How to Develop Marketing Metrics That Deliver for Your Business

Measure what matters, as the old adage goes. Yet while most of us understand the importance of tracking performance, it's also true that not all marketing metrics are created equal. In general, the era of digital marketing has made our work more measurable than ever before. Unfortunately, survey results suggest that four out of five CEOs don't trust their marketing department's activity. Clearly, there's a disconnect somewhere. The most likely explanation is that those marketing teams have failed to effectively calculate and communicate their contribution. In this article, we'll look at several ways to develop marketing metrics that deliver for your business, as well as making managers feel good!   develop-marketing-metrics  

The Importance of Deliverable Marketing Metrics

What does it mean for a marketing metric to deliver? How can a number impact the real-world development of a company, determining strategic direction and, ultimately, whether or not that business is a success? Data-driven decision-making is a common phrase thrown around in marketing meetings nowadays. While just uttering the term "data-driven" won't magically make your business decisions more reliable, a commitment to understanding your data and using it to create meaningful performance metrics will contribute to long-term success. For this reason alone, it's important to develop marketing metrics that go beyond basic headline numbers. Instead, marketers must commit to numbers that evaluate the overall cost of marketing and then put them in the context of key business measures such as revenue, brand awareness, and customer experience.  

Start at the End

Far from being an illogical approach to measurement, beginning from your objectives and working backward to develop marketing metrics forces you to keep goals at the heart of your reporting. Set your metrics in the context of what you want to get out, compared to the time you're willing to invest. Your company probably has several business objectives depending on the department, so try to select the few that are mission-critical before working back to numbers that quantify the progress you're making. This approach tends to works best when you can boil the objective down to just a sentence or two. Begin with terms and phrases that define the things that influence your desired outcome, then align those elements with numbers that demonstrate movement towards and away from that objective. Examples of objectives that you might turn into measurements are:
  • Raise brand awareness
  • Improve customer experience
  • Shorten our sales cycle
  • Generate more sales leads
  • Increase average customer order value
  • Improve customer retention
  • Develop brand loyalty
  While it can be difficult to translate stated objectives to supporting metrics, there are always places to look for help. It's unlikely you're the first marketer to search for a way to quantify that business goal, so make use of colleagues, peers, search engines and online groups to see what others are doing and how it can inform your reporting. In some cases, there will already be existing measurements that you can simply adjust to the online environment. Don't be afraid to dig into what's already being reported inside your business. You might save a lot of time developing marketing metrics by asking a few simple questions of colleagues and clients!    

SMART Goals and Meaningful Metrics

Many businesses pride themselves on being responsive. Answering customer questions promptly and efficiently is clearly important, but how many companies actually translate that broad goal into a metric they can use to track performance and achieve their objective? As with many measurement efforts, the tried-and-trusted approach of SMART goals can be used to move from intent to action. For example, that broad objective of being responsive to customers can be translated into a SMART goal like this one:

Specific: We will respond to all customer questions immediately and resolve issues within 24 hours of receipt. Measurable: Calls will be answered within three rings of the line. Support tickets will be closed within 24 hours of being opened by a service rep. Attainable: We will have sufficient service team members on hand to meet the response and resolution metrics. Relevant: Improving response rates and connecting with customers is the core of our brand; therefore, we must exemplify that quality to all customers. Time-based: Response and resolution metrics will be reviewed every month for compliance. If targets are not achieved, we will implement improvement measures that will restore service levels before the next monthly review.

  Check out this recent article by Fit Small Business for more examples of SMART goals your company could emulate.   select-features  

Calculate and Contextualize

Even when you've developed marketing metrics that reflect the company's core objectives, it's important to remember that the job is only just getting started. It's still vital to understand the ins and outs of your calculations, adjust as appropriate, and gain insights that help your business to change direction. These insights are more important than the numbers in isolation. Remember, the reason for these reports is to guide decisions, even if they are tough to make, not to do everything you can just to make the accompanying graphs look good!   [search-tag]

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