Without rigorous performance measurement, marketing is little more than guesswork. A business may dabble in one or more marketing activities from time to time, but never be sure exactly how much each costs and what returns are gained. In other words, without measurement it is very difficult to know what is worth doing, and what is best left alone.
Many businesses do not consistently measure their performance when engaged in marketing. This is normally down to one or more of the following factors:
- Lack of time: The business does not have the staff resources to systematically measure marketing performance.
- Lack of technology: The business does not have access to efficient data measurement and analytics software. This may mean that they don’t measure results at all, or that this is done on spreadsheets/Word documents.
- Lack of knowledge: The business is unsure of which metrics are important to measure.
Each scenario leads to an incomplete set of data with which to analyse performance. Without the staff time to consistently record performance, performance analysis will not be possible, as any conclusion will be inaccurate. Not having access to the right technology may make it difficult to accurately record data, or the data may not be in a format that can be accessed and analysed easily (e.g. spread across several different spreadsheets).
Measuring The Right Metrics
Even with the time and competent apps, a lack of knowledge about which metrics to track is still a common problem. A business may end up tracking secondary metrics (e.g. web traffic), while not paying sufficient attention to the really important ones, such as conversion rate and lead source. This can lead to a skewed understanding of marketing performance, where the campaign is assessed on the wrong KPIs.
In this respect we take a brutally pragmatic approach. The important KPIs are those that can be quantified into pounds and pence. It’s nice to have 1,000 hits a month on a particular page, but if you’re not converting those visitors, then where is your money going? A company’s Google page rank and number of social media followers mean nothing if they still end up spending hundreds of pounds more than necessary on closing a deal with potential customers.
Finding The Time
None of these issues suggest a deficiency in the business itself. As a company you have a niche and a job to do, and a limited number of hours to do it in. On top of this you have the administrative burdens and reporting responsibilities that all companies have. Unless you are lucky enough to have a substantial budget and the ability to employ an in-house team, something has got to give – and that something is usually marketing.
With the best will in the world, number crunching takes time, which is something that not all businesses have much of to spare. It also requires a set of measurement and analytics tools to capture the data correctly. This software is often an investment in its own right – not to mention a headache to decide which of the hundreds of applications is most suited to your needs.
Taking The Right Action
You also need to have the ability and time to act on the results of your performance analysis by optimising your marketing campaign. In most companies there simply aren’t the resources to invest in the staff, software and training necessary to deliver real value for marketing.
This is where we can help. At JDR we offer a bespoke growth management service to small businesses in all sectors, helping you to optimise your marketing performance and capitalise on your gains through increased conversions and better returns. It is the results that matter at the end of the day: how many leads you convert to new customers, how much each customer is worth, how large your profit margin is, how you retain customers and increase their value.
Business data is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Measuring your performance will not give you better results, but it will provide a snapshot of your marketing efforts that can be used as a roadmap to improve your growth prospects. If understood and acted on correctly, data can be an extremely powerful tool for improving performance. Accurate measurement is essential if you are to retain control of your marketing spend and achieve real growth for your business.
To find out more about our services, please get in touch through our online contact form.