Our mantra here at Top Draw is “Creative Solutions, Measured Results”. Why the focus on measuring results? Because all marketing works.
Marketing initiatives take many forms—billboards, a direct mail drop, Google Adwords, a website, Twitter, Facebook, a new logo, business cards under windshield wipers, email, flyers… and it all works – to some extent. The question is, “What works best?” No matter how well-planned the strategy or experienced the consultant, it’s extremely difficult to predict the success of any marketing campaign or decision. Should the logo be green or blue? Four local TV commercials, or one broadcast nationally? There are no easy answers to these questions, and exceptions abound.
Marketers are Wrong
This hurts my ego to admit, but I’m wrong a lot. Even in my areas of expertise, I choose the wrong keywords, the wrong layout, make mountains out of molehills, and put all my chips in the wrong hand. At least I’m not alone. EVERYONE makes mistakes in marketing. The key to success is knowing what is working, how much is working, and knowing when things have failed. Without a close eye on results, marketing efforts are working off an imperfect model and mistakes will be repeated time and time again.
Results that Matter
Almost as tragic as not measuring results is when marketers choose the wrong metrics for reporting. Think about your business and what you need. Ideally, you can track your marketing activities down to each sale. I say “ideally”, because in practice I’ve only found about 2% of the hundreds of companies I meet each year are inclined, or able to measure to this degree. But it’s incredibly powerful. The companies that do measure marketing effectiveness accurately have total control over their destiny. They reinvest in tried and understood activities. They take measured risks to experiment with new activities and know very quickly whether they worked or not. These companies have turned their marketing departments into money multipliers. For every dollar in, they’re getting a lot more out. And they’re getting smarter along the way.
Leads in, Revenue out?
If you can’t measure sales with direct marketing attribution, you have to measure milestone steps on the way to the sale. The closer to the sale, the cleaner and more accurate the measurement. Leads are a common measurement for B2B companies and B2C companies that have more complex products or services. Although lead quality can be very tough to nail down, it is essential in this process. To know that “each new qualified lead is worth $232 of end revenue” places priority on how to treat leads and emphasizes the importance of bringing in new leads.
Measuring the step before a lead is extremely difficult because of the number of external, untrackable variables. While it may take an afternoon’s work to determine the average value of a lead, how do you measure the value of a TV spot impression, a Facebook fan, blog comment, or an ad in a print magazine? You need more information to be able to link the two together. Somehow, the ambiguous metrics need to tie into business-relative metrics so that you can understand how they relate. Very few companies can truly quantify the value of something like a Facebook fan, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try.
How to Measure a Website
This brings us back to a favorite question of ours, “What makes a website great?” A great website is not the design, the contrast of colors, interactivity or the flashy intro. A great website makes the phone ring, prompts prospects to request more information, urges potential employees to contact you, and drives your company forward. It does what you need it to do for your business. If you can’t measure these factors, you’ll never know if it’s working.
As a sales and marketing guru, Adriel brings reality to the table when it comes to marketing and knows how it works with business. (He should be one of the guys on Dragon’s Den.)