Don't sweat marketing measurement

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    Any marketing measurement system based solely on circulation, clicks, impressions, advertising equivalency or whatever is flawed. For B2B marketers, the only measurement that matters is measurement that truly shows how effective you are at reaching your customers.

    Traditional B2B marketing measurement is especially tough because anything you do impacts everything else you do. How can you quantify how your PR impacts the success of your direct mail? How does your PR impact your PPC? How does your PPC impact your SEO? How does your SEO impact your website? How does your website impact your direct mail?

    In looking at various measurement methodologies, it seems few actually demonstrate a measureable connection between the multiple activities that define true multi-channel B2B marketing and the sales pipeline.

    Finally, as a last insult to simplicity, the measurement methods you use for your company will have little bearing on the measurement someone else uses for their company. In B2B marketing and sales, benchmarks and best practices are hard to find. Everyone measures and values certain tactics differently. My media mix and your media mix are not the same. Your sales approach and my sales approach are not the same.

    So what to do? First, don't sweat it. No matter how trivial or important the tactic, assign it a key performance indicator (a KPI). A KPI is a quantifiable measurement, agreed to beforehand, that reflects the critical success factors of a certain tactic. The KPI for your website's performance may be the unique visitors or the number of inquiries or any other metric that is important to you. The KPI for your media relations activities might be press mentions or advertising equivalency. Whatever the KPI, it should be binary. This means, at the end of each month, you should know if you achieved or did not achieve your KPI. If your KPI for your website is 1000 unique visitors per month, then you know with certainty at the end of the month whether or not you achieved your web KPI. Likewise, if your monthly public relations KPI is 4 or more mentions about your company every 30 day period, you know with certainty whether or not you achieved your KPI.

    Next, if you have 10 tactics and 10 KPIs, force rank every KPI on a 1 to 10 score with 10 being most important and 1 being least important. If you have 104 tactics and 104 KPIs, force rank every KPI on a 1 to 104 score with 104 being most important. This ranking forces you to think about the importance of each of your tactics as part of your total media mix. If your SEO is a the most important tactic in your arsenal of 10 tactics, SEO gets a weight of 10. If PR is the next most important tactic, PR gets a weight of 9. And so on.

    For every 30 day period, honestly evaluate whether or not you achieved the goal for each KPI. If you achieved the goal, give yourself a score of 1. If you did not achieve your goal, give yourself a score of 0. There is no negotiation. You either achieved the KPI or you didn't. Multiply each of your KPI scores by your force ranked weight. In the SEO example above, if you achieved your SEO KPI, multiply the tactic's weighted score of 10 by 1. If you did not achieve your PR score, multiply the weighted score of 9 by 0. Work your way through all your tactics and determine whether or not you achieved your KPI. Add all these sums together. See the table below for an example:

    If you have 10 tactics, you have a total possible score of 55 (10+9+8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1=55)

    When you add all the scores in the table above and divide them by the potential score, you have a grade of 60%. Next month, try to improve your grade.

    Is this an exact science? No. Far from it. But the exercise of measuring forces you to think about the things you value. It also forces your team to reach an understanding of the metrics that are expected from each piece of creative or from each tactic you produce.

    If the measurement is not working or if you find you are measuring things you don't value, you quickly recognize it. You adapt. Wash. Rinse. Refine. Repeat. And so on until you settle on a definition of the things that matter most.

    This is where your measurement really matters. What happens to the sales pipeline if you adjust certain tactics? What happens when you start measuring things differently? The sales pipeline is the true indicator of marketing success. If you measure a marketing tactic and it provides no insight into the overall health of the sales pipeline, then find a new way to measure. Is all this extra effort worth it? Absolutely. NOTE: If you'd like a copy of the spreadsheet referenced above, email me at bbradley @ bradleywiltjer .com