Just kidding – no listicle here. But didn’t you like my clickbaity headline? Now that I’ve got your attention, I’ll point out the now obvious: that there are countless metrics you can track. You can track X, Y, and Z, but are they really driving your business forward? You can measure clicks and downloads, but who’s actually converting? Are the people doing X, Y, and Z turning into real customers? If you’re going for quantity over quality, then go for your life. But if you want real quality and a long-term relationship with your customers, it’s really about extracting insights to build that rapport.
With the exponential – infinite! – growth of data, there are an equally infinite number of metrics to track. But all too often, marketeers fall into the trap of tracking what we know versus what we don’t know; for example, we can determine “We’ve got 100 leads this month”, or “We’ve got a click-through rate of 4.5 per cent”, but so what? What did that actually provide to the business? Is knowing these factors actually going to put the proverbial food on the table?
The 80/20 rule
In marketing, the 80/20 rule is often prevalent. Take, for example, the 20 per cent open rate for an email. This might make some marketing teams jump for joy. But what about the 80 per cent who didn’t open it? Why did they not connect? Was that the right channel? Is that the right medium? That is where marketing needs to focus its energy.
Anybody can provide a report to say “Great! We sent out an email blast – woohoo!” But where are the insights? How can we better connect – and embrace that approach for next time? We need to look at what we’re learning each time we do something – that’s really the key. If we’re not learning from these activities, we’re simply doing the same thing over and over again and hoping the results will somehow change.
We could say the same of events, registrations, sponsorships, and advertising – the usual suspects of B2B and B2C marketing. But no matter what kind of marketing it is, ultimately, it’s still person-to-person marketing. You’re still targeting a human being that has needs, wants, likes, and dislikes.
At a management level, this starts with being accountable. ROI is not going to go away, so embrace it. Set goals around it – goals that are aligned throughout the business.
In driving this behaviour of accountability, you want to make sure that your marketing team still has autonomy and remains creative but uses that flexibility to better drive outcomes.
For marketing, this comes back to asking the why and the how: why are we doing this, and how can we measure it? And if certain activities can’t be measured, know that from the outset, and that’s OK.
Extracting insights, building rapport
So, how do you extract these all-important insights? Before you embark on a given marketing activity, you need to define what success looks like for that activity. Establish a benchmark based on past experiences and industry research. If it’s the first time you’re embarking on an activity, set yourself a goal, and as you progress, aim for continual improvement. But remember what I said before: make tweaks; don’t just do the same thing over and over again. Evolve.
A method to the marketing metrics madness
So no, there are no “set” 10 things you must track. But within your organisation, get a handle on what works for B2B and B2C. Then, for each unique circumstance, agree on a base set of metrics and evolve as the data starts coming through. Ultimately, you have to track based on what’s good for the business – not just what’s going to make the marketing team look good.