The other day I was showing my digital marketing dashboard to a colleague who was blown away by what we were tracking ( #proud #glow) but then asked “Why do you do this when nobody except your team ever sees it?” The strangest part of the question was the fact that I had to pause and think for a minute. I mentally flipped through all the channels and came up with the following 6 reasons why a marketer might track their key performance indicators (KPIs) for their digital marketing programs. I confess that at various stages of my career, I have had all of the motives at one point or another.
Reason #1 – Because you have to
If you work for a KPI-obsessed company, you know exactly what I mean when I say you’ll be tracking marketing stats because you have to – because every department head in the company is obligated to set and report against KPIs. This is not a bad reason, it just seems a bit short-sighted. If you’re investing time to track your KPIs because you must, why not move up and embrace some of the other possibilities, namely that you can use this tracking for some of the other reasons in addition to making your boss happy or making yourself look good during the quarterly business reviews.
Reason #2 – Because you are curious
Curiosity is almost always a good thing and I admit to doing a lot of analysis to satisfy that particular itch – the itch to know. To know how many people are viewing and commenting on my videos, from which social media channel and what kinds of comments they are leaving – such a goodness of data. Trying to satisfy my need to know has been a big driver for tracking and analyzing but it always leads to reasons 3, then 4, 5, 6 and while curiosity didn’t kill me, it sure led me to spend more time than I first intended, luckily with great returns on that investment.
Reason #3 – To compare yourself to others
Who says I am competitive? OK, maybe I am but I often find that numbers by themselves aren’t as useful as numbers relative to something else. That something can be comparisons to the past like period over period changes, or comparisons to other similar programs run by other similar companies or better yet comparisons to my competitors. Because we live in a world where absolutes are hard to come by, knowing that you are as good or preferably better than your peers in terms of results, is often the inspiration we need to continue to be motivated to get even better or at the very least to continue what we’re doing and KNOW that it is good.
Reason #4 – To anticipate problems before they occur
Now we’re into the really interesting reasons for tracking and metrics. It’s not so much the absolute numbers but more the relative numbers that matter. I look at trends, when the numbers start to change period over period, it’s a warning sign to me, a sign that something is up, or something has changed. As we all have limited time, this tells us what to investigate earlier rather than later. If we can “see” something starting to change and we can find out why and quickly, we can hopefully prevent things from getting much worse.
Reason #5 – To measure success of your initiatives
A more positive version of Reason #4 is to measure success. This is so critical as EVERYTHING in marketing costs you – either in time or money or both. To spend resources without knowing its impact on the business is reckless, and in this day and age, rarely tolerated. Now I know that while it’s not always easy to tie marketing activities directly to the business bottom line, you can ALWAYS find ways to get closer to that bottom line, to track the steps that lead you to that bottom line. And not only that, it sure feels good to pull out your stats when you’re challenged!
Reason #6 – To test and optimize your program investments
To me, this is the Holy Grail of measurement and analysis, if you can truly understand who engages with your and why, you are 17 steps closer to changing something to make the engagement even stronger with the people who really matter. Better yet, to be able to try different things and to actually see which ones produce better results means you can get all the benefits of all the reasons in this blog post + a better bottom line for your business. I only wish I had more time and better tools – I’d invest even more in this oh so important activity.
What about you? What’s your reason for tracking your results – and WHAT metrics do you track? Please share.
The other day I was doing a website review for a client. They were very pleased that they’d incorporated some social features on their site – not just anywhere on their site but prominently positioned on their home page.
When I asked why they put them on their home page, they looked puzzled and asked “Why not on the home page? We want to show people we are social media savvy, its part of our brand.”
This customer has a Facebook page, a rather nice one, but one that is targeted to a small subset of their website visitors. By putting a prominent “Follow us on Facebook”, they were encouraging every site visitor to immediately leave the website and go to the Facebook page, where most of them would discover that the content on Facebook was not of interest to them. Human behaviour suggests that the majority of them would not go back to the website, they’d simply leave.
