A little open rate, with a dash of page views, and a heap of likes and shares … the cocktail of measuring marketing effectiveness is no straight order. There is an overwhelm of numbers to review that differs between channels and media. And most B2B companies are struggling to make true meaning of all the numbers they collect, though they feel the need to do so.
In fact, 93% of CMOs report being under greater pressure than ever to deliver measurable ROI (Leapfrog), and 50% of B2B CMOs struggle to attribute marketing activity directly to revenue results to justify budgets (Forrester).
These are major issues left untended, because measurements are vital to your B2B organization’s success in not only reviewing your past efforts but more importantly in delivering future campaigns and activities that are meaningful to your buying audiences. Measurements hold your teams accountable. They ensure the organization’s money is strategically invested, not just spent for the sake of marketing.
Your past marketing insights — gathered, measured and analyzed — can and should inform your future efforts. And in an environment where the customer has more tools, channels and information than ever to make a buying decision, all your marketing efforts must be justified.
Metrics Should Tell a Story
Your metrics should provide an overview of your marketing efforts and how you are progressing leads, from prospecting to discovery to justification and eventually a business deal. While knowing click-throughs, open rates and page views is insightful, it is not enough if the numbers fail to tell you a story of your prospects’ progression, or lack thereof, through their buying journey – often viewed through your marketing and sales funnel.
In every instance of marketing spend, there are three keywords that will ensure you are putting your most effective foot forward with marketing efforts: As measured by.
As measured by…
For one client we found that their customers were spending time on their external website and then pivoting to their “single sign-on” customer site to execute their business. Including these visitors and the number of page views and downloads was misleading. The story was not what it seemed as measured by the numbers. When we dug deeper, we were able to optimize the customer journey and experience and separate it from the prospect experience to build the right metrics for both audiences.
For another client, we found that a campaign was resonating well in the market and the spend on the campaign was minimal as it was going viral amongst the targets. The catch was the awareness that was being generated was just that — awareness and no preference leading to a prospect. While it was fun and the prospects were engaged with the content, the funnel was not getting filled with pipeline – as measured by the numbers. So, our content marketing team had to develop more value assets that could bring prospects into the sales funnel (this actually became a cartoon that resonated and was shared – even by the competition as it resonated with the targets).
And lastly, we worked with a client to optimize the interactive journey of each audience. We knew at every step of their journey which metrics to measure and how to ensure at every interaction that the experience was optimized and moving the audience down the funnel to a transaction. This ensures that the metrics they are tracking (as measured by) are what matters.
The spend must influence the marketing story to deliver a real outcome in a reasonable timeframe. If the marketing activity is not measurable – then it is simple – do not do it.
Measure Against What Is Meaningful to Your Business
Still the question remains: Which metrics provide this data-backed direction and which are distractible fluff? And, more importantly, which can help you best serve your target buyer?
The two most important metrics every marketing professional should be aware of and thinking of daily include:
- Gross and Net Revenue: How do marketing activities influence your gross and net revenue? Which channels are the most profitable? Which have little or no return?
- Customer Lifetime Value: How can you get the most value out of your returning customers? Versus, how much does it cost to gain a new customer? How much value will you receive from repeat business?
Additional metrics like website traffic and landing page conversion rates are important too — as they are telling a story of what is working in the progression of touch points. They should contribute to how you are ultimately helping to drive revenue and boost the customer lifetime value. But at the end of the day, you should be more concerned about metrics that hold meaningful impact on your business.