Today’s marketing is digital, the website is our hub for engagement, we use search and social to raise awareness and attract engagement, and we utilise email and content to nurture interest and cultivate this into opportunities; even our traditional events have gone virtual and as such, are digital.
This presents tremendous opportunity to you as a marketer. The fact that almost everything you do is now digital means that you can capture, track and measure virtually everything. The blindfold can come off, the art can finally meet the science and you can truly adopt data-driven marketing. Let me explain.
The Challenge of Measuring Marketing Success
The age-old challenge of marketing is how do you quantify the return you achieve from the investment and activity you perform? We’ve all been there trying to justify an increase in marketing spend, arguing why we should do one thing rather than another or even fighting to protect budget when marketing is assumed to be the easy target when savings are required.
The challenge is how do you measure the success of marketing, and the more people I speak to the more answers I get. Many focus on the quantity of leads, the MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads), but how do you know if your MQL number is good or if it could be better? How do you look beyond the volume of leads being generated and measure the quality?
Another approach is to drill down on the activity in an attempt to measure the return on investment of a campaign. We are obsessed with “Click Rates” whether that be from an email or from paid search or social. Where this falls down is that a click is a response, it is not necessarily an engagement, and it most certainly is not a qualified lead.
There is a real need to drive marketing by data rather than opinion; it is only the former that allows you to measure return on investment and have the insights you need to be brilliant. For me, I view data-driven marketing at three levels and marketers should strive to analyse what they do at each of these levels.
Level One – Business Outcomes
This is the fundamental measurement of success. What is the positive impact of marketing on generating the required outcomes for the business? Generally, these outcomes are: New Business Sales, Customer upsell and cross-sell, and Customer Retention.
Leads are not a business outcome. Return on marketing investment only comes when new business is won. Customers buy more or you reduce customer churn.
Level Two – The Marketing Funnel
This is not a new concept, but few have truly mastered tracking and managing the marketing funnel. This is the science; understanding how many contacts are needed in the top of the funnel, what level of engagement is required in the middle of the funnel and how you accelerate quality leads out of the bottom of the funnel.
By tracking your marketing funnel and progression down the funnel, you can really start to understand the effectiveness of how you engage with your target audience and identify steps in your marketing journey that could be better aligned to the customer buying journey.
Level Three – Marketing Telemetry
In the world of marketing there are and should be lots of moving parts and each of these parts have an impact on each other. Your website performance will be driven by your search and social activity, success of outbound campaigns will be influenced by the level of awareness you have generated, and funnel progression will only happen if you are delivering the right message to the right people at the right time.
The best way to think of this is as a formula one car. Here the teams depend on telemetry. Analysing the data from each of the component parts and understanding how these correlate together to get the car round the track in the fastest way possible.
If you under invest in social air cover, how does this effect web visitors or campaign engagement? If your website is not up to scratch, what is the detrimental effect on progressing leads from the top of the funnel to the bottom?
Being data-driven in marketing today is about understanding how the mix of activity influences performance and understanding where the incremental gains can be made across everything you do to drive greater business outcomes.
The great news is that this is all possible. CRM, Marketing Automation and a raft of Marketing Analytics can all provide you with the data points at each of these three levels. The challenge is how do you stop looking at data and start driving brilliance from insights?
Putting the science behind marketing is something that I am passionate about and if you feel the same, then we need to talk. I am always happy to have a virtual coffee and jump on a call to bounce around some ideas. Just reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org.