It takes so much effort to drive visitors to your website, you owe it yourself not to drive people away once they get there. We helped this customer think this through, and ended up moving the Facebook link into the task area that this audience went to most often. Their bounce rate went down dramatically which means that more people were actually moving through the site instead of leaving it.
Even when we moved it into the right section, the Facebook follow request wasn’t optimized. Each company on Facebook uses it in their own unique way, and usually we can’t know for sure what we’ll be seeing on a Facebook page until we get there. Tying a Follow us on Facebook message with a reason for doing so just makes sense. It’s a lot like signing up to get email from a company – there are so many different types of emails sent out by companies that I only sign up if they tell me what kinds of information I am going to get. I can’t afford to get more email unless it’s really relevant. Facebook is no different. I want to know why I should follow you on Facebook before I get there. We as site owners should make sure they only go to the Facebook page knowing ahead of time they won’t be wasting their time and their clicks.
Most of us are too close to it to see our websites clearly. We need to step back and use fresh eyes at least once a year so we can really see what behaviours we are encouraging and whether they are the right ones for us and for our visitors.
The best part about blogging is that it can be about opinions, unconstrained by the lack of context or data, just pure opinion.
Last week I went to a breakfast session put on by the good folks at Leger Marketing. The talk was about branding a nation as opposed to a corporation. I was fascinated by the subject as I have long had a secret desire to take on branding Canada as my next career challenge. It’s unlikely to ever happen but it sure is fun to think about how brand to the country I love so much.
So here are my thoughts as a citizen on what elements we should brand as a country. I know I am oversimplifying but hopefully it will be food for thought.
First my simple criteria for selecting my three point brand focus:
- Branding a nation is difficult so our brand focus should leverage something that is already culturally grounded in our psyches. For example, if we are not a warlike people, we should not consider a brand association with aggression.
- Branding a nation is time consuming so it should align with a macro trend that will help us leverage our brand position into real economic benefits that strengthen over time as the trend or trends develop
- Branding a nation should be about something that will benefit the citizens themselves as well as the external audiences for our brand
- Branding a nation should take into account the realities of attributes about the nation that are not easily overcome, for example in our case we have a very large geography that is not easily changed
- A brand strategy should have a focus – we can’t be all things to all people. People can’t remember any more than 3 things at any one time, so let’s keep our brand focus at 3 things.
- Our brand strategy should support economic as well as social goals – for example, increase tourism, exports, inward investment, talent attraction and retention
So without further ado for brand element #1, I think our Canadian brand should be associated with Extraordinary Customer Service.
- We are already known as “nice and polite”, why haven’t we translated this brand equity into something tangible. We can leverage attributes that already exist in our psyches.
- As technology becomes more commoditized, It is clear that customer service will increasingly be “the” competitive differentiator. With the advent of social media the ability of each and every consumer to talk about customer service and influence your business has increased exponentially. We’ve already lost control of the message, why not ensure that every interaction with a Canadian is a positive one and let the people promote our brand for us. There is nothing people would rather talk about than how they feel about a product, service or company.
- And lastly, we’d all benefit. Just think how much better life would be if Rogers and Bell Mobility offered extraordinary service. What would we do with the extra time we’d have, the time that we wouldn’t have to spend on hold or arguing about how their service really isn’t working as it should be.
The only downside? What would we complain about?
So chip in here – what do you think we should be known for up here in Canada?
I am a customer service nazi. I admit it. I admire those who deliver great service and I take great offense with those who don’t.
I like nothing more than acknowledging great customer service, and I have been known to make job offers on the spot to those who have given me great service because they are the type of person I want working for my company.
