Is your company using the right metrics to measure marketing success? According to Rob Begg, CMO of relationship analytics platform Introhive, there are a few key metrics digital marketers should know—and several they should leave behind. The executive recently shared with us some of his top tips in maximizing digital marketing efforts.
Without a way to effectively measure results, marketers would be operating in the dark. However, Begg says clicks, likes, follows, and shares are yesterday’s news. To optimize efforts, there are three tactics Begg recommends instead.
1. Create S.M.A.R.T marketing goals
Begg underscores that marketing goals are best developed through a method called “S.M.A.R.T.” The acronym stands for:
What makes the S.M.A.R.T. method advantageous is that it is clear and concise. It outlines all the factors that a good marketing goal should have. The S.M.A.R.T. method also narrows down a specific desired marketing outcome from broader business goals. Begg stresses that business goals and marketing goals should not be the same thing.
For example, a business goal could be “increase sales through digital marketing.” It has marketing in the words, so it could be easily confused as a marketing goal. A specific marketing goal, however, is something more like “increase the organic web traffic on our blog by 20% by the end of Q4.” Those specific goals — the “S” in “S.M.A.R.T.” — need to be identified before broader business goals can be met.
Making specific goals means they are easier to measure — the “M” — too. You can measure a 20% increase in traffic, but it’s not always clear what direct impact digital marketing is making to sales. Ensuring those goals are attainable — the “A” — starts with measurement, as well. If you are only getting 100 hits a month on your website, 1 million might be out of reach in the foreseeable future.
For relevant goals — the “R” — marketers need to have a good sense of the brand. A B2B company making plans to increase connections on LinkedIn, for example, is relevant. That same company planning to drive engagement on SnapChat doesn’t make as much sense. The target audience just isn’t there.
Finally, the “T” — time — gives marketers the motivation to follow through. This still ties in with specific goals because ambiguous “get more sales” goals don’t put on the pressure. Setting a deadline gets the wheels rolling to make true action.
2. Constantly track KPIs & trends
Once goals are established, the only way to know for sure they are being met is to closely measure and monitor efforts. Key performance indicators are a critical part of this process, but the most important thing is to know which KPIs apply to your marketing goals. There are potentially endless lists of KPIs you could follow — author Bernard Marr lists 75 of them in a single LinkedIn article — so it’s critical to identify the ones that apply most directly to the marketing goals.
Begg’s marketing goal example, “increase the organic web traffic on our blog by 20% by the end of Q4,” has two KPIs to follow: previous blog traffic and future blog traffic. They’re the only KPIs relevant to that specific marketing goal, so measuring social media shares or comments wouldn’t be relevant in measuring success on that goal.
Keeping a constant eye on the web traffic for the blog can help marketers try different tactics to drive traffic. Want to find out how traffic increases for blogs on technology? Write more blogs about technology.
3. React quickly & strategically to intelligence
Once clear goals and measurements are in place, digital marketers need to use that information for the betterment of the brand. Why watch all the data if it doesn’t help make improvements? As Begg says, “It’s great to collect data but it’s always better to use it to make smart decisions.”
The constant tracking should help marketers make real time adjustments to tactics according to KPIs and goals. Back to the blog traffic goal, it should be easy to track which topics perform the best by watching traffic. Marketers could find that posting on certain days inspire more readers or that certain title wording is attractive to viewers. Consistent testing, monitoring, and measuring can help determine that.
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