As a start-up, how do you decide whether or not your marketing strategy is actually “working”? Reviewing sources of your sales and new business as well as KPIs of your campaigns allows you to see what works and what doesn’t to an extent, but what are the specific metrics that should be consistently reviewed to maximise your marketing success?
For some practical insights and to assist with your marketing measurements, we caught up with Cheryl Crichton; Strategic Marketing Consultant at Solid Sources. Cheryl has been an independent adviser and marketing delivery expert since 2006.
So Cheryl, are there five key pieces of wisdom that you can share specifically for those looking to effectively measure their marketing strategies?
I think it’s best to consider metrics and measurement from the outset. It should be a line on your marketing strategy, activity or project brief.
What does success look like? Think about what a great outcome from undertaking your marketing activity would look like.
Is it actually the number of widgets you sell or hours of your time that gets bought, or can you set some metrics around the number of hits on your website for example? Or, the number of comments on your blog, or the downloads or your case study or subscriptions to your newsletter? It’s not always about sales, but just as importantly, about how all this activity contributes to getting your buyer a step closer to a sale. That’s what you also need to measure.
In addition, measuring the success (or failure) is all good learning. Just because something didn’t work doesn’t mean it doesn’t work – it just might be the wrong kind of marketing at the wrong step of the customer’s buying journey. ‘Test, measure and adjust’ is definitely the order of the day – so don’t necessarily give up on a bum campaign.
Ultimately, you must be realistic about what ‘success’ is achievable with the budget and resources you have… Aim high but not too high – the more resources and budget you have, the more results you can aim for.
Tip: Have a think about what activity you are planning against logical steps in a buyer’s journey, like from Awareness, Interest and Trial through to Loyalty and gauge if the activity you are planning helps a buyer move from one step to the next or not.
Your people are also great assets and can all help towards the marketing effort. Have a think about setting them some metrics too – how many handshakes or follow-ups they achieve from a networking event for example. League tables can be fun!
Tip: Review your entire team’s perception of the marketing activity you do and see if they feel they contribute or not, or can contribute in any way (and not just your marketing team – other staff and third parties too). They may be the hidden sales and marketing champion you didn’t know you had.
When setting metrics, people often think about setting big numbers to demonstrate success – targets, goals and quotas etc. But what if success meant a smaller number of something?
A client of mine was getting so many time-wasting calls it was costing him time, energy and money. So, we devised some online activity that helped reduced those time-wasting calls and the phone simply stopped ringing. A bit of a panic moment, but in fact what we achieved was a reduction in the number of time-wasting calls leaving only better quality calls coming in. Less was more.
Tip: Think small as well as big when setting metrics.
Numbers are important and we all want to see big ones when it comes to sales. But it really isn’t always about the numbers or the results/analytics.
Sometimes I don’t even pay any attention to the numbers. For example, if you send out a newsletter and are worried that your open rate was low, fret not. I get lots of email newsletters and read many of them in preview mode without even opening them, so they don’t even show up in the reporting. I’ve still read and digested the content, and it’s gone into my consciousness, so the piece has done its job. I’m just not a line on someone’s stats.
Tip: Interpret certain results with a pinch of salt. Include other factors in your analysis, like the kind of conversations you are getting (on and offline) around the content you’re posting. Does it have a positive reaction, and are people remembering and mentioning it? Then it’s working.
And finally, there’s no point in setting any metrics until you are absolutely sure you have the right kind of marketing in place to attract the customers you want to work with.
When business is slow, it’s tempting to say yes to work you’re not so keen on, but at Watertight Marketing, where I am licenced, we have a framework that explores this notion. It’s called The Purpose Profit Matrix. In turn, it will help you say no to the wrong kind of work. So, no metrics need setting there at all aye?
Tip: Ask yourself ‘Do your customers energise your business?’. If the answer is no, then maybe re-think your marketing strategy because you may be attracting the wrong kind of customers.
Thanks so much for sharing, Cheryl!
© Watertight Marketing Ltd. The key concepts, frameworks, illustrations, and structure of Watertight Marketing as used by Cheryl remain the intellectual property of Watertight Marketing and are used with permission and under license. Cheryl has been a licenced practitioner at Watertight Marketing since 2014.