Does your marketing data speak the same language as your business?

Tape measure by Randen PedersonMeasuring marketing performance has never been more important, yet many marketers only review results once a campaign has ended, rather than evaluating throughout. As a result, it can be easy for marketers to become sidetracked and miss valuable, actionable insights. Given today’s advanced analytic tools, it is possible to quantify marketing performance as part of an ongoing process to ensure any activity aligns with your business objectives.

Seven out of ten (70%) marketers report that their marketing efforts are under greater scrutiny than they were in the past. Challenged to align marketing strategies with the objectives of the business as a whole, they need to prove that campaigns are delivering consistent results against specific goals. At the same time, they need to ensure that the organisation is willing and able to take action on the insights being generated by marketing measurement, so that resources can be focused on strategies that deliver the best returns for the business

To meet these challenges, marketers need to put in place a robust goal-based measurement framework. By implementing the following five steps in the planning stages of a campaign, marketers can ensure they are utilising resources effectively and providing the optimum ROI for their brand:

Step 1: Define successful outcomes 

The key to success with any marketing strategy is to align it with a clear business objective against which its performance can be measured. To do this, marketers need to understand the individual goals of senior management, as well as acknowledge what success looks like for the business as a whole. Once business objectives have been defined, marketing goals and strategies can be aligned and measured against them. Clear and achievable goals will help to ensure that marketing is driving the business in the desired direction.

Step 2: Establish measurable KPIs 

Once marketing objectives have been defined, a set of metrics or KPIs should be drawn up to ensure that the campaign remains on target to reach its goals. These must be tangible business metrics that are easy to understand and meaningful in establishing campaign performance, rather than ambiguous or insubstantial measurements. Keep KPIs specific to individual goals to ensure that they are relevant and actionable, and be willing to revise them as the campaign progresses.

Step 3: Draw up an analytics road map

Marketing measurement and analytics is an ongoing process, and there will always be decisions to make and changes that need to be made along the way. By adopting a ‘test and learn’ process, marketers can maximise ROI. Consider the questions that the business will need to ask throughout the campaign and plot these in phases – this will enable significant decisions to be made and ultimately bigger outcomes as the campaign progresses. As the answers to the initial questions are provided, more questions will arise, creating a self-perpetuating road map.

Step 4: Create a data collection plan 

To measure KPIs and to answer the questions posed within the analytics road map, data will need to be collected. Make a plan detailing: the level and type of data required, the frequency and method of collection, the format the data should be presented in, and the resources that will be required for data collection. It is also important to make sure that all necessary data is available for analysis as this will prevent data overload and the collection of unnecessary data.

Step 5: Take action on insights 

The purpose of setting tangible metrics and collecting data to support an analytics road map will ensure the business can take action in response to the insights these activities provide. Making this work requires an understanding of what the organisation is capable of, the type of boundaries and constraints it faces, and the frequency or extent to which it can change its marketing strategy. A failure to investigate these factors may result in wasting resources by delivering marketing insights that the business simply cannot act upon.

All too often a measurement plan is only applied to a marketing campaign as an afterthought and as a retrospective attempt to understand why it does or doesn’t appear to be performing. Without an initial measurement framework as a guide, it is easy for the campaign to get side-tracked, or to use up valuable resources on activities that don’t provide the necessary ROI.

With this five step marketing measurement framework in place, a campaign can progress in the right direction with goals that are clearly aligned with business objectives. The employment of the framework will additionally provide quantifiable value and actionable insights to drive the business forward.

Adit Abhyankar is executive director at Visual IQ