The C Major Scale of Analytics

Anybody who’s been in this business for a while knows their ABCs:

  • Acquisition
  • Behavior
  • Conversion

It’s built into Google Analytics, for God’s sake:


And it’s a tried and true methodology for measuring.

Problem is, we’re measuring to take action. If the lifecycle begins and ends with acquisition and conversion, we’re missing a lot of workflow steps as marketers. Every campaign needs planning and post-mortem phases.

That’s the real job — not the numbers, but what we did to attain those numbers and what we’re going to do in the future to beat those numbers.

So I think we need to evolve the ABCs into something a little more critical, a little more holistic and a little more, well, musical. (You weren’t expecting that word to go there, were you?)

Back to Basics

Campaign planning and optimization is very much a creative exercise. And for me, creativity is joined at the hip to music.

Whenever I feel like getting back to basics in music, I think of the first thing I ever learned — the C major scale on the piano:


It’s insanely simple, yet it is the key for unlocking complicated music theory.

Instead of starting with ABC, like the alphabet, the C major scale ends with ABC:


There’s some key work to put in before the ABCs and I’m going to tie that part of the scale, now, to marketing campaign creation and execution.

Campaign Planning


Context — What are we doing? Who will buy this?


Difference — Where do we fit in the landscape of competitors? What makes us unique?


Explanation — Explain C & D to key decision-makers in the company that can fund the campaign.


Fine-Tune — Firm up the philosophy for specialists and managers that will drive the campaign.


Gameplan — Get your nuts and bolts in order.


Acquisition — Take this campaign to the people!


Behavior — Observe how the people consumed your campaign.


Conversion — Make some money! Once that’s all said and done, we need a campaign reporting and evolution phase. We’ll use the same scale there.

Campaign Post-Mortem

Context — Stack up our performance against our goals and/or previous campaigns. (Only use goals for your context if they were set in some basis of reality. Past performance is the best context.)

Difference — Did it exceed or fall short of our expectations? Put hard numbers on that, not percentages.

Explanation — Explain why your campaign performed the way it did to your higher-ups. Don’t just vomit C & D at them!

Fine Tune & Fix — Tweak your campaign to compensate for what went right or what went wrong.

Gameplan — Give your team nuts and bolts, Pt. II.

Acquisition — Take this new campaign to the people.

Behavior — Observe how they consumed your campaign. Particularly the things you changed!

Conversion — Make more money!

So remember, it’s all about ABC. But it’s also about CDEFGABC.


It’s a constant process. And if you’re doing it right, you should reach each subsequent octave with higher and higher results.

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