Updated: May 18
This may sound brutal, but here goes: If you’re not accurately measuring the performance of your marketing programs, why even create them in the first place?
Sure, you could take the “hope for the best” approach that assumes your content is written in a way that resonates with your target audience, that your tactics deliver content to the right people, and that these efforts are successfully turning prospects into customers and, eventually, return customers. But, with so many factors contributing to whether someone responds to your marketing program or not, wouldn’t it be better to know for sure? Using metrics can help you better understand what works, what doesn’t, and which tweaks might need to be made to increase the success of your team’s effort.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? It is good, but it’s important to realize that the vast majority of marketing metrics are only truly useful when used in the right way. It’s one thing to collect marketing program metrics on a regular basis and present them in a spreadsheet. But without setting performance goals for your marketing activity and using the right metrics to measure how well your activity reached its goals, the numbers you’re collecting could end up being meaningless.
Beware of vanity metrics
For marketers, it’s easy to focus on what are called vanity metrics – likes, shares, page views, time on page, etc. – that look great in a graph but often don’t offer actionable insight. These metrics need to align to specific marketing goals – creating awareness, influencing sentiment, etc. – to be truly useful. Why? Because the number of likes you get for your Facebook post won’t necessarily translate into sales, which is often the end goal of marketing activities. But they will tell you that Facebook users (and hopefully you’re using Facebook targeting capabilities to reach your desired audience) are seeing, and liking, your post. If they are also making positive comments about your post, you’ll know you’re influencing sentiment. So, if your goal is market awareness, then Facebook likes and comments are “proof” that these people saw your organization’s post and liked it. Just keep in mind that if your goal is sales, then more likes doesn’t necessarily equate to more sales.
If you’re looking to influence sales, and to demonstrate marketing’s ROI, you’ll need to look at metrics that attribute revenue to a marketing source, for example requests to watch a demo or completed "contact us" forms. Basically, you need to be able to show that a contact became a buyer thanks to specific marketing activities.
Gauging marketing performance with the correct metrics is particularly important in this climate of change. According to McKinsey, between March and August 2020, one in five consumers switched brands, and seven in ten tried new digital shopping channels. So don’t just go with your gut or hope for the best; use the right metrics aligned to your marketing goals to gain insight and find out what is working!
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