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It’s time to up our measurement game, or risk losing budgets

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It’s time to up our measurement game, or risk losing budgets

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If you’re struggling to achieve your sales targets then it’s high time you looked into your measurement strategy. Robert Tadros, founder & CEO of Impressive, outlines a few secrets to unlocking new growth.

Imagine playing a game of soccer and halfway through the game, it’s announced that all players must suddenly wear blindfolds. Or telling basketball players they need to play in high heels in the middle of their match. 

How about telling marketers they can no longer measure their campaigns the way they used to?

Third party cookies

From third party cookies to regulations such as the GDPR and CCPA, the methods we use for measurement and accountability are becoming more difficult. One major consequence of these changes is that marketers are suddenly fighting harder than ever to justify their efforts.

Too often, sales success is credited to other parts of the business, but under achievements are pinned on the marketing team. It can feel like a zero-sum game, especially when you know what you did to move the needle. 

It’s essential for marketers to have accurate measurement and transparent accountability in a time where budgets are tightening and there’s higher scrutiny than ever on business expenses. It’s no longer enough to assume that marketing helps sales. We need to prove how we helped drive business in ways which actually mean something to the rest of the company.

And we need better measurement to do so.

Measuring results

The industry is currently reckoning with an evolution to the customer journey, which has been largely driven by the massive digital acceleration of the past few years. The resistance some people have had to online shopping has been eroded – it’s more likely than ever that people will find themselves buying things online.

But digital attribution is becoming ever more nebulous, largely due to those government restrictions I mentioned earlier. We are simultaneously seeing the largest amount of people that have ever been online in an environment where it’s harder to understand how they’re making purchases. 

There are certainly analytics that are still valuable for marketers to use, but we’re already seeing that these metrics weren’t built for a cookieless future. It’s not about discarding them entirely – it’s about understanding what they mean for how today’s consumers truly shop. This is essential in justifying marketing budgets.

Ensuring that the KPIs you’re looking at accurately reflect and drive towards the company’s bottom line should be the first step for any marketer.

We need to look beyond metrics like click-through-rates (CTRs) and conversions, and instead to revenue and sales, customer retention and lead generation. It’s no longer enough to just take someone clicking through as a powerful sign in and of itself. It’s about analysing what this action means upon the customer’s path to purchase. And if they don’t make the purchase then but return a few weeks later – what fuelled that return?

We shouldn’t neglect CTRs and conversions altogether, but we need to tie them more closely to consumer behaviour and the actual results on the bottom line. 

Revenue is clearly one of the most important ways marketers and performance marketers more specifically can prove their value to the sales funnel and the company. It’s particularly useful when it comes to understanding customer journeys, as it follows the customer from the first time they visit your website to the point of purchase.

Brand awareness metrics also need to be re-evaluated to see what they actually contribute to a company’s long-term financial goals. No-one will ever argue that metrics such as ad recall and brand lift aren’t valuable, but this is just one side of the equation. If you run a campaign that achieves high brand recall, take the solution a step further and work out how to leverage the brand affinity into sales. 

For example, last year Impressive ran a campaign where we moved away from using pure performance media and incorporated more traditional media elements, such as radio. We ended up measuring brand search uplift and saw an increase in sales volume – proof of how brand tactics can be used to drive performance.

With this approach, clients can see the incremental growth that is essential for proving the value of marketing as a business function. For example, performance marketers are very aware of the risk they run by saturating the same audiences but increasing brand awareness can be used to reach new niche groups. Neither of these solutions works as well in isolation. Together, they prove how marketing is a super-tool for supporting sales.

And if you’re concerned about the leg work that goes into re-evaluating metrics and the analysis to understand them, don’t be afraid of leaning on technology and machine learning. 

Marketing technology is progressing at such a rate that it can do a lot of the heavy lifting for us. There’s no shame in leaning into the machines to do the dirty data work for us., Doing so means we can save our energy for analysis and ensuring our budgets are working as hard as they can.

So while it may currently seem difficult to prove the effectiveness of our marketing, it’s far from a lost cause. We all work hard at what we do – we just need to polish off the measurement tools in our arsenal to prove it.

Robert Tadros is the founder & CEO of Impressive.

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