Five Keys to More Accurate Performance Reporting
Everyone wants to know that their marketing is working. That dollars are well spent. And there is an impact on their business. Without regular reporting on the performance of your efforts, that’s a tough thing to prove.
But not all reporting is valuable. Or accurate. Below are five ways to improve how you report on marketing effectiveness:
- Have a baseline. If you don’t know where you’re starting, it’s nearly impossible to measure forward progress. Whether trying to show an increase in brand awareness or growth in the number of checking accounts opened, there must be a metric average before your campaign to measure against. If the data doesn’t exist, step one of your marketing plan might be to conduct a baseline survey so your efforts have a quantifiable objective.
- Compare apples to apples. Individual marketing tactics have different metrics that indicate they are performing well. For example, Google recommends a click-through rate of 1.00% for paid search campaigns. But this tactic brings people to your website who are actively searching for your products and services. That wouldn’t be a realistic goal for digital display ads – a tactic that interrupts people’s experiences on other websites to generate new interest. From email marketing to pre-roll video and everything in between, there is typically a national average for each specific tactic. So, be sure you’re using the right metric to determine success.
- Be specific to your industry. Even within national averages for specific tactics, it’s important to think about what your message is and who you’re targeting. It’s not accurate to compare digital display averages from a utilities campaign to averages from the financial services industry. Because your audience is already prone to have an affinity for or bias against your message. Spend the extra time to research performance metrics for your industry whenever possible.
- Separate seasonal trends. If you’re marketing air conditioner replacements, there are peak times of year when customers are more interested in your product. So to compare website traffic, call volume, etc. in early spring to those metrics from the dead of winter, is not helpful. Of course you’ll see higher traffic in the spring, but you can’t attribute that to the mailer you sent out or TV ads that started running. Look at year-over-year data for the same timeframe and determine your baseline metrics for each season. Only then can you see the impact of your marketing efforts on customer response.
- Tap into team members. Accurate performance reporting is not solely marketing’s responsibility. Internal product teams, front-line sales staff, customer service reps, even IT, may have to provide data to ensure your reports are valuable. You can send them leads all day long, but they have to help you understand the off-line sales process and percentage of leads that ultimately “close.”
Performance reporting is about regularly monitoring metrics that will help you achieve your objectives. Have a baseline, use the right metrics, control for any factors that could inaccurately influence results. But make sure your reports can also answer when your CEO says, “so what?” Marketing should translate to a real impact on your business. Demonstrating that value through reporting is often the only way you can convince your boss to continue to invest in marketing.