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You Can't Score If You Don't Know Where the Goal Posts Are

By Jessica Best, Director of Data-Driven Marketing, Barkley

Jessica Best, Director of Data-Driven Marketing, Barkley

The phrase “Start with the end in mind” is used so often in marketing, it has become cliché. What’s even more obnoxious is… it’s still necessary to repeat it.

As a data-obsessed marketer, I could look atreports and metrics all day (and I do). For many marketers, it’s tougher for them to weave in the time for analytics and analysis alongside their day-to-day deadlines. Between Monday and Friday, somehow time speeds up and budgets shrink, and suddenly we can become guilty of doing what’s in front of us, instead of checking our alignment towards our goals.

That’s why we start with the end in mind.

When asked how to get to Mount Olympus, Socrates replied, “By making sure that every step you take is in that direction.”

From the beginning of a project, campaign or fiscal year, when the energy and excitement – and potential – is high, and we’re all in the same room, let’s set our goal posts out at the end of the field. Together. If we assume that we’re all on the same page, with the same end game, we may be disappointed when we find that we’ve all been running full speed in slightly different directions.

"If your goal is a 5 percent lift in revenue, a leading indicator like lift in online sales or a lift in sales driven by email marketing can tell you if you’re on track"

We may not even notice it! We may end up at more or less the same place, but in order to ensure that we’re doing a touchdown dance together, we’ve got to agree on the goal, direction, and plan to get there, before we start.

It’s easy, right? We’re all here to make more money for the company! (Nice try.)

Your company has business objectives: Goals. Smart goals are measurable and date-driven, i.e. “A 5 percent lift in same store sales year-over-year.” Once you’re all aligned on that, take it one step further: What are the leading indicators that you’re on track to hit that goal? If you’re hoping to see a lift in your annual revenue, you’d likely measure your monthly revenue to see if you’re pacing on track, right?

That is how you should think of your marketing analytics, too. If your goal is a 5 percent lift in revenue, a leading indicator like lift in online sales or a lift in sales driven by email marketing can tell you if you’re on track and where you might need to make optimizations in order to hit your goals. Now, you’ve got a recipe for your monthly marketing analytics report.

You likely have goals across the conversion funnel:

• Percentage lift in brand awareness or brand preference
• Percentage lift in leads captured
• Percentage lift in sales

Tie your marketing success metrics to those higher-level goals, and you’ll be making sure that your steps are pointing in the right direction:

• Percentage lift in brand mentions
• Percentage lift in lead page traffic
• Percentage lift in conversion rate; bonus points for breaking it down by source to optimize where your leads come from with next quarter’s budget

There’s another great reason for defining Mount Olympus and using a map to get you there: You won’t get caught up in 60-page monthly marketing reports (analysis paralysis) on social media audience size (which doesn’t ladder up to your goals), and your team won’t have to scramble to provide last minute one-off report requests. You’ll already know that you’re reporting on the most important metrics of success for your company: because everyone already agreed to them at the start.

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