How do you determine if your marketing efforts are getting the results you’re after?
One of the fundamental issues with measuring the performance and results of marketing is understanding what is happening within each marketing channel. Each digital marketing platform has a method for collecting and reporting on the data generated by these platforms. Some of these systems include Google AdWords, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and LinkedIn Analytics, to name just a few.
But what is missing is integration. There are a few marketing reporting systems that pull together data from multiple sources but all of them are missing a segment of data that is critical to understanding what is happening. Google Analytics almost does this but to be truly integrated, a reporting system for marketing performance should collect data from three critical areas: marketing, sales and financial.
Marketing includes every channel a company uses to reach its audiences including digital, social and traditional advertising. Data from these sources includes Impressions and Visits (to a website, social platform or physical location).
Sales includes the customer relationship management system that a company uses. This would include Prospects, Meetings, Free Trials, Offers (or Proposals) and number of sales units. To really understand where your marketing efforts should be directed, this information should be segmented by marketing channel, which in my experience is rarely documented.
Financial information includes all marketing costs (fixed and variable) and all information related to revenue, again segmented by marketing channel. Once more, this is infrequently done.
There are programs that integrate some of this data - Google Analytics is a good example - but most marketing reporting platforms are missing data from one area or another. Google Analytics, for example, has data at the point of visiting a website. Google has made some effort to integrate data from Google AdWords for Paid Search and Search Console for Organic search. As a result, we can see the Impressions generated by AdWords and Organic Search within the Google Analytics platform. This is excellent but there is no integration with any of the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In order to get Impressions from any social media platform or email program like MailChimp, or traditional advertising like TV, radio, print and trade shows, we have to go to the source.
Interestingly, Microsoft Excel offers a pretty good solution. Using Excel, we can add data from any source, create reports, develop charts and analyze trends. However, Excel requires at least intermediary skills to use the program and understanding of math and statistics. There are a few marketers who have these skills but many don't.
Our Solution: Mx3 Metrics System
The screenshot below is from our marketing metrics program, called Mx3 Metrics. On the right side, you can see that we have added the key levels of the marketing and sales funnel. Impressions is at the top and Outcomes is further down. Down the middle, you can see a partial list of marketing channels including Organic Search, Paid Search, Display ads and Print. There are more channels below but not captured in this screenshot. From the middle and out to the right you can see cells for Impressions for the various marketing channels by month.
The other issue with most marketing reporting systems available is the lack of metrics (which we define as a calculation between 2 measures). This is especially an issue with metrics related to financial performance but key conversion metrics are also conspicuously lacking. Examples of critical metrics are cost per visit (to a store or to a website), cost per lead, cost per sale, offer rate and take rate. Google AdWords is the only channel platform that calculates critical metrics such as click-through-rate, cost per click, conversion rate, and cost per conversion. The team developing AdWords gets it. But most companies use more marketing channels than AdWords and so they are stuck trying to figure out the measures and metrics that are critical for them to make decisions relate to marketing results and performance.
Mx3 Metrics: Channel Detail
In our system, we add all the measures that are critical for each marketing channel and each level of the Customer Acquisition Funnel. Our software then calculates the relevant conversion metrics and cost per level metrics. See screenshot below.