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 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 »
Yesterday I sat in on a webinar. Speaker was very good and the points he made was clear and interesting and relevant but I found myself unsatisfied when it was all over. It took me a few hours to figure out why – he didn’t show us any examples of “good” and “not so good” and because of that he wasn’t as effective as he could have been.
I like examples, especially simple ones that you get right away. My simple mind perhaps? Whatever the reason, because I have been researching successful B2B uses of Twitter lately I thought I would share this example of how Twitter helped at least one company make a sale. Read the rest of this entry »
I am willing to wager my reputation on the fact that Event ROI is about to become a very hot topic as marketing budgets come under greater scrutiny. So here are a few of my thoughts on the subject:
The perfect event marketing ROI presentation shows how profits realized from product or service sales as a direct result of an event-based marketing program exceed the cost of the program. It’s actually a simple formula, but there are some challenges. To explain, here’s a story to show why calculating event ROI is more like dating than hooking up and its all about getting more than one touch to be successful. Read the rest of this entry »