There’s a time-honored saying: “If it can’t be measured, it can’t be improved.” That’s true in most aspects of life and business, and especially in the context of marketing campaigns. The reality is, no business can increase the effectiveness or efficiency of its ad spend until it gains solid insight into what’s working and what’s not.
Gaining leverage on marketing performance is all about making sound decisions based on reliable reporting. Interestingly, one study found that performance transparency (i.e., visibility into all the various elements of a campaign) is worth a robust 10-15% boost in media ROI for large brands. Of course, small to medium-sized businesses can also benefit greatly from such transparency.
Whether you’re deciding on which marketing channel to use for your next video campaign or looking for ways to tweak your latest CTA, it’s vital that you know where you stand in terms of performance. Here are 5 straightforward, practical suggestions that can help you to take your marketing game to the next level — and navigate the challenges of reporting.
1. Develop (or Refine) Your Buyer Personas
This is a foundational element of your marketing strategy that needs to be in place if you want your reporting to have any real impact. Of course, data collection and analysis is needed to develop accurate customer personas for your brand. Make good use of first-party data (e.g., sign-up forms directly filled out by your users) and other data sources to gain valuable demographic and behavioral information about your target audience. Then use empathy to “fill in the blanks” of your ideal customer’s profile, and map out their typical journey from prospect to lead to buyer.
(And remember: your “ideal customer” can change, which means you’ll need to refine your buyer persona to match the new reality.)
2. Understand Which Channels Your Consumers are Using
You can accomplish this task by combining market research with customer data already in your database. The main objective is to know which platforms and websites your target consumers frequent. For example, where do the majority of your new website visitors come from? Do they find you on Google Search? Google Maps? Or do they click a link on your Facebook page?
Again, this is where accurate, transparent reporting becomes so important. Only by means of comprehensive, reliable data analysis can you allocate your marketing resources where they’ll do the most good.
3. Set Concrete, SMART Goals, and Align Your KPIs to Those Goals
Once you have your target audience clearly defined and your high-performing media channels lined up, it’s time to set specific marketing objectives for your campaign. It’s always helpful to follow the SMART methodology when making goals; i.e., your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
This may seem like a simple step to take, but it’s absolutely vital in terms of measuring your performance and focusing your reporting on the right aspects of your campaign. For instance, if your goal is to generate 20% more leads over the next couple of months, you’ll want to pay particular attention to lead generation KPIs like time on page, cost per lead, and conversion rate.
4. Use Advanced Reporting Tools
No matter how well-defined your strategy is, or how well-aligned your KPIs are with your goals, you’ll never gain actionable insights into your marketing performance without reliable analytics and reporting tools. Make sure that your marketing team has the right tools on hand, and is taking full advantage of them.
For example, Facebook Ads allows you to develop advanced report templates for each campaign you deploy on the platform. The Breakdown Menu in Ads Manager categorizes your data into three basic categories:
- Delivery. This measures who received the ad, and how it was delivered.
- Action. This measures the actions that consumers took during and after their interaction with the received ad.
- Time. This features sorts data from your ads by time increments (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly).
Within these categories, there are several subsets of data that can help you to really break down your ad campaign’s performance into its individual components.
Other analytics and reporting tools that you may consider using include:
- Google Analytics
- Google Keyword Planner
These and other tools are helpful for a variety of marketing tactics, from blogging to email marketing to PPC advertising. The point is, whichever tools you decide to use, make sure they can provide you with an acceptable level of transparency into your marketing campaign’s performance. Of course, if you outsource some or all of your marketing to an agency, then…
5. Keep an Open Line of Communication with Your Agency
You need to be upfront with your marketing partner as to what your expectations are for a particular campaign, which goals you want to meet, and how much you’re willing to spend. On the other hand, your agency should also be transparent with you, and provide you with accurate, up-to-date reporting on their latest efforts in your behalf.
The importance of solid, open communication between you and your agency can hardly be overstated. For example, one global brand thought it was targeting over 40 customer segments with a marketing campaign, only to find that its outsourcing partner ran just two variations on the same ad. Obviously, the brand and the agency were on completely different pages!
You don’t have to experience the same kind of problem with your agency. If your marketing partners are reputable, and follow clear, transparent processes — and if you make the time to communicate with them on a regular basis — then you’ll be able to track the effectiveness of your campaigns without a hitch.
Continue to Gain Leverage on Your Marketing Performance
In summary, two of the most important elements of understanding your marketing performance are:
- Having clearly defined targets, channels, and goals
- Using the right analytics and reporting tools
If marketing isn’t one of your core competencies, or if your plate is just so full that you don’t think you can invest much time in optimizing your performance, there’s no need to fret. Reach out to our team of experts at Advantage Strategies today to set up a free consultation. We’d be happy to discuss where and how your marketing performance can be improved.