This month, eMarketer published a post citing results from an April 2014 study conducted by VisionEdge Marketing and ITSMA. eMarketer noted that 85% of marketers worldwide said the pressure to measure marketing’s business value and contribution had increased.
eMarketer cited another study in the post, one conducted by ifbyphone in May 2014, which indicated that much of this demand was coming from the top of the organization. In fact, 60% of US marketing executives polled said they were reporting marketing metrics to their CEO and leadership teams at least monthly.
VisionEdge and ITSMA found that while marketers worldwide felt they were doing a good job at proving their effect on business to their leadership teams, 40% of the respondents said that applying formal processes to gathering, handling and analyzing, and reporting data was a top challenge to measuring the business contribution of marketing. Issues with access to the right data as well as using data and analytics to actually link marketing’s impact to business results were each cited by 39% of respondents.
Herein lies the rub.
The Trouble With Big Data
While Big Data offers many advantages to marketers, it also comes with its disadvantages. One in particular is this — the more data that is available, the more there is to measure. And, the valuable info pales in comparison to the total volume of data.
What happens is that marketers lose focus and analyze the wrong data when they should be focusing on only the info that matters – that will help their businesses improve and grow.
This issue is compounded by two factors —
(1) Big Data is not slowing down. IDC reports that data is doubling in size every two years and by 2020, there will be 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes, of data available.
(2) Marketers will continue to make data analytics and collection a priority. 73% of US Marketers said – according to a January 2014 study conducted by Infogroup Targeting Solutions – that data analytics would be more of a priority in 2014 and 66% said the same for data collection.
So, with more data available and more emphasis on data collection and analytics, this issue will only get worse.
In addition to measuring too much of the irrelevant data and not enough of the relevant data, Marketing is attempting to measure Sales.
The problem with this is Marketing’s role is to drive engagement, it is not Sales.
With metrics, like most things, less is more. Marketing has to regain focus and measure only those things of value that relate to the organization’s business objectives.
The 3 Types of Metrics That Matter
Measure what visitors are interacting with when they visit your website. Which pages are they viewing? What are they downloading? What blog posts are they reading? Are they new visitors or are they returning visitors? How long do they stay on your website?
In this section, you will want to look at page views, traffic, opens/click-throughs and bounce rates.
This is the starting point for any type of relationship you have with prospects.
While it has taken some time to get to this point, brands are now measuring the effectiveness of their social content. In a post last month, eMarketer noted that in April 2014 research by Ipsos OTX for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), while 80% of client-side US marketers were measuring social content, they were using vanity metrics, such as “likes”, but not solid metrics.
Marketers should focus on solid social media metrics such as sharing, engagement, share of voice and reach. Let’s start with reach. While reach may not be as significant as the others, it is important to review those statistics and get a feel for how many people could be exposed to your content. Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter all have free analytics tools to help you measure reach.
As for sharing and engagement, how often are your prospects sharing your blog posts, community content or other website content? How often are they commenting on your blog posts or in your online community? How are they sharing your social media content? How are they engaging with your social media content?
When you analyze share of voice you are measuring social mentions that your company receives against what your competitors receive. Research your social mentions, then research your competitors’ social mentions. It is important to be consistent and specific with what you are measuring. As an example, your share of voice on Twitter may be very different than your share of voice on Facebook.
I mentioned above that a marketer’s role is to drive engagement.
Marketers must help move buyers along their journey and that starts with converting visitors to leads. Marketers first need to understand the “point of entry” – how visitors are finding out about your website and what is piquing their interest to go to your website in the first place. Next, understand where the visitor is spending their time when they visit your website, the process of how the buyer converted to a lead, which pieces of content resulted in lead conversion, which events triggered moving further along the buyer journey, etc. Marketers should also monitor which events triggered a lead converting to a customer. And, once the lead becomes a customer, there are a number of post-sales analytics that you should monitor to help you ensure your customer retention goals are met. Two in particular include the performance of your post-sales content and customer engagement.
Focusing on the types of metrics that matter to your business will help you stay focused with your analytics so you can focus on your business objectives and enjoy solid revenue growth.
What types of metrics matter most to you? Let us know in the comments section.