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Every business is different. Let’s just get that out of the way before reading further. An effective tool for measuring success for one kind of business won’t be the same for another. So why do most marketers look at the same data and try to see the same thing? This is especially the case for most agencies.
When agencies deliver marketing reports to our clients, often times we get locked into a pattern of reporting on the same metrics for everyone. Applications like Google Analytics, AdWords, and tools that handle conversions are used to show growth and measure campaign success. Traffic, clicks, and conversions are the way we show value in what we do. Were we able to increase traffic or lower your CPC? Did your number of conversions (form submissions, leads, etc.) grow?
These formulas are a one-size-fits-all measurement of the success or failure of the agency. But for a lot of businesses it’s not measuring success of the business, just of the agency’s ability to collect data. So what are good marketing measurements? How do you quantify something that can be subjective when it comes to success? Well take a deep dive into 3 questions we look at when trying to solve this problem.
I’m sure everyone who read that thought, “of course! How dare you suggest I don’t know my customers? I’ve had them longer than you!” While that may be true, do you know why they come back to your business instead of moving to another? Or if they did move on, why? We all choose things for a reason.
Sometimes your audience isn’t even a customer. It can be a job candidate, an investor, or even someone to purchase your business so you can do something else. Understanding and speaking to your audience the correct way can take time and resources to discover the right methodologies. More importantly, it can be a key measurement of success for your business and its stakeholders.
Ask your agency or marketing manager if they’ve done an audience analysis. Interviewing clients, employees, and other key stakeholders can give you a better understanding of who your true audience is. This can help you dictate your content strategy, advertising channels, and other marketing methods that can help your business be more successful.
From the time you start looking into agencies or internally at your marketing that should be your first question. All too often folks come to us for a website redesign or a marketing campaign without asking themselves, “what’s the goal here?”
If you ask most business owners or marketing managers, they’ll say revenue growth. Well of course, but sales is a byproduct of marketing efforts. If your goal is to grow 30% in one year, that may be unachievable if you have only grown 5% a year for the last 10 years. Besides, the question is what are your marketing goals?
That means you have to ask the question, “what measurement metrics will lead to that?” This is often harder to figure out. For some companies, such as e-commerce, this formula is very simple. Drive more relevant traffic, people will buy what you’re selling. But for others this can be more complex.
The main thing to do is discuss with yourselves and your agency what the primary goals are for the year, quarter, month, or even weeks. And then you can be sure when those measurements are reported on where the needle is and what do you need to do to move it.
If you really want to know if your campaigns are successful or not, you’d best know what proper expectations to have. You can set all the goals you want but if your expectations aren’t in line with reality, there’s no measurement tool on the planet that’s going to give you success or make you happy. Expectations aren’t just on performance but also on time. Are you expecting to put in minimal effort and get maximum output in a short amount of time? Like I tell most clients, if that was possible, wouldn’t everyone do this?
No, setting expectations is the key measurement you should have for any campaign, long or short. If you’re running an SEO campaign, don’t expect to double traffic in 2 months on a 10-hour-a-month budget. That’s not how this works. If your goal is to double traffic in 2 months, that’s totally fine, but we won’t be measuring organic growth, we’ll be measuring cost per click and click through rates.
However, if you’re an engineering company that has low search volume, none of that will really matter. So if your goal and expectation doesn’t match your audience, you’re in for a bad time.
Measuring success can be difficult depending on your business. That doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. The simplest way to do it is to find out what your optimal outcome is and look at all the tools at your disposal to make that possible.
There are a lot of tools out there to help you figure out if you’re headed in the right direction and to visualize successful measurement. The key is working with your staff or agency on looking at the right ones for the situation you’re in. This means speaking to your core audience on their level in their channel. It will help you set up your proper expectations to meet your goals.