Marketing plans are very similar to planning a trip; telling you where you’ve been, where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Just as an airplane follows a certain path to get you to your destination, a marketing plan must also track its progress to ensure you’ll arrive at your final destination.
The best way to track your marketing plan is by determining key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll measure as the campaign progresses. By utilizing KPIs and referring to them monthly, quarterly, etc. you’re setting yourself up for success in knowing just how effective your marketing plan is and whether or not you’re on track to meet your goal.
These metrics can involve many different aspects because just about everything involved in marketing can be measured, such as the following:
- Consumer response to a piece of creative
- Conversions from a paid search campaign
- Amount of engagement from a social media ad
- Number of calls a business receives after a TV or radio spot airs
- The user experience of a website
To ensure your KPIs are actionable and drive change, work with your marketing agency to help determine what KPIs are best to track so you’re set up for success from the start. When selecting your KPIs be sure you don’t confuse them with goals. A good way to make sure you’re on the right track is to think, “What can I measure that will help me meet my goal?” For example, if your goal is to run a marathon you might measure your speed, distance and the time it takes you to complete each run – those would be your KPIs. If you only focus on measuring how fast you’re going and forget all about how far you’re running, you could end up not achieving your goal because you only relied on one KPI to get there.
By creating KPIs and reviewing their performance you’ll likely reach the end of a campaign already knowing what sort of results to anticipate. Having all of this data will help you optimize your marketing efforts as the year progresses so that if something isn’t working the way you’d hoped or you aren’t seeing the results you want, you can review your KPIs and change things accordingly. Having KPIs in place to tell you those things will also allow you to reallocate your budget towards something that is working. In addition, this information will assist you in planning for next year because you’ll already know what media mix works best, how people are responding to your messaging, seasonal trends in your business and low interest times of year when you don’t need to invest as many marketing dollars.
Measuring your marketing plan’s effectiveness is a two-way street and will require you to report back to your marketing agency. If your goal is to gain new customers, you’ll want to keep track of the number of new customers received on a weekly or monthly basis throughout the campaign. Having the right KPIs in place will help you determine what marketing initiative led each new customer to convert to your business.
If the data you receive is measuring exceptionally well but you aren’t seeing an increase in leads, sales or new customers, you might need to take a look at internal processes to determine if there’s something wrong. For example, if you’re running a paid search campaign to get you more leads but the number of new customers received isn’t any better than it was before the campaign began, there may be something internal that’s causing people not to convert. Perhaps you have an uneducated sales team and potential customers aren’t feeling confident in their decision because sales representatives aren’t able to answer their questions? Or maybe the sales process in general is strenuous and not customer-friendly so potential customers don’t want the hassle?
Whatever it might be, if you’re not seeing progress despite having KPIs that are measuring exceptionally it’s time to take a deeper look so you can remedy the situation as soon as possible. After all, the effectiveness of your marketing plan can only truly be measured by reporting every piece of relevant data, whether it comes from internal information or as a result of each marketing tactic.