As marketers, we are increasingly focused on measuring marketing initiatives to guide our efforts and assess our Marketing ROI. We are reading about Big Data and how we need to embrace it. We read blogs, articles, and research data to catch the next big trend. And often, we can miss the important data on our laptops that shows how and where we are limiting our own marketing effectiveness.
While many marketing departments are now measuring their programs, they are often too busy to make sure their digital marketing initiatives are aligned and their metrics are set up to report progress toward top strategic goals.
Measuring Campaigns Is Not Enough
I have worked with companies that have long lists of metrics that they measure month after month. “If you do not measure it, you cannot improve it” is their mantra. Many companies may be good at measuring their actions, but can miss the insights in the data if they do not look at the right data in combination. Many know their click-through rates for individual email, Google AdWords, or digital ad campaigns, but they do not know the sales conversion rates that came from those efforts or their marketing ROI.
In my last blog, I shared how many marketing funnels are leaking. This often occurs when marketing initiatives and their corresponding metrics are not aligned strategically to top objectives. Many companies place marketing campaigns in market and feel good about generating activity but do not stop to understand if they also produced achievement.
Marketers need to shift from measuring to results at the top of their funnel to measuring effectiveness from top to bottom. For a B2B campaign, we not only need to know how many total leads a campaign generates, but also how many qualified leads and active prospects as well as how many prospects become customers and their size of purchase. By aligning our data, we shift from measuring productivity of an individual initiative to managing and optimizing our portfolio of marketing investments and boosting our marketing ROI.
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Manage One Funnel, Not Two
One of the reasons many companies do not truly understand their marketing effectiveness is that the top and bottom of their funnel are managed in two different departments. Marketing manages awareness generation and engagement at the top of the funnel. Sales is responsible for converting prospects into buyers at the bottom of the funnel. Marketing measures results in terms of how many prospects they produce, and all prospects are counted as having equal value in some companies. The Sales Department is then measured on how many prospects it converts to buyers—regardless of where the prospects came from or how ready they are to buy.
By measuring the same prospect with different objectives, two funnels are created. The Marketing funnel drops prospects into the Sales funnel. Insight, alignment, and productivity are often lost. By aligning your metrics measurement and connecting the dots throughout one integrated funnel, you will be able to understand the quality of each prospect and the results produced by different marketing efforts. This results in better insights, and allows you to better manage your marketing portfolio.
Make Your Data More Productive – Leverage Your Analytics Tool Set
Many companies use their topline analytics reporting to only look at topline conversions—click through rates and resulting web traffic.
Those in ecommerce are often skilled in leveraging web analytics. They not only know which campaign drove sales, they are customizing email messaging and landing page design via A/B testing to optimize the impact of their efforts. Not every company has reached this level of sophistication. They often have been “too busy” to fully learn the tools available to them.
If you use Google Analytics or other tracking tools to track visits and time on site, invest time to learn how these tools can also be used to set campaign goals and evaluate multi-channel funnels (which elements of your integrated marketing efforts produces the most sales). You will be able to track and evaluate the effectiveness of different marketing initiatives to produce the most valuable prospects.
Make sure your own data is used powerfully. Often, you can create greater short-term sales growth by improving your targeting and retaining your best prospects than by investing to launch an incremental marketing campaign.
Once your marketing and sales metrics and analysis are more fully aligned, your next big sales trend could come from a highly functioning marketing and sales funnel. With a robust funnel in place, the marketing ROI of all your programs will improve.
“The ability to take data – to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it is going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades.”
– Hal Varian, Chief Economist, Google