight!
What's one tip you can give to help arts organizations market smarter?
Use data wherever possible to support decision making. More often than not, you’ll find that the numbers back up your gut and intuition, providing extra support for getting things done. Data can also help show us where to focus our creative energy, and alert us to troubling things we may never have been aware of otherwise. In short, embrace data, don’t be afraid of it!