6 Simple Steps to Measuring your Marketing Performance
The other day, we had a chance to meet with a talented marketer who is getting ramped up in her new CMO role. We talked about the goals the organization has for her and what she needs to be able to show results for - and we discussed her plans. One thing I asked her was about her current marketing performance measurement and how she planned to show her success.
It is impossible to track your progress without analyzing your current marketing performance. One word. Two syllables: Benchmark. If we don’t have a benchmark for what our existing performance metrics are right now, we won’t be able to know whether our goals are realistic, if our timelines are realistic, if our execution plan will generate the leads and customers that our business needs. We like to keep things simple around here, even (and especially!) when it comes to data reporting.
We measure six aspects of marketing performance that cover the entire marketing and customer journey: website performance, social media/link performance, inbound performance, marketing lead performance, sales lead performance, and customer lead performance. These six areas are short, sweet, and get straight to the point.
1. Website Performance
Websites are oftentimes the very first interaction that a prospect has with your business. You know by now that there is no special formula for creating a user experience that magically turns visitors into customers overnight (we wish there were, too.)
The closest measurement of website performance comes from analytics. Website analytics allow marketers to track results across time, better understand interests and behaviors of visitors, leads and prospects, and understand, track and improve conversions from visitors to customers.
To benchmark website performance, we suggest looking at number of sessions, brand keyword traffic (organic search referral), direct URL type-in traffic (direct traffic referral), and domain rank. These four metrics give us insights into not only how many visits came to the site, but also how users got there and what the domain rank is because of them.
2. Social Media/Link Performance
We don't have to tell you this, because you're probably incredibly aware - but social media is equivocal to an internet dinner party. Your followers interact and engage with your brand because you exchange information and thoughts about topics that they're interested in. It's a place where you're encourage to pass the bread - each time your follower engages or shares your content, it is pushing more visitors and potential customers to your website.
Thankfully, the social media platforms most widely used today have rather robust analytics reporting. Sometimes we report on metrics as deep as most popular posts, and sometimes it's as surface level as follower count. Social media performance tracking is fun because you can customize your reporting based on your organization's expectations and the metrics they value most.
Generally, it's important to note followers, interactions (retweets, shares, or likes), inbound traffic from social media, comments, inbound links from other websites, and referral traffic.
3. Inbound Performance
Outbound is out and inbound is in. In marketing today, we're seeing a massive shift towards creating content that attracts customers to your brand rather than traditional outbound methods, like cold calling.
Some of the clients that we work with are content-creating machines and they publish e-magazines, guides, and e-books monthly. Others are attracting customers through other digital means. Even if you don't have content offers, you're probably producing valuable information on your business' blog and dispersing it to emails that you've captured.
Your reporting can be as big as your content creation and can track as many variables as you deem necessary. For all sizes of inbound marketing programs, it's best to measure unqualified leads, email subscribers, website visit to lead capture conversion, and average time to convert lead to marketing qualified lead.
4. Marketing Lead Performance
Now, the visitor has converted on inbound content (be it a website popup or a tool download) and interacted with the brand enough to be considered a marketing qualified lead (MQL.) The lead qualifications and score that each business determines for their funnels may vary, so different metrics might be present.
Typically, it's vital to know the number of MQL's currently in the funnel, number of "hot" MQLs (those that have engaged in the last 14 days to become an MQL), percentage of MQLs contacted by sales in 24 hours, and percentage of MQLs that turn into opportunities.
5. Sales Lead Performance
We all know that sales qualified leads are worth their weight in gold to a business, which is why it's so important to track the metrics associated with them. Depending on what your execs want to see, there are so many ways to determine how these soon-to-be-customers are performing.
We suggest noting the number of SQL opportunities from campaigns, average dollar value per opportunity, percentage of upsell, average days to close and the highest converting channel. These metrics give a thorough overview of the opportunities present to your business and gives you an idea of how long it takes someone to become a customer.
6. Customer Performance
It's a lot less expensive to keep a customer than to acquire a new one. We've all heard "make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and one is gold." We like both silver and gold, but they serve different purposes. Keeping on top of how your current customers are interacting with your brand is of utmost importance. Even with your efforts to attract new work, you always want to keep these relationships in your back pocket because they've paid big in the past.
Sales CRMs are great at tracking the benchmarks for this group of metrics. We track number of new customers who have paid, number of customer upsells or renewals, customers visiting the website, number of customer support calls, and number of referrals from customers.
Benchmarks are not a one-and-done number, they're constantly changing in order to keep marketing goals realistic and obtainable. To exceed growth, you should be updating your benchmarks quarterly, if not monthly, so that you always have an understanding of current performance. We're competitive people, as many in marketing and technology are, so we view these benchmarks as thresholds to exceed in the upcoming quarter.
So - you talented marketer, you - hopefully you can see the difference between benchmarks and analytics. Benchmarks cover the entire customer journey from visitors on the website, to inbound leads, marketing qualified leads, sales leads, and customers. These are six measures of marketing performance that every CMO should be tracking, including you.