Inbound marketing has given marketers the unprecedented ability to know and understand their consumers better than ever before. Today it’s possible to know where a lead comes from, exactly what prompted the conversion, what pages they visited, what information they sought out, and more. Data is everywhere and readily available that it can help you to target your market and your message with pinpoint accuracy.
The problem lies in the amount of data available! Now more than ever, we’re answering your questions about what important information that you need to measure in order to establish marketing metrics that matter.
We must move from numbers keeping score to numbers that drive better actions.—David Walmsley
What is the Data Selection Criteria for Choosing Relevant Marketing Metrics?
Marketing metrics should be established up front so that you can collect and read pertinent data from day one. In fact, there are five basic criteria for choosing relevant marketing metrics that measure success. These are universal rules and apply across industries regardless of company size or time in the marketplace.
- Make it easy: Any metrics you establish should be easy to understand and use.
- Make it make sense: Your marketing metrics need to make sense to the people compiling the data and to those making decisions based on the data. If your metrics are too complex or convoluted they will not be useful. If different departments are looking at different data to justify decisions, it can cause inconsistent behavior. For example, if your marketing team feels like their campaign is a success because they are driving large amounts of traffic, i.e., unique page views, sales will not be happy due to low conversions.
- Make it consistent: Marketing metrics should be consistent from month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, and year-to-year.Data points should be consistent from month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter so that comparable information can be reviewed. For example, purchase behavior is a difficult measurement, especially if there are multiple data sources, e.g.,online sales and brick and mortar sales. In many companies, point-of-sale data is not fully integrated with CRM and inbound marketing automation systems. This means data will be inconsistent from month-to-month and not actionable.
- Make it actionable: Marketing metrics should deliver useful actionable information.
- Make it impactful: Metrics should impact your business. Seeing whether a certain number is up or down from month-to-month can tell you something has changed. But it’s more important to be able to see how that change is connected to specific actions and buying behaviors. For example, customers who are active in your online product forums are not only more likely to buy your product, they’re also more likely to spread the word as well as continue to engage with your efforts.
Understanding analytics is looking at the big picture. It doesn’t matter if it's Imax or 3D, you’re still growing your business.
What Marketing Metrics Should I Focus On?
One common pitfall is measuring data that’s easy to track like clicks on a web link. Just because a lot of the web and social media data is trackable doesn’t mean you should spend time with it. It’s often too broad and not useful for making actionable decisions.
Instead of gathering lots of “number data” like clicks, facebook likes, and twitter followers, look at the big picture. Tie your marketing campaigns and activities to big picture goals like increasing revenue through new customer acquisition, or growth in income per customer. A new “follower” won’t tell you much about their buying behavior, but a download or video view might. These are the metrics that will tell you if your marketing is working.
Here are a few key performance indicators to consider:
- Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC)—Compile all of your sales and marketing costs (including advertising, salaries, commissions, overhead etc) and divide this number by the number of new customers over a specific time period (month, quarter or year). This number can help you to set sales quotas. If this number increases over time, it may mean that your sales or marketing efforts are not efficient and require adjustment. Keep in mind, that this number is very industry specific and price point dependent. So finding your CAC is important to suit your company’s needs.
- Time to Payback CAC—Take the CAC and divide the number by how much customers pay you each month on average. The higher the payback time means it takes longer to recoup your marketing investment. Under 6 months could mean you are spending too little on marketing and sales and over 18 months could indicate a problem. Aim for 9 to 18 months—which is reasonable time allotment to recoup your investment.
- Marketing Originated Customer—Look at the number of customers generated in a specific period and examine their buying path. Were the leads originally driven by particular marketing efforts, or through organic search, or other channels?
Take a risk and keep testing, because what works today won’t work tomorrow, but what worked yesterday may work again.—Amrita Sahasrabudhe
Marketing metrics are not a one-size-fits-all. You need to clearly define your business goals in order to determine which metrics to watch. The bottom line is that you need to look beyond the obvious numbers and determine what is driving your customers to act and engage. Look at the big picture and you’ll grow your business.
Until next FAQ Friday, keep your communication lines open. Don’t know the answer—ASK. If you have questions you would like to see featured in our weekly FAQ Friday, please submit them in the comments below or mention us @DirectImages on Twitter.
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