This is the fourth and final post in our series about marketing success metrics. So far we’ve talked about “hard” metrics like Customer Lifetime Value, Return on Marketing Investment, and Recency, Frequency, and Monetization (RFM). This post is about the marketing metrics that are harder to quantify with numbers and equations, but are no less important.

As technology has developed and business has moved online, there has been a shift towards developing advanced tracking systems and analytics, culminating with the era of “Big Data” that we are now experiencing. But marketing is equal parts art and science, and even with the tremendous volume of information we currently collect, there are still many factors that will influence a customer’s purchase decisions that cannot be stored on a hard drive or entered into an Excel spreadsheet. Marketing is also about emotions, self-identity, and psychology, which is why there will never be a way to quantify the entire discipline using numbers alone. The following “soft” success measures are examples of metrics that fall into this category:

Brand Affinity: This is someone’s emotional connection to a company or brand. Studies have shown that customers with emotional connections to a brand are higher-value customers than customers with the exact same characteristics who are not emotionally engaged. For example, one of study looked at more than 7,000 customers of U.S. banks in 2012.

The study examined a representative population and split the customers into two categories based on their responses to a survey. One group was just “Highly Satisfied,” meaning they scored 7 or more on the survey’s customer satisfaction scale, while the second group was both “Highly Satisfied” and “Emotionally Connected,” meaning in addition to scoring as well as the first group on the satisfaction scale they also scored 8 or more on the emotional connection scale. In other words, both groups had high customer satisfaction scores but only one was emotionally engaged with their bank.

After analyzing their behavior, the study found that the emotionally engaged customers owned more banking products, carried higher credit card balances, and advocated for their brand. In total, the emotionally engaged customers are worth 50% more over the course of their lifetime than similar customers that are not emotionally engaged!

Customer Loyalty: This is how likely someone is to both make repeat purchases from a company and also try other products from a company in a different category. Repeat purchases are important because it’s always cheaper to sell more to an existing customer than it is to find a new customer, and it also helps improve the Recency and Frequency stats in the RFM metric. Having customer loyalty is also critical for brands when they look to expand into new markets, since it means their customers will be likely to follow them there.

Brand Equity: This is the value that is attributed to your company’s brand by the marketplace. Your brand is made up of the promises, expectations, past experiences, and relationships the market has with your company, and the way your company communicates and influences these things is through its presentation. Because the market is judging your brand based on past, present and future contact, there is “equity” in making sure that you present your business in a way that capitalizes on the temporal nature of the brand experience.

For example, consistency is one of the most important attributes of a successful brand. If you invest in your brand’s equity by ensuring that all of your messages, imagery, design, and tone are the same every time a person comes into contact with your brand, you will be building your brand equity with that person. Each interaction they have with your company will reinforce their perception of what your brand’s promise is.

In contrast, if each time someone came in contact with your brand they had a different experience, they wouldn’t be able to make decisions about your company or its products. They would be uncertain which impression that they got about your business was accurate because they had so many different, inconsistent encounters. Building your brand equity by developing a consistent and aligned presentation for every interaction your company could have with a member of the target audience will increase their trust in your company, since your promises and experience are always the same. It will also improve their memory for your brand because of the repeated exposure they will get to the same message and imagery.

Let us know what soft marketing success metrics you use to measure your campaign results in the comments!