Measuring & Tracking Success
How-to Write a Strategic Marketing Plan that Yields ROI • Part 9 of 9
Measurements are one of the key pillars of a good marketing plan. It removes personal biases and provides a very clear indication of whether or not you’re succeeding. Measurements are the most unbiased, tangible way to ensure that you’re aligned with your goals. This holds the marketing team accountable so that they’re not caught up in vanity metrics.
Vanity metrics are metrics that sound great but don’t contribute to achieving your end goal. Individuals with vested interest in the campaign get easily caught up in vanity metrics. That is why it’s important to indicate the key goals before diving into the campaign. Goals for this campaign may be a vanity metric in another campaign, it depends on the annual goals.
Let’s say the goal is fundraising: the goal was to raise $100,000 and the campaign received $500,000 in media attention and coverage on various mediums but only raised $50,000, it is safe to say that we did not meet our goal and the campaign was not successful. It sounds like efforts were made to gain exposure rather than converting engaged individuals to donors. It’s fantastic that there was media exposure, but that is ultimately a vanity metric.
There is a wide variety of tracking tools at your disposal. There are many types of online tools to track your customer’s path all the way to the conversion. It’s easy to get caught up in all the options, but if you’re working on a limited budget all you need are the tools that track your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). If you do have the budget, there is no such thing as too many stats. Here are some of the most well-known avenues of measurement:
- Website Analytics – These help track the traffic, behaviours and demographics on your website. Most well-known is Google Analytics.
- URL Tracking – These are unique URLs that you create to put on your campaign materials to help you measure the engagement of your campaign.
- Call Tracking – These are unique phone numbers you create to put on your campaign materials to help you measure the engagement of your campaign.
- Social Tracking – these show a variety of statistics depending on the social medium, but generally they can be spread across Reach and Rich measurements.
- Marketing Automation – these sophisticated tracking tools are expensive but greatly useful. It helps you track your newsletter or email campaigns.
KPI (Key Performance Indicators)
KPI (Key Performance Indicators) as the name suggests are measurements we track that help us know how we’re performing.
For campaigns, there are two categories we split our measurements between – rich and reach. Depending on the goals of your campaign, your measurements will either be rich or reach focused. Ultimately your annual goals will help you decide what your KPI(s) should be. Outline 1-2 aligned KPIs. This helps to ensure that the efforts of the campaign are not conflicted. Your KPIs will provide you with insight throughout the campaign on how to adjust accordingly to ensure you meet the KPIs. Other measurables are necessary to track but should not be used to indicate the success of the campaign.
Rich campaigns are looking for action-oriented changes where people engage with your campaign. These are considered deep engagements, such as increasing sales leads or fundraising. Here the goal is to go deep instead of wide with your campaign efforts. An example of a measurement may be seeing how many people inquired for business and from that number how many actually converted. Measurements around this require noteworthy action by the target audience including filling in a contact form, emailing, commenting or donating.
Reach campaigns are looking to reach a larger number of people. These goals usually revolve around brand awareness or perception shifting. The goal maybe to educate the public on a key message and there isn’t a need to increase sales or engage the public. Measurements around this are around how many times your brand was exposed to an individual, which is measured with impressions. These can be tracked on most digital mediums and on traditional mediums they have ballpark calculations for impressions.
Who should be in this part: These measurements are best done in combination with management and the execution team. It’s important to lay out KPIs that are reasonable but also align with the corporate goals. Therefore, it’s important to have both parties involved.
One of the most important aspects of a successful campaign is regularly reviewing your KPIs and adjusting your strategy accordingly. By having real-time analysis, you’re better able to adjust effectively and efficiently. Depending on the duration of your campaign, mediums and deadlines you may want to meet with the execution team as frequently as on a weekly basis.
The biggest challenge is not getting caught up in the vanity metrics and committing to your KPIs. It is really scary putting these down because it draws a clear line between whether you’re meeting them or not. So to protect yourself and your team, we do suggest creating realistic KPIs in the first year to ensure a good win. Use the first year as a practice run to ensure your team can commit to one KPI and succeed. After the first year, you’ll then be able to gauge how realistic your goals are and will be able to push them to be challenging but not impossible.
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