Marketing is Measurement

The digital marketer has a smorgasbord of metrics to choose from. But successful measurement is more complicated than pulling up a few numbers. Successful measurement means knowing how—and when—to use those stats as well as digging deeper to uncover actionable, bottom line results.

1. Measure

The first step toward successful measurement is getting—and understanding—the data. Track email renders and click throughs, opt-ins, forwards. Figure out Web metrics as well, such as impressions and downloads. And keep an eye on server data: monitor CPU load so that your server doesn’t bog down in the middle of a big marketing promotion.

2. Refine

Once you have the basic metrics in place, use and refine the data. Don’t just track email renders, take a look at conversions. That may mean a purchase or conference signup. Conversions are your bottom line metric — if they go up, the bottom line should see improvement. Figure out your abandonment rate. Look at reach versus frequency. A campaign with low net reach but high frequency can over-expose some audience groups and miss others entirely. Think about advocacy and awareness — are you reaching more potential customers or telling existing subscribers about more products, services or news. For social media marketing efforts, you may want to look at share of voice, the “conversation index” of your product or brand. B2C marketers will want to assess your market share and compare it to that of your primary competitors.

3. Standardize

It’s difficult to understand your marketing data let alone make it actionable if that data isn’t standardized. If you can’t compare apples to apples, then metrics quickly unravel. That’s why we are proponents and proud adopters of the new set of email marketing measurement standards called the Support Adoption of Metrics for Email (SAME). Email Transmit was one of the first two ESP’s to adopt the new metrics standards.

As you begin to compare results across media, it becomes important to standardize the bottom line reporting metrics as well, such as cost-per-conversion, cost-per-click or cost-per-point.

4. Prioritize

Don’t wait to measure, and don’t wait to review your metrics. Part of good measurement is figuring out what data you need, what are the vital metrics.

5. Make it Fast and Frequent

Your core measurement metrics should be easy to access and benchmark, so that you can track results continually to revise your current campaign or build the next one.

5. Use It or Lose It

The data you collect and metrics you put in place need to be actionable. Track results and apply what you’ve learned. Those metrics are a compass for today’s marketing campaigns and a guidepost for tomorrow’s plans. The future of your brand may hinge on how well you understand metrics and how you translate that knowledge into opportunities. As Farris, Bendle, Pfeifer and Reibstein write in Marketing Metrics, “Marketers must understand their addressable markets quantitatively. They must measure new opportunities and the investment needed to realize them.”

Measurement should tell you about your brand, product and audience. It is a yardstick and a guidebook. There are a lot of metrics out there. Using them correctly is what marketing is all about.