You Ask, I Answer: Measuring the Effectiveness of Marketing?

Stephen asks, “What data points speak to the effectiveness of marketing? In a dashboard published to senior management the last pages of the pdf were dedicated to marketing data. It was visitors to the website, impressions from paid media, Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, and another data point or two that to me put an undue burden on the reader. Any ideas on data that tells a story about the effectiveness (or at least influence) of marketing?”

Fundamentally, it depends on marketing’s goal. Is it sales? Is it new customers? Is it revenue? This is why KPI mapping is so essential as an exercise. What’s the core outcome? Then run a multiple regression analysis to determine what other metrics correlate to that goal, then set up tests to prove causality.

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In today’s episode Steven asks what data points speak to the effectiveness of marketing and a dashboard published a senior management here, the last pages of the PDF we’re dedicated to marketing data was visitors to the website impressions from paid media, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, etc.

and it put an undue burden on the reader who had no clue how to do that translation any ideas on data that tells a story about the effectiveness or influence of marketing? So really good question because we see a lot of this in marketing reporting and analytics where people to sort of back the truck up, pour the data on the desk, and and make a huge mess of things.

Avinash Kaushik calls it data puking, who got whatever you want.

It’s not a good.

Fundamentally, telling the story of marketing means telling the story of business impact and business impact for the most part for most organizations, most of the time.

It’s going to be about revenue.

It’s going to be about can we add dollars to the bottom line in some fashion either directly or as part of process marketing in many b2b organizations is all about feeding sales, feeding the sales team giving them leads.

Glenn Glengarry Glen Ross, you know we need more leads, stuff, the leads are weak.

And in a b2c company, it can be actually just getting customers in the door, right? It can be actual purchases, it can be people signing up for a tour, it can be people requesting a brochure, but whatever it is, there’s got to be a core business level goal that marketing is helping to serve.

Again, most of the time customers revenue, sales, all that stuff.

So this is why one of the first things that every marketer needs to do is to Part of the strategic planning is what’s called KPI mapping, key performance indicator mapping, that it reminded the definition of key performance indicators that if it doesn’t get you, it gets you fired or a bonus.

It’s a KPI.

And that’s the starting point to figure out what is the impact of marketing.

So take the overall organization goal, the overall goal, probably revenue in some fashion.

From there, what number or numbers directly feed revenue? Maybe it’s open deals.

For example, in a b2b company, it might be shopping carts in an e commerce company, it might be admission requests or admission applications at a college right but there’s got to be something that leads to that, that revenue in a number and then from there, what number leads to that? And from there, what memories that new actually starting to build that story of that chain of evidence that leads to the business outcome you can About once you’ve done the basic exercise and you’ve gotten to a KPI that marketing is directly responsible for so let’s say in a higher education institution, for example, if applications are to applying to that college or university are the major goal, then what can marketing see of that? Does marketing actually see those applications? Does marketing have access to the data on the website for people downloading the applications? Maybe we’re filling them out online.

If so, there’s your KPI.

The next step is take all that other marketing data that you mentioned, paid media impressions, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, visitors to the website, email sent and all this stuff, and run what’s called a regression analysis to determine what is the mathematical relationship of all these metrics.

To the KPI, right.

So if we’re saying, I’m going to keep going with the higher education analogy, if we’re saying that applications, which really is like, sales, right? It’s a contract essentially, applications is your KPI.

Then what of all those numbers has a mathematical relationship to applications? And if it turns out none of them, then guess what? We don’t need any of them.

In our reporting, we just focus on the KPI.

If, on the other hand, it turns out there is a mathematical relationship between say, Facebook engagements and likes, tweets and views on YouTube.

And that relationship is statistically relevant.

You now have a testing plan, right? Let’s go with YouTube views.

If it’s a higher education institution, and there’s a views of the of the campus tour videos online, great Now what happens if you increase views? Do you see a corresponding increase in applications if you’ve, if you’ve established this correlation, you now have to prove the causation through testing.

And then once you’ve done that, and you’ve proven that there is a relationship and the relationship is causal in nature, then fundamentally what you end up with is a KPI.

And one, two, maybe three metrics that have the strongest relationship that you’ve proven to that and that’s the number that you tell in the story.

That’s the number those are the numbers that go in your dashboard.

Because you know that they they translate to your KPI and your KPI translates to business impact.

Maybe as email subscribers, maybe it’s email, open rate.

You’ve got all this data.

But which of it matters.

That’s how you build a story.

Because a story is fundamentally nothing more than in many cases, sort of a beginning, middle and end recounting of what happened in a way that has a logical coherence to it.

And it’s it was a very exciting story.

But that’s a story.

And so if you can sequence out those numbers and discard all the ones that don’t contribute to that story that are not relevant to that story, you will be able to have a, if not compelling, at least a a meaningful and useful story about the effectiveness of marketing, but requires you to gather all that data and do that analysis.

That’s the way that I would approach any situation where you’ve got somebody who’s putting data on your desk, and you want to make sense of it.

Do the KPI mapping, do the regression analysis, do this testing to prove it and then remove and went out everything that doesn’t belong.

There is You don’t have the data, then you have to do your your, your best with what you’ve got, right? So if you only have certain data points, you can repeat the exercises as much as you can.

If you don’t have control over the data itself, like if you don’t work in marketing, and you’re just curious, then you got to collaborate, got to work with a team that is responsible for the data and responsible for making the data happen in order to be able to, to really create a good story.

So it’s a good question.

It sounds easy.

It’s It’s simple.

It’s not easy.

I think that’s an important point.

It’s, it’s very simple to do.

It’s not easy to do.

It will take a lot of time, it will take a lot of effort.

But once you do it, and you get good at it, you get really good at boiling down all the data.

That’s only the stuff that matters, then focusing your efforts on that.

And that’s the point of something like an exercise like this not only to be able to tell the story better, but then to focus your efforts in such a way You’re expanding your resources on things that really matter.

So really good question, important question.

I hope that this was helpful.

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I’ve got a follow up questions leave them in the comments box below.

I’ll talk to you soon take care what help solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems.

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