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Marketing is about measuring

Bigstock_Home_Repairs_344034Okay, I will admit that one of the reasons I majored in journalism and psych was because they didn't involve math.  I don't like math one bit.  

But…if there's one thing I've learned in almost 20 years of owning and running a marketing agency -- math matters.  Actually, not all math matters, but measuring matters.

The idea of measuring marketing efforts or ROI is becoming widely accepted as a necessary business practice, but truth be told -- few do it well or consistently.

I think the reasons are pretty straightforward.

We don't know what to measure:  Believe it or not, many businesses aren't sure exactly what results or responses equate to business success.  Sure, it's easy to measure gross sales.  And that's the yardstick most businesses use to gauge their efforts.

But is a $5 million company successful?  The quick response is -- well, heck yes.  But if their costs of goods sold is $5.3 million, the answer is a big fat no.

Sales, profits etc. are pretty self explanatory.  But should a company be measuring percentage of repeat business?  Retention of key employees?  

For measurement to be effective, it has to align directly with the measurable objectives that you’ve set. (You've done that, right?) Those measurable objectives should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time specific (following the SMART methodology), and directly correlate to your organization’s big-picture goals.

If you haven't defined success -- it's pretty tough to measure how close you are to achieving it.

We don't consistently measure:  Another mistake many businesses make is that they talk up a big game in terms of benchmarking or tracking but in practice, they are sloppy, inconsistent or they get out of the gate going strong but three months into the effort, they get busy and all of a sudden, the metrics stop being gathered.  

Why?  Because it's not as important as ______.  Doesn't matter what you fill in the blank with -- if measuring your efforts isn't valued at your organization, you will not do it consistently or well.

We measure in silos:  Effective measurement rarely sits within the confines of a single metric, but rather in a combination of metrics that helps illustrate progress toward a goal. For example, website visits or the number of Facebook fans you have as stand alone data doesn't tell you much of value. Metrics gain meaning when they’re woven together to help you gain insights, not just excel chart fodder.

Odds are, no single marketing effort stands on its own.  If you're doing it right, they are constantly cross promoting and connecting to each other.  Your blog should encourage newsletter sign ups.  Your presentations should include a white paper download offer.  Your print ads should have a QR code that links to a YouTube video, demoing your product.

So don't just measure one thing.  Measure in bundles so you can see how your inter-related tactics are or are not working.

If you want to create effective marketing and you want to be able to document and defend your budget and how it is serving your organization - you'll need to make a commitment to measure what matters. 

Which of course requires you to:

  • Know what matters (match measurement metrics to organizational goals)
  • Measure every day (consistently measure to set your benchmark and truly monitor progress)
  • Measure in bundles (by measuring a blend of metrics -- you will see patterns, trends and upcoming opportunities)

So break out your calculator and get counting!

~ Drew

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