Whether you’re in the B2B world or the B2C world, if you’re a marketer, chances are good that you’ve been asked to become more accountable for your marketing expenditures. Every tactic you suggest needs to be matched to a return on investment. If it fails, you need to be able to understand why. If it succeeds, you need to be able to explain how to build on that success. Whether the tactic is a print ad or a social media campaign, measurement is essential.

There’s just one problem. Accountability seems to throw a lot of marketers into a panic. Not even counting the huge debate about whether social media is measurable at all (we feel it most certainly is), it seems that the issue of measurement throws a lot of companies and marketers for a loop. We thought we would offer five suggestions on how to wrap your arms around this important topic.

1. Have a plan

There is a difference between measuring just to measure and measuring with a purpose. Included in your plan should be the following points:

– What are our goals? It might be a percentage increase in profits, a percentage increase in sales, an increase in share of voice, or something else. Knowing what to look for in your metrics is important.

– What will be the action plan if results show the tactic is not working?

– How will we follow up to exploit a campaign that meets its objectives?

2. Make sure your calls to action match your objectives

Your analysis will reveal an ineffective campaign if your calls to action do not drive people where you want them to go. For example, if you are hoping to increase sales but all of your ads include a call to action inviting people to visit your website, you will likely not experience success. People are not psychic when it comes to receiving your marketing message. Tell them where they should go and tell them what you want them to do. This significantly increases your chances for success. As you take stock of how your campaign is performing, it may be useful to do some A/B testing of different calls to action to see which are the most effective.

3. Measure at different touchpoints

Measuring just the final objective will not be fully instructive. If your is increased sales, you will want information on how people are accessing your website, how they are navigating your website, what pages tend to have high exit or bounce rates, and more. This information can change regularly, so it’s important to remember that measuring a marketing campaign is an ongoing process, not a one-time action.

4. Make sure you can trace progress to specific marketing tactics

If all of your marketing tactics are funneling potential customers to one web page, it will be extremely difficult to discern which tactic was the most effective. Try to tie each tactic to a specific landing page, and customize that landing page so that it ties directly to the marketing message that drove people there. People will not move forward in the sales funnel if they can’t figure out where they are or how they got there.

5. Make sure all departments are talking to each other

If your goal is to increase sales and/or profits, it is essential that your marketing team and your sales team are in synchronicity. Marketing needs to be aware of how different tactics are affecting progress towards the objective and the sales team needs to understand how marketing is attempting to increase sales. Both teams need to have a grasp of all information coming in about the campaign. Without that, one or both departments are working blindfolded.

This is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to measuring your marketing, but these five steps will get you off on the right track. If you have any questions or are looking for more advice, just let us know!

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/trayser/4954447135/ via Creative Commons