In Cornwall we have a fantastic supply of creative talent to design amazing brands and visually stunning marketing campaigns. The real question, says Emma Lydon, is how many businesses know how effective their marketing is? Has it achieved what we originally intended, was it really worth doing, and do the results tell us anything else that’s interesting?
The advent of digital marketing means there is masses of data available to us marketers to analyse how things are doing, and here are some tips on how to manage marketing metrics to drive the performance of your marketing:
1. Set clearly defined objectives from the outset
Do have a plan. Be clear on your business goals and focus your marketing objectives on how it contributes to these goals. This can be anything from brand awareness, to sales, or the number of responses to a given piece of activity.
2. Work out how you’re going to measure things
While you’re still planning your marketing activity, consider how you’re going to measure if it has worked. Some activity will give you more in the way of metrics than others – for example, email campaigns normally automatically output most of the data one could wish to see, whereas a press advert may be more difficult to track. Adding digital links to traditional media – for example links to specific website urls, the addition of QR codes, or even good old fashioned ‘how did you hear about us’ fields on your website or questioning inbound callers can all help to measure individual pieces of activity.
3. Take time to measure things!
It’s simple, but in practice, the most frequently omitted part of any marketing plan is the ‘control’ phase. DO look at how your activity is performing at an early stage, and keep tracking it! Set up an internal dashboard to see just what you want – some data will even be available on a real time basis.
4. Know what to expect… and be ready to change
Use past experience as well as industry norms to benchmark what to expect in the way of results. If a particular piece of activity is not working, act quickly to direct precious budget and time elsewhere. Conversely, if something is performing well, can you capitalise on an opportunity to drive even better results?
5. It’s not just about results
Analysis of marketing data doesn’t just tell us about how effective our campaigns are, it can also give business owners unexpected insights into their target markets. By cross analysing data and looking for correlations, new information can arise to help business planning become much more fact based, increasing the likelihood of success.
6. It’s still not an exact science!
Having said all this, not all marketing is easily measured and we marketers sometimes have to rely on qualitative, related information to assess performance. Even then, the old saying of ‘some facts are better than none’ is a good adage and provides businesses with more information to go on than purely gut feel!
All of the above is really common sense stuff, but in practice there is often a rush to just deliver something tangible – sometimes irrespective of the original aim. So do always be diligent about the numbers!
About the author:
A professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM), Emma Lydon is an experienced marketing practitioner, with a strong understanding of all aspects of marketing, both strategic and operational.