Measuring your marketing efforts effectively takes more than simply getting monthly reports on your website’s performance. A recent survey by ITSMA found that marketers generally aren’t measuring the things top executives care about, with the result that the C-Suite typically doesn’t use marketing data to inform business decisions. You can change that today, by implementing approaches that will help you to measure marketing outcomes effectively and develop intelligence that supports your business strategy.
Create Clear Objectives
The old saying “how long is a piece of string?” applies really well to measuring marketing outcomes. After all, it’s difficult to measure anything unless you know what you’re trying to achieve. Your marketing objectives should support the business goals of your company, both in the short term and the long term. Common marketing objectives include issues such as:
- Growing your market share to reach a specific percentage
- Increasing the return on marketing investment based on lifetime customer value
- Customer retention based on effective relationship management
- Achieving a specific ratio of new versus existing customers
- Spearheading the company’s expansion into new target markets
According to Six Sigma principles, sound objectives enable you to create benchmarks to measure your performance against goals and determine whether your marketing is achieving the outcomes you need it to.
Develop Key Performance Indicators
Marketing reports typically track and record metrics such as the number of visitors who come to a website, the leads generated and the value of those leads. Sure, those are important data to have, but without key performance indicators to compare them against, you’re merely tracking activities, not measuring outcomes.
Create key performance indicators (KPIs) such as:
- the number of qualified prospects identified in each given period,
- content downloads
- the profitability score of your key customers
- the closure rate of your sales leads, and
- your customer retention score.
This will help you to determine whether you’re achieving what you set out to do.
Implement Comprehensive Analytics Methods
Having the information is one thing, but analyzing and interpreting it is another. Avoid presenting your C-suite with pages and pages of statistical data; rather, identify comprehensive ways to pull out the salient facts and provide executive summaries that clearly state what your marketing outcomes are.
Analyze the data and identify where your opportunities for improvement lie, and what is your best way of realizing improvements. According to the Content Marketing Institute, if your data shows activity on a specific channel, in-depth analysis will enable you to find the best ways to leverage that channel to optimize the results.
Monitor & Review Reports Regularly
Things happen quickly on the World Wide Web. Unless you’re monitoring your metrics and reviewing your reports weekly—or at least monthly—you could be in for an unpleasant surprise. What was working last week may not be working this week, and vice versa. By reviewing your reports regularly you can continue to align your marketing outcomes with the company’s missions and goals—even as things change.
Measuring Your Marketing Efforts Effectively
The whole point of your marketing strategy is to achieve sales and drive your revenue. To determine whether your marketing is achieving its desired outcomes, it’s important to decide how to calculate the value of your sales and then to compare it to your revenue projections.
Identify Underperforming Areas & Adjust Activities
Adapt or die. By benchmarking your performance and comparing it to your goals, you’ll discover some marketing activities aren’t working as well as you’d like. Evaluate these over a specific period of time and adjust your strategy accordingly.
It’s also necessary to occasionally review your measurement methods. How well are your methods doing to record and identify outcomes? Are you getting all the information you need, or are you getting superfluous details that aren’t necessary? Adjust your methods and review them again after a few months to see whether the quality of your data enables better control.
Review ROI Against Overall Business Strategy
Finally, review your return on marketing investment and compare it against your overall business strategy. Does it correlate with your budget and projections? Are you achieving the goals you set out in the timeframe you intended? This is the final step towards helping you decide if your marketing is delivering the outcomes you want and need, or whether you need to make drastic changes.
Measuring the outcomes of your marketing activities is crucial to maintaining a “big picture” view of your business. It’s not enough to simply track the metrics, but by gathering data and then using it to build a detailed report of what works with your customers you can capitalize on those factors that are effective. The result will be continuous growth and improvement—in both your marketing program and your company overall. And that will make the C-Suite very happy.