1. Understand what’s happened and report on it. The first impetus for marketers to begin collecting data and take measurements is to understand and report on the impact of our efforts. We very much want to know if we’ve been ineffective and inefficient and how so we can fix it. We also want to know when we’ve hit one out of the park so we capitalize on those winning tactics and strategies again. And, we want to be able to tell our stories—to report on our successes and learnings.
2. Understand more about our customers. Whether we’re direct marketers working with personal data (e.g, Bob Jones in Cincinatti), or brand marketers working with aggregate data (e.g., media impressions, conversion rates) marketing measurement tells us what’s resonating (and what isn’t) and where—things like whether our customers prefer a “2 for 1” offer over a “10% off” offer, whether they’re more receptive to us over email or Facebook, whether they’re more engaged by our content over Facebook or YouTube, and which TV ads are bringing them into our stores.
3. Pinpoint problems. Eventually, every marketer faces it, the “What went wrong with our last campaign?” question—even if it’s only in his or her head. When we have a tracking and measurement system in place, it serves to help us discover the where problems lie. If our budget was meaty (we served a lot of impressions), but CTR was low, we can conclude something was amiss with the ad copy. If CTR on the ads was respectable, but the bounce rate on the landing page is exceptional, we can conclude the issue is with the landing page.
4. Content and offer optimization. Once we have accurate measurements of what’s spurring our customers to act, we can then optimize. We can show more of the content and offers that more often deliver the outcomes we seek—higher click through rates (CTR), greater foot traffic, more social media sharing, etc.
5. Purchase funnel optimization. Using marketing measurement to optimize the buyer’s journey or purchase funnel means going a bit further than just tracking and measuring. It means organizing our marketing data so that it reflects our efforts in each funnel stage. Whether we use the traditional 3-stage funnel (awareness, engagement, purchase), or a more complex funnel that accounts for purchase consideration and post-sale advocacy, enhancing our data to reflect the customer funnel is what puts the omni lens on our marketing measurements. When we call TV and digital impressions “awareness”, we “un-silo” our data and so we can start looking at it more holistically.
6. Decision support. Marketers talk an awful lot about being data-driven and what exactly that means. To us, it means using data to make decisions—relying on the hard data on what’s happened in the past to inform our future plans and budgets. Campaign success metrics and KPIs are key inputs for deciding how to get more out of our spend in the future. If we know, for instance, that last year, our cost per acquisition (CPA) on Facebook was half that of Google AdWords, we can move more budget to Facebook and plan to build more content for that channel.
7. Performance lift. When we’re using marketing measurement for decision and optimization support, we see lift—improvements in our marketing KPIs. Through ongoing tracking and measurement, we’re constantly learning what drives our audience to interact with us, become customers, become loyal customers and advocate for us. If we’re acting on that input, changing our campaign tactics accordingly, we should be able to report on how we’ve lifted performance—brought in more customers and boosted loyalty and advocacy.
8. Faster innovation. When we’ve mastered all the use cases above, we’re using marketing measurement to understand the past, better understand our customers, optimize our content and offers, optimize the buyer’s journey, demonstrate lift in performance—we’re getting more efficient and effective. All that means faster innovation. When we act upon what our marketing measurements tell us, we deliver better customer experiences faster.
9. Reliable forecasting. The only way to build reliability into our forecasting is not just to measure, but to measure for a long time. Only when we’ve been measuring for something like two to three years and have sizable—and relatively stable—volumes of data to work with, we can begin to confidently declare things like, “If we include human imagery in our next OOH campaign, we’ll see a 3% increase in retail foot traffic in urban areas and a 7% increase in rural areas.
The benefits of rigorous marketing measurement are significant and can make a tremendous impact on our ability to derive insight, make smart decisions and trustworthy predictions about our marketing efforts. Ensure that your plan to strengthen your marketing measurement discipline clearly communicates these use cases and their respective benefits. Your call to invest more deeply in marketing measurement tools, processes and people will look like a no-brainer.