I honestly wasn’t sure if I could even buy a house, especially since I didn’t know where to begin—but to my surprise, my career in digital analytics and my new adventure of buying a house have a lot in common!
Come up with a Strategy
Like with analytics, buying a house starts with a strategy. Figuring out your budget, location, and must-haves before I even saw any houses in person really allowed me to be prepared and made my experience smooth. With digital analytics and marketing, strategy is always the beginning since this is where you can really ask the right questions and do the research before starting on the project. Some of the things I like to have nailed down before starting a digital analytics project:
- Figuring out your budget to allocate for analytics
- Must-haves for tracking (with actionable data points)
- Idea of the size/scope of the project
- Any possible blockers/bottlenecks
Prepare for When Your Plan Fails
Notice how I say “when” and not “if” because this is life and there are always things that are thrown at you—but especially in this ever-changing industry and in homeownership. The real estate market is super hot right now and Cincinnati, Ohio (where I’m located) is no different. Houses were jumping off of the market so quickly that I knew I had to have my pre-approval letter in-hand and jump as soon as I knew I loved a place. This method ended up working out for me because I was ready for there to be pitfalls in the process rather than it being super smooth sailing. Analytics is very similar; with new technology and strategies coming out for new and old platforms, there is always going to be change. It’s better to think of it as a learning opportunity than as an inconvenience and try to fail forward.
You Can’t Do It Alone
I bought this house as a single female in her 30s and there were still some looks and comments about “Really? Just you?” That being said, I had a lot of support from my parents and friends during this time. I consider myself a bit of a handy-woman since I know my way around some power tools and have a “can-do” attitude, so I sometimes have a hard time admitting that I need help. However, I had to know my limits and admit that I needed experts to help me with some of my home projects. It’s the same thing with digital analytics: I think a lot of people think they can do analytics alone … but the help of an expert in their field is really unparalleled even if it means more money coming out of your pocket in the short term. Because let’s be real: it’s easier to fix something right the first time than take 100 trips to the home improvement store.
It’s Never Really “Finished”
If you are already a homeowner or even if you know a homeowner, you’ve probably heard of the “neverending list of things to do.” I never quite understood this until I actually settled into my new place and realized that I love the bones, but there are quite a lot of little projects I wanted to work on. I bought an older house so there was a good amount of stuff that I inherited—which got me thinking about new analysts inheriting older data sets and having a list of ideas on how to improve their platforms and/or databases. Naturally, after compiling a long list of projects, the next step is to prioritize them and my nerdy self used the same method I use with my clients—a prioritization matrix! Armed with my list of things I want to accomplish and their weighted values, I can now figure out what is worth tackling next because just like analytics, houses are never “finished.”
No More Landlord
I’ve been renting for 10+ years so when I accidentally hit a wall a little too hard, I grimace and my first thought is, “oh I hope that doesn’t come out of my deposit.” But then I realize that I am the landlord. With the implementation of Google Analytics 4 there are some standard events, but most of them have to be customized to the individual site. This is probably going to confuse a few users, but in the end this means that you are the curator of your data and have to make sure that you are maintaining it to the best of your ability. On a more positive note, you can control what is tracked, how much is tracked, and how often it’s tracked, which is just as empowering as painting a wall in your new house.
All in all, buying a house and starting on a digital analytics project can be daunting. However, if you break it down and make sure you have a strategy, prepare to not be perfect, reach out to experts, and truly take ownership of your data/house, then your house buying and/or digital analytics experience will go off without a hitch! That being said, if you need an expert’s help in analytics, you can always ask our awesome InfoTrust (affectionately known as our BrainTrust) and we’ll be happy to help! As far as home buying … maybe someday?