Too often marketing analytics “analysis” takes the form of scorecards or giant tables filled with impressions, clicks, cost and cost per click (CPC) metrics with maybe some social shares thrown in. At Mason Digital we preach marketers should only measure what matters. Sounds good, right? You might ask, “What actually matters?” Simple, all the things that indicate we are achieving the actual goal of a campaign. What is that goal? Hint: it isn’t clicks or impressions.
A business’s goal is simple, to make money. That is, in the end, our goal too. Marketers connect a business with potential buyers. We reach the right audiences and send them messages that inform, delight, persuade and drive them toward a sale. Sometimes what we are doing is overt – “buy this now.” Sometimes it is softer – “we won an award” or “we are here just in case, someday, you need us.” Ultimately the goal is the same, we want people to know we exist so they buy stuff.
We talk a lot about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in marketing. A KPI is always an action that we can measure. Too often that boils down to clicks or click-through rate (CTR). A KPI is an indicator of success and because marketers aren’t always the ones responsible for the final sale (that’s sales/operations) we need to measure the things that indicate the people we are connecting with are the right ones. That they show an intent to achieve the all important goal. That is a KPI worth measuring. It is not CTR or CPC.
For online marketing, true KPIs can be the submission of a form on a website, phone call made through a trackable number, a physical store visit tracked in Google Ads and so on. These are business KPIs that tell us we were able to lead a horse to water, it was thirsty, and it was ready to take a drink. Measuring those types of actions are what matters. The story we should be telling is how we drove those actions, what worked and what didn’t work.
When marketers talk to business owners or the C-Suite about CTR, CPC, view-through rates and other digital marketing metrics, we are telling them about marketing KPIs. These are the indicators that we can manipulate to deliver better business KPIs. They tell us if we are leading the horses efficiently or not. That part of the story is not what matters to business leaders because it doesn’t translate directly to business objectives.
If you are a business leader looking at mountains of marketing metrics you aren’t being served properly and you certainly shouldn’t be asking for more of this data. If you are a marketer building these reports, stop and rethink what you are doing. We aren’t being tasked with getting a great CTR or delivering the most impressions possible. That is not the goal.
What matters, what should be measured, are all the things that indicate the potential customers sent by marketing are the ones ready to spend money, not the ones most likely to click an ad, visit a site or like a Facebook page. Measure and report on the KPIs that are directly aligned with sales to determine success. Measure and manipulate marketing KPIs to make that success happen.