How are we going to measure that?
We ask that question a lot around here.
We also get asked that question a lot, too. Which is great because it’s a fantastic gauge of how brand marketers are pushing their agencies to think even more about the campaigns they plan and implement.
And while everyone agrees it’s important to measure as much as we can, we often forget to think about the most important part of measurement. The Plan.
The first question we should be asking instead is: What’s the campaign measurement plan?
Having a campaign measurement plan may sound a bit daunting or a little like overkill (after all it’s just reporting numbers, right?) but deciding to follow these five steps can dramatically change not only campaign optimizations, but ultimately, the real-life outcomes that only smart marketing data analysis can bring.
Here are five elements that we use when planning for measurement that you can use to help get yourself started.
#1 Decide on the metrics
Deciding on which marketing metrics to use seems pretty easy, right?
Not so fast.
What if not everyone agrees on which metrics are the most important? We’ve all been there. You prep a campaign summary and pass it to your boss and the questions come rolling in.
Or perhaps the tactics are not even measurable. Or the goal is not really a goal. Like awareness.
Sidebar – awareness should never be a goal. It’s just the beginning. It’s the means to an end.
Ask these questions when deciding on metrics:
- Which metrics are the most important?
- Does everyone (stakeholders included) agree?
- Are the metrics tactical only or do they ladder up to marketing and business goals?
- Are there defined business goals?
- Are those goals realistic/obtainable?
- Can we measure those goals?
#2 Consider the connections
In today’s increasingly digital landscape marketers need to consider upfront how campaign touchpoints are connected.
The consumer path to purchase is no longer a predictable straight shot, which means being able to attribute success metrics in every channel is even more important. The final goal of attribution is being able to say “do more of this” and “do less of that.”
You should also consider which channel or tactic is going to get the credit. Without a connections conversation happening up front, it’s hard to make sure we are telling the right story with our measurement.
Some questions to start with include:
- Have we mapped out our customer journey and messaging strategy?
- Can we overlay our media plan onto that journey map?
- How do our tactics overlap on the customer journey?
- Are there multiple touchpoints we need to consider for a tactic?
- What is our attribution standard (last click, for example)?
#3 Create a tagging map
One of the most helpful tools for mapping the output of a campaign is to use something we call the tagging map.
Think of it as a way to overlay campaign tactics onto the user journey. We’ve seen this done in a variety of formats but most often it’s a simple spreadsheet. The point is to make sure all the touchpoints and connections correspond to distinct analytics tracking codes and are mapped out.
This visual flow will also serve as an aid when thinking about in which types of attribution models your campaigns can work well.
#4 Set alerts and notifications
Who doesn’t want to optimize their campaigns, right? No one.
OK, maybe literally not “no one” but you get the point.
Measurement and optimization go together like peanut butter and jelly. They just don’t make sense on their own. (Sorry plain peanut butter lovers)
To be fair, campaign optimization is a tricky subject. You can optimize in a number of ways and at a number of points before, after and during the life of a campaign.
I remember after running one high-volume brand introduction campaign, we took a close look at the post-campaign brand awareness study data. We realized that we should optimize to trial-type campaigns moving forward. Ultimately, that change made a significant difference in generating more sales for the brand.
The key to success was understanding the kinds of information we got (and when) so we could learn and optimize our future messaging as quickly as possible. Communicating that plan with your partners and clients is critical in order to make the highest impact.
Some questions to consider are:
- What types of campaign alerts and notifications can be set up to inform us?
- How often should this occur?
- Who gets the data and how is it shared?
- How fast can you pivot, if needed?
#5 Use tracking systems
Of course, none of this works without an analytics platform to capture the data.
Often, there are multiple platforms in place so figuring out upfront which are the best to use is important. For example, say you have Google Analytics, Salesforce, Watson and Hubspot.
Underneath this incredibly pimped-out marketing and sales data collecting/dashboarding awesomeness is the potential for an overwhelming amount of data that—let’s face it—is useless.
Going through the exercise of deciding on which metrics are the most important to measure, understanding how they are connected and tagged and how often you need access to the data can help you decide on which tracking systems work the best for your business.
Having a plan is important. Even for measurement. Yogi Berra said it best – “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”