John Wanamaker said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
Unfortunately, Wanamaker is quoted as saying this in early 1900s, yet marketers today still face the same struggle. Even more unfortunate, marketers struggle with metrics despite the fact that digital marketing gives us access to more data, analytical tools and techniques than Wanamaker could ever have imagined possible. So what gives? Why are marketing metrics so challenging? What can marketers do to overcome this challenge and advance their marketing metrics?
Here are three ways to advance your marketing metrics program:
Start measuring digital marketing separately in order to track performance, impact and budget.
While digital marketing is a growing portion of the overall marketing budget, traditional marketing makes up most of marketing spend. This can leave digital marketers struggling to measure the success of digital programs using metrics that were designed for traditional marketing tactics.
Track the performance of digital marketing separately from traditional marketing. Look for benchmarks based on past performance of similar digital marketing programs or competitors programs. Measure the impact of digital marketing by connecting operational metrics to strategic metrics. And track spend, including marketing expenses and revenue growth.
Stop measuring everything possible. Focus instead on measuring what matters most to your business objectives.
Marketers often approach measurement like grocery shopping before a natural disaster, gathering every metric in sight so they don’t have to come back and measure again. This leads to a waste of time and resources spent gathering, analyzing and reporting meaningless metrics. Furthermore, meaningless metrics don’t drive better decision making.
Instead, figure out which metrics matter most based on if and how they relate to your business objectives. If your business objective is retention, identify the factors that influence retention and look for ways to track marketing’s impact on those factors. This will help you determine which marketing channels and tactics are most effective toward reaching your goal.
Proceed as planned if your marketing metrics are delivering meaningful insight, and make it a point to turn insight into action.
Maybe you’ve mastered the art of defining the right marketing metrics and tracking digital marketing performance, impact and budget. Remember, the purpose of marketing metrics isn’t simply to look in the rear-view mirror at what happened and admire our success or admonish our failure. It’s also to drive better decision making.
This requires you to turn marketing metrics into meaningful insight, such as customer insight or recommendations of the next best action marketing can and should take to achieve business objectives. If you’re creating reports or populating dashboards that aren’t leading better decisions or do things differently, then there’s still room for improvement.