Enterprise Marketer - Make Your Marketing Matter.

Data points abound in marketing; there’s no shortage of measurable points in the creation, curation, management, publication, and distribution of deliverables. There is, however, a shortage of both time and vision when it comes to leading today’s multi-touchpoint digital marketing teams. To not suffer defeat from data paralysis and the pressure of deadlines, there is no greater need for this profession than to ruthlessly eliminate what could be from what should be.

For the Agile Marketing professional, the very principle of measuring success is baked into one of the foundational principles noted in the Agile Marketing Manifesto: “Learning, through the build-measure-learn feedback loop, is the primary measure of progress.”

As a consultant and practitioner of digital marketing leadership, I used to find myself struggling to determine what to measure and how often to measure it; not because I didn’t have an idea of what should be measured, but because of the sheer volume of how much could be measured! So, instead of answering the question I’m now asked most frequently by marketing teams (‘what should we measure most?’), I’m sharing what I believe is the single most helpful and clarifying thought for all marketers.

Only make metrics of what you value; then value what you’ve measured. All else is just data.

Measure Only What You Value

Not every metric is valuable. I know, that’s a strong statement with a load of questions I can almost feel forming on your lips. Sure, you can measure incredible amounts of data with today’s digital marketing tech stack, but that doesn’t mean you should measure incredible amounts of data. Having said that, you should capture the data that leads to insights and trends around specific measurements. Capturing many data points is helpful; measuring each of them and trying to build a report or dashboard around the plethora of inputs is not helpful because it cannot provide a clear viewpoint aligned with your value proposition.

I love the idea of not reporting on so-called ‘vanity metrics’ because it appeals to my ever-present questions: ‘Why?’ and ‘So what?’ – and this delights me. Here’s what I mean.

  • 200% increase in an email Open Rate! So what? Did the increase in open rate translate to an appreciable increase in form completions or another call-to-action that resulted in engagement with the prospect?
  • 200% increase in landing page views! Why? What was different about the audience segmentation, the landing page content, the call-to-action, or the layout and design as compared to previous landing pages? And did the increase in landing page views happen mostly among organic or paid search results?
  • 200% increase in AdWords click-thru rates! So what? What was the cost per click (CPC) when compared to the bounce rate away from the landing page? What was the real CPC when the total clicks are divided by the number of marketing qualified leads (MQL) that were sent to Sales?

Yet these three metrics are often the starting (and ending) point of reporting when it comes to most content marketers. It’s as if one can hear the marketing department say: “Well, we did our part. The rest is up to Sales!” – which is patently untrue.

When you measure only what you value, the few metrics needed become obvious. For example, e-commerce marketing teams will likely value more about the transactions and profit-point-per-lead than on email conversion rates in and of themselves. Meanwhile, a Software as a Service marketing team will likely place a greater emphasis on the conversion rate from product demos and free trial form completions than they will on tracking discount code conversion rates.

If nothing else sinks is, remember this: The key to knowing what is valuable in the first place is to align the objectives of marketing back to the mission of the organization. In other words, when the ‘why we exist’ question can be easily articulated with a unique and distinctive value proposition for the brand (not just the product/service), the way marketing success is understood and measured will become clear.

tagged with: Agile Marketing

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