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You Ask, I Answer_ Intermediary Marketing Communications Metrics

Lou asks, “We’re executing a 3 month marketing communications program. Typically, such programs take 3-6 months to show end results, but we’ve been asked for metrics for a 1-3 month time frame. What metrics should we be using?”

This is a tricky situation. If the work you do generates only binary outcomes that appear at 100 days, then there isn’t much you can do. However, if it’s like growing a plant, you should be able to demonstrate that the seed has sprouted, the fledgling plants are growing a little, etc.

What are some of those intermediary growth metrics?

  • Social media mentions and engagements
  • Branded organic searches
  • Survey responses of awareness and intent to purchase
  • Media placements
  • Users and sessions on owned media
  • NPS/sentiment scores

Consider a dashboard system like Google Data Studio to put these metrics together.

Probably the most important thing is not the metrics, but establishing the mental framework for stakeholders to understand that, like growing a garden, there’s only so much you can do to hurry the process. Even the most advanced hydroponics, genetic engineering, and chemistry can accelerate growth only so far. No crop appears overnight.

You Ask, I Answer: Intermediary Marketing Communications Metrics

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Machine-Generated Transcript

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In today’s episode, Lou asks, we’re executing a three month marketing communications program. Typically, such programs take three to six months to show good net results to show and results. But we’ve been asked by stakeholders from metrics for a 123 month timeframe, what metrics or KPIs could we be using to demonstrate success or hints of success. This is a tricky situation, if, if the work that you’re doing has only a binary outcome, then there isn’t much you can do. And by that, I mean, for example, if you are supporting someone who is running for office,

there’s a binary outcome, right, either elected or not elected. However, most communications programs, most marketing communications programs do not have binary outcomes in they have an end success state, perhaps. But most of the time, the air, they are more like growing your garden, right. So you plant your seeds, your water room, you weed the garden, and so on, so forth. And over time, the seed sprouts and, you know, you get these little plants that start growing, and they get bigger. And pretty soon, you’re like, Oh, look, that’s, you know, an entire stock of corn, or whatever the case may be. And we can measure that growth, even though the outcome isn’t usable yet, right. So just because corn stock has gotten tall doesn’t mean that there’s an edible seed pod at the end of it yet,

but we can at least say, Hey, we’re on the right track, here’s the thing is growing, it’s the right color, it didn’t turn yellow, and fall over things like that. The same is true of a communications program where you can say, okay, we’re doing, we’re doing the things right, we’re watering, where we eating, etc.

And we’re getting growth out of the program. It’s an not where we want it to be yet. So the first thing that you need to do with any kind of metrics program is established what the end goals are, what is what did we told stakeholders, hey, this is what we’re going to do, we’re going to increase purchase consideration 5%, or we’re going to increase organic search brand through organic search by by 12% in whatever the time frame is, and then start measuring what are contributory metrics to those things. So if we’ve made a promise for say NPS score being up three points, NPS Net Promoter Score, which is a function of sentiment. So we should be analyzing all the different intakes inputs into our communications program comments and articles and things for overall sentiment using the sentiment library of your choice and be helped identify, yes, we’re increasing sentiment on individual pieces of commentary and content and things over time to help persuade people to rate you rate of our brand more highly.

If our goal is lead form fills this as part of the marketing function, then are we getting, you know, one of the most important things there would be getting traffic to those landing pages that have the forums on them. So can we demonstrate that the intermediary step, we’re getting the traffic to those landing pages, and then is up to people to obviously fill out just understand the see the value in and fill out the form. And then what are the things that generate traffic. So we get social media mentions to the landing page, and so on, so forth. So whatever the goal is, we want to sequence backwards, the intermediary and the contributory metrics that lead to those end state goals. And like any classic marketing, funnel, marketing operations funnel, we should be able to show Okay, we’re not we haven’t created any activity at the bottom funding it but we’ve gotten stuff started at the top of the funnel, and some of it will eventually get to the bottom in the three to six to nine month time for you. One of the things we want to avoid doing as a metric is we want to avoid activity metrics there, they’re unhelpful, because you can talk about, for example, how many times you’ve watered the garden or we did the garden. But if you forgot to plant the seeds, all the activity doesn’t mean anything is you’re not going to get a result. So you want to show metrics that are contributory to the the end result that are causal. So the end result? What are some other intermediary growth metrics? Well, for communications, we’re talking about things like social media mentions and engagements we’re talking about brand organic search when people search for your you by name, or by search for your products, or services by name, or your individual brands. If you’re a larger Corporation, survey responses are super important, especially in b2c be able to demonstrate awareness and intent to purchase rhyming surveys are relatively inexpensive, and a good way, as long as they’re sampled properly and representative of your target population, you say, yeah, we’re, we’re, we’re moving the needle in awareness of the brand and intention to purchase the brand. If you’re doing traditional public relations, media placements, is an outcome that is worth pointing out. And then all the contributory metrics that go around a media placement, like the number of social shares, so the search value or the number of clicks on it, so on and so forth. For owned media, like a website, or landing pages, or micro sites, being able to show user growth session growth interactions, the amount of it, there’s a large body of content, it’s time on page if there is it a funnel to get people moving around, it’s, it’s lowering your exit rates, things like that. And then if you’re doing stuff around sentiment and service, NPS Net Promoter Score, sentiment scores, sentiment in engagements that lead to those Net Promoter scores. All these things are ways to to demonstrate intermediary metrics, the bigger challenge is to determine which ones are relevant based on the end goal of the program, which we talked about earlier, and then visualizing them for stakeholders to be able to say up things are going our way, I would recommend with a lot of the digital metrics that you look at a dashboard system like Google Data Studio egg, because it’s free. And be because it ties into many of the systems like Google Analytics, like Google consumer surveys, like Google Search Console, that you can bring in these metrics, and assemble a nice looking dashboard that is a nice summary level of all your metrics, and then be able to, to let somebody else you know, change the date and change the filters and things and let them poke around and feel like they have control of the reporting that will make them feel much better than waiting for you to report to them dashboard and software like that is super important. So the final thing I would say is that helping them understand the analogy of like cooking or better like growing a garden is an important mental framework for this kind of thing. Yes, you can demonstrate

intermediary metrics. But if someone’s saying I want the end outcome faster. Okay, guess what, there’s only so much you could do in the world of gardening with genetic engineering and hydroponics and advanced chemistry, there’s still only so much we can do to accelerate the growth of a plant time still has to pass the natural process still, how to pass the past there’s no food crop that I know of that instantly appears overnight,

even things that we’re doing now, scientifically that cloning meet still takes time to grow those cells. So helping stakeholders understand Yes, we can show you contributory intermediary metrics and here they are. But understand the end outcome you want still will take time and there’s only so much we can do to hurry that up there’s there’s simply no way to make it instant if you want instant traffic or whatever, you should have bought some ads instead. And you should we should have spent millions of dollars it overnight to buy some ads. That would be a slightly faster way to get to that end result. So great question. complicated question. It requires understanding on the part of your stakeholders in order to make it work but hopefully these intermediary metrics and and ideas about dashboard and help as always, if you have comments or questions, leave them in the in the comments box. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel and the newsletter I’ll talk to you soon. Take care

if you want help with your company’s data and analytics visit Trust Insights calm today and let us know how we can help you

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