I almost always take the time to tell companies when their service falls short. I choose to believe they simply aren’t aware that their people need more training. I know its difficult to monitor everyone who delivers service, and in their shoes, I’d want to know if service isn’t what it should be. Read the rest of this entry »
The blog post below was originally written about a year ago but never published. Why publish it now you ask? This week I got more spam from this same company. It made me so angry that I dug up this post and I hope it gets wide distribution. Here’s why.
From 2008 sometime…….
The other day I got an email in my inbox. It said in part…. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve worked really really hard on my latest project – a crowd-sourced survey of Twitter users. I’ve sweated over it and worked it and edited it and it’s ready to go. My plan is to use Twitter to get Twitter users to join in and share their insights about themselves. Then in the true spirit of social networking, I’ll share the results.
The survey is done, and I find myself unable to push the GO button because I am afraid. There, I said it. I AM AFRAID.
I am afraid that nobody will complete the survey
I am afraid that nobody will retweet my posts
I am afraid that I’ll annoy my followers if I talk about it
I am afraid that my voice is so very tiny that nobody will even hear it, and that will hurt
These 5 signs that a company isn’t ready to start using social media tools come from my real-world conversations with company CEOs.
2. Your CEO or client says “Let’s get on Twitter” You say OK, what will we tweet?” They say “Our press releases and product info of course, what else would we tweet?”
3. Your CEO or client says “Let’s get on Twitter” You say OK, who will tweet?” They say “Everyone in the company, but we’ll need legal to approve each tweet first.”
4. Your CEO or client says “We need to get everyone talking to each other” You say OK, what do you have in mind? They say “We just sent out a link to < latest corporate social media platform >, that ought to do it.”
5. Your CEO or client says “Let’s get on Twitter” You say “OK, are our customers and partners on twitter?” They say “Why does that matter, we just need to say we use social media”.
Here are 5 questions to ask when they say they need to get some of that social media stuff going.
Experienced Twitter users have their own language, their own rules and they project an “in”crowd feeling which sometimes makes it difficult for a newbie to participate with confidence. On more than one occasion I have sat paralyzed with indecision, afraid to tweet the wrong thing and embarrass myself in front of my followers, or worse yet have my “oops” tweet retweeted to the larger universe.
Twitter pros, this article is not for you but feel free to forward it to all the newbies you know.
Twitter newbies, come on in – the water’s great!
Run your business in the cloud for almost nothing? You bet you can. Here are my Top 20 small business web-based productivity tools. If you are a consultant or agency or a road warrior, chances are you’ll enjoy some or even all of these great time and money savers. They are all free or less than $20/mo and they had to be dead easy to use or they didn’t make the cut cause most small business people don’t have IT teams.
- CRM - contact and lead tracking, sales and contact management, sales pipeline management and forecasting, customer service and business management. Keep yourself organized! Free version available from www.freecrm.com, from $7/mo at www.sugarcrm.com
- Market Research – Google Alerts is a “must-have” clipping service. Set up your favorite key words and www.google.com/alerts finds and delivers articles about any subject of your choosing to your inbox every day. Watch for news and mentions of your own company, your customers and your competitors. Free
- Creative Design – Want a design for a new logo, brochure, website or business card? Go to either www.crowdspring.com, or www.99designs.com, upload your requirements, run a contest and pick your favourite. You pick the purse size, I’ve seen contests get dozens of great results for only a few hundred dollars. Read the rest of this entry »
One of my biggest pet peeves is what I call “blah blah blah marketing copy. Here’s an example:
“XYZ provides the ideal combination of advanced technology and expertise to information providers. Our solutions and services lower costs, streamline operations, create efficiencies and generate new revenue for our customers. Our mission is to unlock the true potential of your market and partner with you in growth.”
Logically I know I was reading a description of what XZY company does, emotionally all I heard was “Blah Blah Blah”. I had no idea what this company did, none! Be honest, you’ve done it too right? Read something and had absolutely no idea what the product was or why you might benefit from buying it. You’re probably like most of us, who don’t admit this for fear of looking dumb or uninformed. Read the rest of this entry »