I recently came across the results of a survey conducted jointly by the CIM and Deloitte that came to the surprising conclusion that 56% of companies rate their marketing measurement capability as non-existent or basic.
This conclusion is surprising, as it seems peculiar that this figure should be so high. In these cost-focused and budget-slimming times, the need to monitor the response rates should be at the top of every marketer's to do list. Implementing a marketing measurement system has never been so easy or cost effective.
In this article, I'll look at some of the key steps to putting in some marketing measurement to stop you being one of the 56%.
Successful marketing measurement is paramount because it ensures organisations understand their return on investment (ROI) from marketing. In theory companies should always follow the mantra of 'plan – do – review'. However, whilst the first two parts are often done effectively, the problem comes with the review section. Ask any marketing manager whether their campaign was successful and often they will struggle to provide the data to back up their conclusion. The first task in any successful review is to identify at the start of a campaign the key performance indicators. These can be some or all of the following:
- Enquiry levels
- Product demonstrations
- Website activity
- Sales conversions
Once the success factors have been identified they then need to be broken down to their constituent parts and measured against by response mechanism. From the list above this would be as follows:
Enquiry levels showing new and existing customer data capture:
- Telephone calls
- Web forms
- Email response
- By post (if a DM campaign)
- Processes need to be put in place to record when a demonstration has taken place
- Unique users
- Page impressions
- Time on site
- Most visited pages
- Bounce rate
- What is the sales target for this activity
- What is the increase in sales amongst new and existing customers
- Attribute a sale to specific marketing activity
Once key marketing indicators have been agreed, the next step is to put in place appropriate tracking systems and processes to see whether the marketing has performed. The tracking can be done as follows:
Telephone tracking is easy to implement and with sophisticated reporting a great deal of data can be captured to quickly show campaign success. Not only can telephone tracking show how different media perform, it is possible to link sales back to particular telephone calls. Furthermore, by using call recording, sales teams’ conversion rates can be monitored and suitable coaching put in place to increase the sales rate. Telephone tracking should be a basic requirement of any business that wants to see how their marketing is performing.
Email response is easier to monitor. Both inbound enquiries and responses to email marketing campaigns can be measured using hosted systems or in-house CRM. . What is important is understanding the speed of response to an inbound enquiry. The sooner a company responds to an email enquiry, the more efficient they will seem and the greater the opportunity to convert to a sale.
Often the problem with demonstration tracking is that to know the amount of demonstrations made requires human input to record the activity. The more you require individuals to record their activity, the less reliable the data. Therefore strong processes to monitor demonstrations need to be put in place.
As a basic minimum a company should use Google Analytics TM to monitor how their web site is performing. If you run an ecommerce site, you should link sales back to keywords and identify where people leave the site. Furthermore, if you are in a market where your customers are likely to use the telephone to buy your products or services, then the numbers should be dynamic website tracking numbers that allow you to see which keywords and URLs generate telephone enquiries.
Ultimately any marketing activity is designed to support and bolster sales. During and after a campaign, the sales data needs to be studied to see whether there is any uplift both with new and existing customers. Where possible this needs to be tied back to the marketing activity to show how a sale has come from an actual piece of marketing. This can be achieved by linking customer names against their telephone calls, web visits and email enquiries.
During any campaign changes can be made to marketing initiatives that are not generating enough, or the right response. By tightening up the response analysis using call tracking and web analytics, your campaign can be tweaked mid-way through to improve response rates and save thousands on wasted campaigns.
Just as marketers are taught the importance of testing new campaigns, before starting a marketing campaign, it is important to test all the measurement systems and ensure that the processes are being followed so that effective and timely data is produced. One of the key components of successfully monitoring a marketing campaign is making sure data is collated quickly and effectively both during the campaign (to allow for tactical changes) and at the end to ensure a proper review.
One of the challenges of putting in monitoring systems is that it gives companies a warts and all view of how their customers interact with their business. For instance they will be able to see how effective they are at answering the phone and responding to emails. Some of the findings can often be very depressing and companies find it difficult to face how badly they are responding to enquiries. The marketer will often discover that the campaign itself was a success but the conversion rates were poor. If this is the case it means reviewing and tightening up the sales process as any money spent on marketing is therefore being wasted. Tracking analysis can work out how much it cost to generate each lead. Take this into consideration when looking at the sales process as it will help to focus the mind onto improving response handling.
In this article I've tried to demonstrate that by implementing some simple steps it is not complicated to put in place monitoring systems to understand and control marketing effectiveness. Be prepared to be shocked by the lack of process for managing enquiries successfully. Once you have identified these problems, they can be fixed and you will be well on the way of ensuring you are not one of the 56% who have no or basic monitoring systems in place.