Data & Intelligence June 13, 2018
Excuses to avoid measuring
During an introduction my one-liner is always “I like creativity, but if we don’t measure results, it’s just an expensive hobby.” Usually this comment puts a smile on people’s faces. It’s a nice icebreaker, but like most ‘jokes’, there’s truth in them.
I work at an agency where creativity, in its broadest sense, is crucial. Creating interesting content and inspirational campaigns is what we live for. As a client you’re investing in this creativity. It’s a means to achieve something, not an end in itself – because then it would be more of a hobby. To me it’s simply normal to analyse what results an investment yields.
Often enough, all kinds of “ifs” and “buts” are thrown my way, as a way of skipping out on proper measurement. Putting content live and merely thinking “we’ll see”, doesn’t do it for me. That’s why I’ve made a list of the three excuses I hear most frequently and will show you how you can easily deal with them.
Excuse #1: We have no solid conversion goal
This is a usual suspect, especially in the business services sector. Of course, you don’t have a webshop so your sales can’t be directly linked to your online marketing activities. If this is the case, go for the next best thing: what is the most desired action you want your prospects to perform online? Usually this is the step that precedes the moment that an account manager would contact the lead. Think of download requests or contact requests. It’s fine to see this as a conversion in this stage and periodically compare it with the number of new customers.
Excuse #2: It’s only about awareness
This is a variation on excuse number one and I am not a fan of it. I prefer a concrete objective, but I do understand that heavy lead generation can’t be the goal of every campaign. It is important to be visible at the top of your funnel. You cannot convert people here yet because they don’t know you well enough. Or they are simply not ready to get into action.
In this case, choose relevant metrics instead of just looking at impressions and clicks. Think of effective reach: how many people within your target audience are actually seeing your content? This prevents shooting for everyone with no real aim. How about engagement: this indicates how interesting or relevant people think your content is. What behaviour do people display in relation to your content? Do they stay on your website for a long time and do they share it on social media? This is a sign that your content is of high quality, because it matches the needs and expectations of your audience.
However, it doesn’t stop here. You have to determine which criteria your prospect must meet before they move to the next phase in your marketing funnel. See this as the ‘soft’ conversion from your awareness phase to interest phase. This could, for example, be a repeat visit or subscription to your newsletter.
Excuse #3: Our customer journey is very complex
Without a doubt your customer journey is complex. A purchase process is rarely a clear defined route. In business-to-business, there are usually several stakeholders involved as well. Each with their own desires and needs. Good measurement of all behaviour in each step of the journey is complex. However, that is not a reason to just not measure at all.
In these cases it is very worthwhile to use a marketing automation tool. With it, you can provide prospects the right information, at the right time, through the right channel. It makes it really easy to align the content that you want to present, be it online or offline, with the behaviour of your prospects throughout the journey.
The best part is that it enables you to track performance on an individual level. You can exactly see who visited what web page, downloaded which content, visited which event, read which newsletter, et cetera. You know exactly which leads need more ‘nurturing’ and which are sales ready. With these insights you’re able to optimise your content. And your company’s account managers will thank you.
Measuring is not difficult
Many people quickly get confused when it comes to numbers. But measuring the performance of your content is not complicated at all. With Google Analytics you can easily monitor the behaviour of visitors on your website. Which articles are they reading fully? Which pages do they bounce on mostly? If you also use UTM codes, you will see exactly via which social media updates people have come to your website. In addition, social platforms also offer a lot of analytics. The best way to keep an eye on these numbers is to combine them in a real time dashboard. Stick your goals and targets next to them and you’ll always know exactly how well you’re on your way.
Making beautiful things is, of course, great but if you’re able to prove that it also delivers the desired results you can be even more proud of yourself. And you can get back at your real hobbies in no time.