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4 Problems With the Way You're Measuring Marketing Effectiveness

Posted by Mark Lewis | Sep 11, 2017 6:17:00 AM

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The digital age has ushered in a new set of challenges for marketers. With an expanded list of channels, touchpoints and consumer platforms to account for, comprehensive and quality marketing can be difficult to achieve.

The only way to navigate the digital marketing environment is to accurately determine what campaigns are gaining traction and what strategies are simply not working.

Companies that our unable to accurately measure their marketing effectiveness could waste resources on poor strategies.
Companies that our unable to accurately measure their marketing effectiveness could waste resources on poor strategies.

Measuring marketing effectiveness is essential, but there are plenty of roadblocks that are easy to run into. If businesses are not tracking the right metrics, they may be getting the wrong impression of how engaging their marketing efforts are. Those inaccuracies could lead them to invest in poorly performing marketing strategies, wasting time, money and manpower in the process. To keep your marketing goals on track, watch for these four problems with measuring marketing effectiveness:

"Teams should lay out precisely how they measure success."

1. Setting unclear goals

Arguably a worse crime than setting unrealistic goals is setting goals that cannot be properly measured. Objectives like increasing customer engagement and traction sound good on paper, but if you can't measure outcomes, how can you effectively determine if you're meeting those goals or not? Teams should lay out precisely how they measure success, whether that be a specific increase in sales, conversions or site traffic. From there, you can get a better sense of how your strategies stack up.

One important factor to keep in mind here is to get everyone's input on what metrics they use to determine success. MarketingProfs contributor Jonathan Lewis noted that personal definitions can vary significantly, so you want to make sure everyone invested—from the VP of Sales to the CEO—are on the same page.

2. Tracking the wrong metrics

Measuring marketing effectiveness without the right KPIs is an exercise in futility. A survey of Belgium-based marketers conducted by The Reference discovered that 60 percent of respondents could not conclusively state how much of their revenue could be attributed to digital marketing. How can you accurately determine how successful your marketing campaigns are if you have no way to draw direct connections between your strategies and your results? KPIs should be analyzed on a macro and micro scale, digging into specific strategies, campaigns and markets.

Tracking the wrong metrics could derail any analytics project.Tracking the wrong metrics could derail any analytics project.

3. Misinterpreting causality

Every marketer knows there is constant pressure to prove their value to the organization and their contribution to quarterly numbers. This pressure can sometimes lead marketers to jump to conclusions, claiming a specific strategy resulted in an uptick in engagement or MQLs. Without really digging into the relationship between marketing tactics and customer traction, though, it's impossible to know precisely why consumer behavior changed.

Lewis actually went a step further, arguing that direct causality in marketing is a myth. Instead of trying to draw precise cause-and-effect conclusions, he recommended looking for correlations and trends to help guide marketing strategies.

The important thing to keep in mind is that there could always be external factors at play that affect customer behavior. It's best not to fall into the trap of dealing with absolutes.

4. Measuring effectiveness in a vacuum

Setting specific goals is important for assessing the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, but be careful not to fall into the trap of letting historical data dictate your benchmarks. MarketingProfs contributor Manu Mathew noted that if marketers fail to take into the consideration the context of that information, they could create wildly unrealistic expectations. For instance, if marketers use data from a previous high-volume season to compare against results from a slower time of year, they'll lose sight of what those metrics really mean, and may form inaccurate conclusions.

Establishing data-driven customer engagement strategies can be difficult on its own, but accurately measuring the success of those initiatives just adds further challenges. Without a clearly defined approach to measure marketing effectiveness, campaigns will flounder and businesses will be stuck without any indication of what direction they should be taking their strategies.

To clear up any confusion and find a way forward through the digital marketing landscape, reach out to Clarity Insights. Our analytics experts can help lay out a roadmap to marketing success.

Topics: customer experience, marketing analytics, marketing effectiveness

Written by Mark Lewis

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