Are you confident that your brand strategy is delivering results? How certain are you that dollars spent on marketing deliver an acceptable return on investment to warrant the expense?
Applying performance indicators to your marketing efforts and brand strategy will not only empower you to make corrective adjustments, it will supply you with the evidence you need to defend your recommendations before skeptical board members or CEOs. By subjecting abstract strategic imperatives to concrete metrics, you can point to tangible benefits supporting your policies and justifying further investment.
We all recognize the value of monitoring business outcomes, but how can KPIs be used effectively in a marketing context? If you’re struggling to introduce accountability into your department or to identify opportunities for improvement, consider establishing some goals that define success for each of your brand initiatives. The first step in adopting KPIs is to specify the conditions or outcomes those programs are intended to achieve. Only then can you determine whether the data you’re collecting validates or challenges your strategy.
Define your goals by taking the following steps:
- List objectives for each of your major brand or marketing priorities.
- Be sure to use language that clearly establishes measurable criteria.
- Don’t list “gain more followers” as the desired outcome for a social media effort. Be specific — cite the precise number of new followers you aim to gain.
If you’re managing a paid search campaign, designate the click-through rate you’re targeting, as well as the number of leads and sales conversions you hope to achieve. It may be painful to place that degree of pressure on your team, but without goals, no amount of data can provide definitive performance into your efforts.
Now Begin Tracking
Once you’ve pinned down your objectives, begin amassing data. Almost any kind of internet user activity is traceable via Google Analytics, CMS tools or CRM platforms. Social media platforms offer robust metrics. But some important data points require painstaking record keeping.
ALMOST ANY KIND OF INTERNET USER ACTIVITY IS TRACEABLE VIA GOOGLE ANALYTICS, CMS TOOLS OR CRM PLATFORMS.
For instance, your sales and marketing teams are responsible for tracking leads as they progress through your sales funnel. The most crucial stages to record occur during the handoff between marketing and sales departments. When a lead becomes a sales qualified prospect, your business needs to know what strategies or online assets contributed to the transition. If your marketing and sales teams aren’t sharing this type of information, be sure to “close the loop” and establish communication protocols.
Here is a list of more key metrics to collect:
- Cost of customer acquisition (COCA)
- Web traffic to lead ratio
- Lead to marketing qualified lead ratio
- Marketing qualified lead (MQL) to sales qualified lead (SQL)
- Sales qualified lead to sale
- Overall web traffic
- Social media engagement: e.g., number of “likes” and “follows”
- Email marketing performance: e.g., how many opens, click-through rate
- Link building
- Landing page conversions
- Content downloads
You’re probably already collecting some of this data. The key is to organize it systematically, to review it consistently and weigh it against your target objectives. Assign responsibility to department personnel for compiling the data into a digestible format and schedule quarterly reviews to assess performance.
Make necessary changes
If the data shows your programs aren’t achieving your goals, then determine whether continual investment is warranted. Can improvements be made through modest modifications, or does the entire strategy or campaign need revamping? Don’t cling to an ineffective strategy out of stubbornness. Acknowledging the failure of one effort frees up resources for other, more successful initiatives. Double down on what’s working and be willing to relinquish what isn’t.
The role of the Buyer's Journey Map
We’ve already mentioned a few benefits of installing KPIs. When you define success criteria and evaluate performance, you can improve poorly performing strategies and allocate more resources to proven ones.
In additional, KPIs and performance data provide the following benefits:
- Improved communication achieved through objective measurements.
- Increased confidence throughout organization.
- Better alignment of sales and marketing.
- Consensus and brand advocacy.
- Opportunities to celebrate true successes.