In the realm of marketing, there are very few definites. While sales can easily drum up numbers like revenue over time—by customer or by sale—equally informative marketing metrics can prove more ethereal. Nevertheless, when quarterly reviews come around, marketing managers often find themselves pressed to accurately demonstrate their impact.
The problem is, many of the readily available marketing metrics out there are what we like to call “vanity metrics.” They’re easy to come by and look great in a report, but do they really matter? If you’re measuring numbers that don’t directly relate to the health of your Demand Waterfall, you’re doing yourself a disservice and you might not even know it. Working with the analytics pros at SiriusDecisions, we’ve come up with a list of chief offenders, as well as a guide to improving how you measure your impact. Here are five of the metrics we’d like marketers to stop tracking:
1. Number of social media followers. Not all the attention you garner has the potential to translate to sales. Let’s say you’re running a social media campaign for an auto dealership. The campaign does well and you see a large uptick in online followers. But on closer inspection you discover that the vast majority of your attention is coming from 12-year-old kids. They like your cars just fine, but unfortunately their attention can’t translate to improved sales.
Instead, try tracking the number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and/or sales qualified leads (SQLs) that are moving through your waterfall.
2. Number of social media posts and comments. Unless you’re tracking the sentiment and relevance of your online comments, you’re not really tracking the sort of attention that matters. Your commenters could be chatting about where they want to go to dinner, squabbling over unrelated issues, or simply spamming your pages to gain visibility for themselves.
Dive deeper into your data to discover numbers that demonstrate how much of your social media attention has gone on to contribute to both your waterfall and total revenue.
3 and 4. Number of email subscribers and email open rate.
Getting prospects to add their name to a list or open an email is just the beginning of the lead qualifying process. You don’t know much about these customers yet, and unless you keep them engaged many of them won’t end up as MQLs or SQLs.
A better way to diagnose both your reach and the health of your campaign is to measure your cost per lead. Not only will you have a more accurate picture of the leads moving down your Demand Waterfall, you’ll be that much closer to demonstrating your return on marketing investment (ROMI).
5. Page views. This one can truly be deceptive. You can have tons of page views, but unless they’re translating to actionable leads they’re dust in the wind. Some of the folks contributing to your page views could have already decided to give their business to the competition. Unless you know who’s actually interested and has the capacity to buy, a high page-view count doesn’t mean a whole lot. What you want to be tracking here is your conversion rate.
If your data isn’t informing you on the correlation between the attention you’re getting online and your contribution to your waterfall, you’re going to need to get your hands on better analytics tools. For an in-depth look at what the pros at SiriusDecisions see as a healthy Demand Waterfall, and information about how to use automation and analytics to best take advantage of it, check out our white paper, How to put the SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall® into action using marketing automation.
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