The misunderstood language of marketing metrics

Let me first preface this segment by saying its always easier said than done. That said, clearly defined marketing metrics that are measurable and benchmarked will enable you to lobby for marketing funds and demonstrate your team’s value to the organization. (In fact, I think that is why in the context of B2B marketing, social media has not yet taken hold. Once we can better establish a line of site to opportunities and topline growth, I think we will see a tipping point in that regard.)

1) Know your benchmark. Too often I see a presentation on the success of a campaign but it means nothing to me because there’s no context of how it performed compared against similar tactics. If you have no benchmark that tells me that you had no goals. If you had no goals, then what are you working towards? A 1% AdWords CTR may be a terrible performance for a very specific niche search term with few impressions, but an outstanding CTR in a highly competitive and broad field. Know the difference and establish your target from the get-go.

2) Line of sight.  So you’ve outperformed the field in some metric – now translate that into dollars. At the end of the day best-in-class metrics for web traffic mean nothing if you can’t translate that into opportunities for the business. Of course some of that may be beyond the scope of your individual role but where possible, take that metric to the next step. An increase in web traffic by X% led to what? If you don’t have the mechanisms to properly track the funnel to that level of detail, then at least demonstrate your understanding at an intuitive level.  

3) Know how your business makes money. Rationalizing your marketing metrics and translating that (even at an intuitive level) means you need to know how your business makes money. It sounds simple enough but too often I hear folks talk about value prop this and segmentation that but have no clue how we as a business actually bring in dollars. If you don’t know how your business makes money you are in no position to tell someone how your marketing programs have bolstered business outcomes. Conversely, the individual that demonstrates a strong understanding of the business’s economics differentiates themselves and lends credibility to their analysis.

I mention these things today because in these difficult economic times establishing the value of marketing is more important than ever. And as I said before, I realize its easier said than done. Hopefully these three basic concepts will help you along the way. Best of luck to you in creating your own winning (and measurable) marketing programs.


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