Successful marketing hangs on one key thing - measurement! If you don’t assess the impact against an objective, how can you claim to be successful?
Gone are the days where marketing departments can splash the cash on glamorous campaigns or expensive events without any justification or clear return on investment.
For your marketing activity to be successful, it’s a simple sounding process - set an objective, measure it, and report. Sadly, the reality for many marketers is that these steps are not followed - or an objective is set reactively, skewing the meaningfulness of any return. Understanding each area is vital in determining if your company’s marketing is working or needs refining.
1 - Setting an objective
Your objective should align with the wider business goals. Are you trying to sell extra inventory of a particular item or shift a product that’s going to shortly be updated? Do you want more first-party data from potential customers and to grow your sales pipe-line? Perhaps you want to improve your relationships with commercial partners.
Once you’ve locked in your objective, apply the SMART methodology which will best help you measure and assess your activity:
Specific - have you set tangible targets, including data and deadlines?
Measurable - is your progress trackable?
Achievable - is it within your scope and possible to complete?
Relevant - does it align with company values and overall business objectives?
Time-based - when will the activity end? Being time bound enables you to have a clear measurement and reporting framework.
In-house marketing teams may be able to secure necessary information to set a SMART goal than some agencies, but this ultimately is down to the individual company’s corporate culture. If you work with a marketing agency, they should be treated as part of your team. By giving them the ability to review, assess and track their impact, you are improving their chances of succeeding for you.
2 - Measuring success
Measuring impact should be straightforward - if you’ve set a clear and measurable objective! Aim for a tangible and quantifiable target, one you can track the progress against as you reach different milestones, especially at the end of your campaign.
As a marketing agency, Haynes Marcoms is dedicated to consistently improving the results they deliver for clients. Tracing the success of award nominations (converting nominations into shortlistings, and shortlistings into wins), tracking the average pieces of media coverage for press releases in targeted media, establishing specific publication titles to be featured in or the growth rate of a client’s social media channels against industry benchmarks, how they measure success is determined by the client’s overriding objectives.
But don’t just wait until the end before you check your metrics. It’s important to assess ongoing activity at different stages. That way if something has gone awry, you can quickly rectify it, or if your activity needs ramping up or (if budgets suddenly drop) scaling down, you can respond accordingly. As well as using trackable phone numbers or website addresses, keep notes on what actions are taken - and when - so you can attribute the results to particular activities.
3 - Reporting on your progress and completion
Reporting isn’t favoured by many creative marketers, but it’s both necessary and appreciated by the wider business, as well as provides marketers with benchmarks for future activities.
Whether interim or final, reports should include:
A summary: referencing your SMART target, overarching campaign elements, and topline results.
Timeline of activity: preferably overlaid with results, a timeline shows cause and effect of marketing campaigns. For example, if your objective was to grow your email subscriber database by 25,000 people in six months, your timeline should show what activity you’ve undertaken in each month and the changes in your subscriber numbers across a consistent period such as weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
Resources used during the campaigns: obviously, financial budgets are important to include here, but you should also assess human resources - including time from your own team. This helps you more effectively plan future activity, and shows the true cost of each campaign.
Return on investment: this is easy to quantify when your goal is financially driven and tracked against money investment (such as the goal to secure £1 million in new contracts by the end of the year, with a budget of £125,000), but you can still cite an ROI for non-financial goals. Everything in business has a value - for example, staff time cost or an average customer lifetime value. If you’re clear on your objectives and using a SMART framework, you’ll be in a great position to provide an ROI.
Recommendations for future activity: what did you learn from this marketing campaign? How did external forces impact your plan or results? What worked, and what would you do differently? Assessing the effectiveness of your work provides the ability to learn from what works and what doesn’t - success is what separates good marketing teams from the great ones.
Whether you are a B2C or a B2B company, your marketing success depends on setting a clear goal and the ability to track your progress and results. Just like the ancient puzzle of a tree falling in the woods, if you don’t measure your impact, does anyone hear it?