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Marketing metrics matter

Posted 1/14/13

When it comes to measuring marketing success, many business owners (and professional marketers) prefer to think that results are more magic than math. But that’s just not so. The digital era – with it’s easy (relatively) access to analytics – has introduced a whole new way of thinking.

Using real data, business owners can now take a “show me the money” approach to measuring marketing success. Marketing metrics – as opposed to, say, website metrics – can show what works and what doesn’t with far more clarity than ever before.

If you aren’t using some type of marketing metrics or analytics, your business is flying blind. Your goal is to confidently identify which marketing efforts are delivering the best financial returns. Only then can you make the right strategic moves to improve your results over time.

Metrics-focused marketing starts with three main activities:

• Setting goals and targets up front. These should include such things as how many incremental sales are generated, how much revenue each sale produces and the gross margin. In short, you want to know precisely what impact your marketing efforts are having on revenue.

• Designing or selecting your marketing programs to be measurable in the first place. You’ll want to know the incremental contribution of each individual marketing effort you undertake in order to compare results.

• Focusing on decisions that will improve your marketing results. The idea is to adapt and make changes along the way.

Here are some metrics missteps to avoid:

• Vanity metrics. Avoid relying on “feel good” measurements that sound good but don’t actually measure business outcomes or improve profitability. Common examples include PR impressions, Facebook “likes” and names gathered at trade shows.

• Focusing on quantity, not quality. The main metric of lead generation is usually quantity. But focusing on quantity without also measuring quality can lead to marketing programs that look good initially but don’t deliver profits.

• Activity, not results. Marketing “activity” is easy to see (costs going out the door), but results are harder to measure.

• Efficiency instead of effectiveness: Know the difference between effectiveness metrics (doing the right things) and efficiency metrics (doing – possibly the wrong – things well).?For example, having a packed event is no good if it’s the wrong people. •

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