Is Your Marketing Effective? Know How to Measure for Success
Do you know if your marketing efforts are successful?
If someone sat you down right now and asked you if your marketing strategy has been successful, would you be able to answer them? Would you be able to tell them what your ROI is, what’s been working and what hasn’t been, what needs to be modified and could you provide data to support your claims? If the answer to those questions is no, then it’s time to take a step back and regroup.
Measuring your marketing effectiveness can be tricky business and there’s a lot of moving pieces and parts that go into it, which we’ll get into later in the post. But for now, let’s lay the groundwork of understanding. In order to ensure the success and growth of your business, you need to have a plan to measure your marketing effectiveness, and this needs to happen before you implement your strategy or any marketing campaign.
Why have a plan to measure marketing effectiveness?
Let’s imagine that you’ve spent a great deal of time, energy and money developing a marketing strategy. You’ve identified your target audience and your perfect client or patient. You’ve got a solid value proposition, mission and vision and you’ve honed your voice and messaging. You’ve created your go-to-market strategy for the various channels that you’ll be using to market your business and you’re ready to get started.
But hold on! If you implement that strategy without a plan for measuring your marketing effectiveness, you won’t have any way to know if you’re moving in the right direction. It’s like charting a course on a boat without a compass or any navigational equipment. Having a performance measurement program will provide you with insights that inform your marketing decisions. It affords you the transparency to see what’s working in your strategy and what’s not. With the data you have access to, you can choose to cut programs that aren’t serving your needs, modify and test different possibilities, increase spend in areas that are yielding great results and feel confident in your decisions and your investment.
Developing a performance measurement program
So, how do you go about developing a performance measurement program? The simplified answer is to set goals for success and create proper methods of tracking for all of your efforts. The actual process and the details that go into it are a little more complicated than this.
If you’re working with a marketing consultant or agency to develop a marketing strategy, it is important to know that a comprehensive performance measurement program will typically be part of that deliverable, so it’s important to discuss what you’ll be getting up front. If you are creating a strategy on your own, you can follow these guidelines to create your program and build out your goals and tracking methods. So, let’s attempt to break it down.
Setting Business Goals, Marketing Objectives & KPIs
The first thing that you’ll need to do is establish your business goals, marketing objectives and KPI’s. It’s important to understand that there is a distinction between these three terms. They are often used as if they are interchangeable, but knowing the difference between the three will help you better understand the hierarchy and ultimately provide you with the proper framework for building your program.
We’ll start at the top of the hierarchy with business goals. This is typically a very broad statement of what you want to achieve with your business, that is not associated with a measurement metric or time frame.
Examples of Business Goals:
- Increase customer base/membership
- Grow brand awareness and visibility
- Increase revenue
- Increase profits
- Expand into new audiences or demographics
Marketing objectives are where we start to get more specific. They outline the strategies that will be used to achieve the business goals that you have set. They are measurable, achievable and time-based. An example of a marketing objective might be to increase revenue by 20% over the next 12 months. You’ll often end up with a few marketing objectives that support one established goal.
Examples of Marketing Objectives:
- Increase website traffic by 25%
- Boost Instagram following to 5,000
- Increase patient/member retention to 90%
- Grow email list to 6,000
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Key performance indicators are very specific performance metrics that demonstrates how effective you are in achieving a marketing objective or business goal. They are quantifiable measures to track your progress. In order for KPIs to be useful in helping you reach your goals, they need to be well structured. The following are the elements that make up an effective KPI:
- A Metric – This is the measurable value of your KPI. This may include a percentage of increase/decrease, a dollar amount, etc.
- Time-Frame – This is the amount of time that you are setting to meet your goal. A few examples include: by 3rd quarter, in 12 months, etc.
- Data Source – This is a clearly defined data source for tracking/measuring progress. For example, if one of your KPIs is to increase web traffic, Google Analytics may be a method of tracking.
- Reporting – You need to establish the frequency of reporting on your KPI’s.
Setting objectives and KPIs can be somewhat of an art because you need to strike a balance between attainable and ambitious. If you set the bar too low, you won’t make much progress. If you set it too high, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure and may not see the merits of an otherwise successful marketing program or campaign.