At HiveMind Marketing, we believe that every marketing program should be tied to a metric from the outset. But lately, we’ve seen that marketing analytics have a dark side as well. Too much detail and complexity often leads companies to analysis paralysis, where you spend too much time analyzing the data and too little time using it to evaluate and improve programs. If you’re feeling overwhelmed lately by marketing analytics, here’s a simple approach to measurement that can help.

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1. Establish specific measurable marketing and communications objectives

If you define specific, measurable objectives on the front end, you can determine whether a particular program has been successful or not. Keep in mind that the more specific the objective, the easier it is to measure and the more meaningful the measurement. For example, here are two possible marketing objectives for a new product offering:

  • Introduce the new SaaS digital stream management solution.
  • Generate 135 requests for on-site demonstration of the new SaaS digital stream management solution from targeted decision makers during the first three months of the introduction campaign.

The first objective is difficult to measure or relate to sales or revenues. As a result, you can’t tell whether it worked or not. However, the second objective is highly measurable in the form of several pieces of information: total number of inquiries, a definition of qualified decision makers, the total number of demos, and the total number of sales that come from those demos. And it sets a specific time frame for achieving the objective — all of which adds up to a very effective marketing analytics measure of effectiveness.

2. SPECIFY THE KEY ELEMENTS TO MEASURE AND TRACK AND IDENTIFY APPROPRIATE MEASUREMENT CRITERIA

With objectives established and prioritized, your next step is to decide which elements of your marketing program you want to measure: budget, creative strategy, media, or sales impact of the entire campaign.

If you are beginning a multi-phase campaign, you may want to measure such elements as media selection and creative strategy in order to improve the effectiveness of succeeding phases. Or you might want to know which offer worked best. Or which landing-page converted more online orders.

Or, you may want to determine the effectiveness of the entire campaign. What impact did the campaign have on total sales? What was the ROI?

In addition to determining the elements to measure, you also need to identify the appropriate measurement criteria. This might be number of inquiries, traffic to the web site, or conversions to sales.

3. SELECT THE MEASUREMENT TOOLS.

Once you know what to measure, you can select the right marketing analytics measurement tools and techniques. For inquiries, you could use a good marketing automation system to provide raw totals, qualified leads, follow-up actions taken, and sales tracking. Web analytics might help you evaluate the effectiveness of different landing pages. Sales could come from your own order department, field sales reporting, or CRM tools.

4. IMPLEMENT. REPORT. USE.

As you collect information, you need to prepare and submit reports to management that specify succinctly what is being measured and why. Because you’ve written such tight objectives, this last step should now be much easier. You can back it up with detailed data and procedures for those people who want to study the results further.

CONCLUSION

Don’t turn toward the dark side of marketing analytics. If you follow the four guidelines presented here, you can simplify your measurement process, concentrate on more meaningful measurements, and provide answers to management’s perpetual questions about the effectiveness of your marketing programs.

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