What is marketing success to you and how do you measure such success?
These are incredibly important questions which many people, from business owners, to marketing executives, to outsourced agencies themselves never truly figure out how to answer. If you do not define the right metrics (key-performance-indicators / KPIs) and the means to then measure these metrics, how will you be able to demonstrate that you're generating significant return-on-investment (ROI)?
More importantly, how will you be able to hold your outsourced marketing agency accountable for their service fees? and how will you look in front of your colleagues, stakeholders and management when you can't really prove the value of the marketing budget spent? Just because sales revenue might be increasing, it's not necessarily due to marketing (there are a number of economic and political factors at play). And vice versa, if sales begin to drop, how can you prove that it's not a marketing fault?
So, where do you start? Buyer Persona Development & Customer Journey Mapping
Firstly, you need to determine what metrics or KPIs need be measured and in my opinion, one of the best ways to have absolute certainty regarding this is to develop your 'Buyer Personas' and then map-out the 'Customer's Journey'.
Identify key marketing & sales touch points along the Customer's Journey
Once you have mapped out your customer's journey, what you should end up with is a very detailed flow chart from where your prospects identify their goals and problems all the way to their end-point where your business has made sale (and if you really want to make a significant impact, keep going and map out your customer's interactions with your brand's loyalty and referral programs as well!)
You can now see multiple marketing opportunities and touch points that can actually be monitored through digital tools such as:
- Google Analytics
- Social Media Management Software
- Customer Relationship Management Software
- Quotation & Proposal Software
- Accounting Software
- Mass Mailing Software
- Survey Software
- Dashboard Software
So let's run through some typical examples
We'll run through a basic flow of metrics and KPIs that would be applicable to most businesses, however, you can scale this up as per the needs of your customer's journey. Irrespective of your business type, most likely you will funnel your prospects and leads to your company's website, therefore, it would make sense to start monitoring website traffic. As you begin to work with your marketing agency to deploy marketing campaigns, you would want to see an increase of website users and sessions. This can be easily monitored via Google Analytics. By taking a benchmark of your current number of website users and sessions, you can then compare the growth (or loss) of these KPIs over the course of your agency engagement and marketing campaigns.
The next logical metric / KPI to monitor would be the number of enquiries and contacts (leads) that come through your website. Again, this can be tracked through Google Analytics, or more preferably through the implementation of a professional CRM software. The CRM software route is more beneficial in this aspect as your can actually store the contact details of your leads for re-marketing.
And finally, you can implement a cloud based quotation and accounting software to track the number of quotes issued, and ultimately the amount of sales revenue invoiced. Modern cloud based software can be integrated with each other through APIs which tracks a lead's e-mail address. Therefore, when an invoice is finally raised (symbolizing a sale or project completion), your CRM software can be used to track the source of this revenue to your website.
You now in theory have the means to demonstrate the ROI of your marketing budget and the performance of your marketing agency by monitoring the growth of website traffic (users & sessions), the number of conversions from this website traffic (number of enquiries and leads) and finally the growth of sales revenue (through the number of quotations and invoices issued).
You now need to create SMART Goals for your business
Once you have identified the type of metrics / KPIs relevant for your business, you should sit down with your marketing agency and if applicable, your upper management to agree on goals that you should all be collectively working towards. There's no point in monitoring performance if you are not on a path of continuous improvement (check out 'Kaizen' if you would like to understand the power of continuous improvement for both personal and company development'.
A good measure to create goals for your business and marketing efforts is by using the SMART Goal criteria. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. An excellent resource to help you develop your SMART Goals can be read here.
Set regular review meetings and prepare your agenda
It's now time to dig in and analyze what has been working and what hasn't by referring to your KPIs and SMART Goals. This is a critical phase. Continued marketing success depends on identifying and understanding the processes that make the partnership successful and do this on a frequent basis. I would suggest that you create a dashboard and keep this up on a monitor 24x7x365. You can then conduct weekly, bi-weekly or monthly review meetings with your agency dependent on your schedule and the scope of their agreement.
Responsibilities: Know who is responsible for what. You are responsible for the goal, the target, and the budget in detail. The appointed agency however should be responsible for delivering a detailed plan for each project or campaign and there should be clear points of contact so there is no diffused responsibility on either end.
Adapting to change: Be adaptive and proactive. Keep your mind open to new ideas and once agreed upon, trust your marketing team and give them the space to run
If you need help defining your buyer personas, mapping your customer's journey, and implementing the systems to monitor and work towards your SMART Goals, feel free to contact directly so we can learn more about your business needs.