There. We’ve said it.
That very word can strike fear, contempt and sometimes just unadulterated boredom into the hearts of creative marketing geniuses. Unfortunately, analytics are also part and parcel of how to measure marketing effectiveness, and unless you belong to a large corporation who has hired someone to take on the less glamorous (but totally crucial) number crunching aspect of marketing, you are going to have to put on your big kid pants and learn a little bit about the process.
Why It’s Important to Measure Marketing
There are many reasons it’s imperative to measure your marketing, but they all boil down to two indisputable truths:
1) You need to measure marketing so you can find out what works
2) You need to measure marketing to find out what doesn’t work.
If you’re dumping piles of money into a campaign that’s not bringing home the bacon, then it’s time to trim the fat. Either save your money or reallocate it to max your return on investment (ROI). One great way to do this is to drive those dollars from a dud campaign to one that is showing results. Of course, you won’t know what campaigns are successful until you measure your marketing. It simply isn’t enough to spread your marketing money across all your efforts and then try to drive as much traffic to your website as possible in the hopes of capitalizing on your conversions. You need quantifiable, measurable, dynamic and intelligent processes in place. Learning how to measure your marketing and then taking the strides isn’t an expense – it’s an investment. Perhaps more importantly, it will save you money right away and make you more money long term by identifying the best strategy for each particular initiative.
How to Measure Your Marketing:
Aside from your willingness to delve into analytics, here are the most powerful tools to help you measure your marketing. Just keep in mind you need to implement these tools before you launch your campaign, otherwise they won’t work – or at least won’t work to their full potential. You don’t have to be an analytical mastermind to realize that wasted effort = wasted money. Get these tools in place to track your efforts first!
1) Telephone Tracks. The hype and noise online can make it easy to forget that we can (and do) connect with leads and customers via other streams and as such, we need to track those alternative sources. Telephone tracking is easy and involves looking into the number of calls that come in as a result of your marketing campaigns. The most straight-forward way to measure your marketing efforts this way is to assign individual campaigns their own unique phone number. Presto! You know exactly where your marketing dollars are working their hardest. You can also track click-to-call statistics from your AdWords campaigns as well. (Those are just two of many examples for tracking your phone calls)
2) Site Analytics. This one’s pretty basic, but that doesn’t mean it’s beyond mention. Implementing solid website analytics will help you track the website traffic being generated from your marketing campaigns. You will also be able to look at webform submissions, behaviour statistics and engagement data to see the number of visitors who actually convert, how they converted, and what brought them to that conversion. Simple, powerful, effective. Use it!
3) A/B Testing. A/B testing (aka. multivariate testing or split testing) is a tool used to conduct controlled and randomized experiments in order to optimize your website’s metrics (e.g. clicks, purchases, conversions). This methodology can help you measure your marketing because it allows you to see what website variations are working best when visitors are (unknowingly, subtly and randomly) exposed to different ‘takes’ on your site. It’s a little like a harmless quantum leap, where you get to pick and choose the best approach from all possible universes and then maximize your strategy based on proven results.
4) Relationship Tracking. Use a customer relationship management system (CRM) to collect, organize, analyze and measure your marketing initiatives. You can create this handy tool yourself quite simply with an Excel or Google spreadsheet. All you need to do is enter your sales, business contacts and leads into the spreadsheet so you can clearly segment and manage your customer relationships. CRM is particularly essential for businesses that don’t engage (or fully engage) in e-commerce since they won’t have the luxury of using website analytics to track online sales.
5) KPI Analysis. If you’ve used all the aforementioned tools, you’ve probably got a hefty sum of intel on your hands. A KPI (key performance indicator) refers to any data point that allows you to glean information into your how your advertising is performing. KPI tracking brings all this information together in an easy-to-digest and convenient summary. Within this summary you can see the inner workings of your marketing efforts. Again, measuring marketing all comes down to identifying what works and what doesn’t and then using this information to make the best decisions for your business.
6) The Pro Approach. Want to guarantee optimal results for your efforts? Then hire an expert to measure your marketing. Whether you put the tools in place yourself and then get help from an analyst, or you decide to hire someone on for the whole undertaking, you’ll see measurable results when you have a professional in your pocket. An analyst can easily integrate more sophisticated tactics like KPI or closed-loop marketing. They will know exactly what to look for when they measure your marketing campaign; they know how to separate your analytics to tease out subtleties that may be giving you misleading information (e.g. you might account for a purchase in your ROI calculations when in fact, the customer returned the purchase or had their online payment rejected.) A data analyst knows how to enhance profitability by segmenting, measuring and reporting on an almost microscopic level.
Not everyone will need to embrace this last tool. Some business owners may be analytically savvy already. However, for the majority of small to medium sized business owners, examining your marketing analytics are an unwelcome but unavoidable task. When you feel like your time is better spent doing what you do best, sometimes it just makes more sense to hire professionals to do what they do best. Contact us if you want our data analysts to optimize your campaign by measuring your marketing for you.