Many of us think about marketing as a simple, linear formula. We invest a certain amount of money into marketing efforts in the hope that this investment will eventually turn into additional sales from customers. As technology allows us to further quantify and measure advanced marketing metrics, we're able to see exactly what these investments are buying us.
However, the formula is not so simple as monitoring sales numbers during a marketing campaign. As brand awareness and loyalty become increasingly measurable metrics, marketers are finding value in numbers and statistics that go beyond sales. Daniel Newman, best-selling business author, explains why brands need to look beyond the final sale in their marketing:
“In fact, selling is not the sole motive, but just one part of the buyer’s journey… And that journey continues long after you close a sale. It may go on for a lifetime, if you are fortunate enough…”
Let’s dispel a few of the myths behind marketing metrics and identify what we can take from each of them.
Myth 1: Metrics Mean Nothing
Some industry professionals will tell you that marketing metrics are ruining the industry. They’ll cite data-driven campaigns that worry about nothing more than pay-per-click (PPC) and conversion rates. While these critics may have a point about the effectiveness of these metrics, they’re wrong in claiming that these advanced metrics should be ignored altogether. If the data exists, we should be creating real, quantifiable strategies that allow us to use it. But how? Let’s take a look:
Use Content Scoring
Content scoring is a data-driven process that helps to track and assess the success of content in regards to creating leads and conversions. These numbers let us analyze the journey of the buyer, or Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), from inception to purchase, and analyze the content they consumed. To calculate the content score, divide that conversion by the total number of pieces of content or campaigns that were involved.
Consider Content Journey Scores
This metric incorporates not only the content score metrics but also assess certain values to specific pieces on the journey. Toby Murdock, CEO of Kapost, highlights this in their content scoring infographic:
“Most organizations give more weight to the first and last touch: the first because it serves as the first contact point with the buyer; the last because it led the buyer to become an MQL.” Taking the time to identify, analyze, and properly weight aspects of a campaign can allow you to understand what you're doing well and what needs to be improved.
Give Metrics Time
Each web posting, mobile ad, video, or tweet generally won't produce immediate leads. Sometimes we are forced to keep an eye on the long game rather than expect branded content to pay immediate dividends. We gain greater analytical capability when there are enough data points in our metrics to draw significant conclusions.
Myth 2: Metrics Should Focus on External Reach
While there is no problem focusing a large portion of our energy on reaching potential buyers, we must be careful of how we go about it. Too often, companies commit massive amounts of money to acquiring customers, but very little on nurturing customer relationships once they are built. If you find yourself in a constant battle with customer turnover, you may want to focus on metrics that will help you understand why your customers are going elsewhere.
Moreover, consider the internal reach of your content. Forget (for a moment) how your customers are accessing our content and consider how your employees and your own team members are using it. Mike Clark of Business2Community explains the value of internal reach metrics:
“While measuring your clients’ response to content is important, gathering marketing metrics on how your content is consumed internally is equally crucial. Some primary marketing metrics to keep in mind with internal reach are the amount of views, downloads, and shares per month within your team.”
Myth 3: Metrics Mean Everything
While big data and in-depth metrics can help us launch more targeted campaigns, they aren't the be-all, end-all of marketing campaigns. All the data in the world can't replace the emotional connections created by quality content. As metrics make their way into marketing practices, we must not forget that there is an intuitive and intangible element to building a great brand. It's not always about sales conversion or the immediate impact of a campaign. As John Hall, CEO and Cofounder of Influence&Co writes in Forbes, ROI metrics can do more harm than good:
While ROI metrics might not be destroying your storytelling and branding attempts, it’s far too easy to become preoccupied with data and fall blind to the value behind your long-term content strategy. Harness your brand story, continue to nurture these efforts over time, and don’t rely on the numbers for the whole story.
Our most successful branding messages combine the emotional impact of a good brand story with the effective strategy provided by marketing metrics. When we find ways to use developing metrics and measurement tools effectively, we'll gain new insights about our customers and content consumers, which in turn lets us create even more compelling marketing campaigns.
How are you utilizing metrics to determine your return on investment with your marketing efforts? Join the conversation by tweeting @EidsonPartners!