By Chuck Leddy
We detailed seven massive benefits of marketing automation (MA) in a previous blog post. One of the biggest benefits is the ability to track and monitor the performance of campaigns, allowing marketers to move iteratively from “go live” to peak performance. As the prior post explained, “the effectiveness of any marketing campaign must be analyzed through measurable data collected through precise tracking and monitoring, then evaluated against specific success criteria” designed in advance. Marketers might call these success criteria “key performance indicators” (KPIs) or “success drivers.” Marketers might also define and track relevant metrics related to customer behavior/CX through specific channels.
What MA-enabled tracking and monitoring unleashes is invaluable: it gives marketers real-time visibility into what’s working and what’s not, allowing you to correct course depending on “the story” customer data is telling. It’s like being the captain in the cockpit, having precise flight navigation tools within reach as you’re flying to the pre-defined destination (i.e., you’ve already planned and designed your campaign before launch). The campaign data you collect and analyze along the way gets transformed into business intelligence (BI), actionable insights that lead to ever-improving processes going forward.
Build Your Measurement Model
As the age-old business saying goes, “that which gets measured, gets done.” You’ll need to begin by carefully defining “what success looks like” for each campaign. As Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, explains, “[t]he root cause of failure in most digital marketing campaigns is not the lack of creativity . . .[but] a lack of an objective set of measures with which to identify success or failure.”
Your measurement model should “start with the end in mind,” posing key questions such as: why are we launching this campaign?; what are we seeking to achieve in terms of changing customer behavior?; what business targets are we trying to hit and why? Once you’ve answered these foundational “why” questions, you’ll move to defining key performance indicators (KPIs) within each business objective. KPIs are simply indicators of how you’re actually performing against your stated business objectives. So if your goal is to raise awareness for a product launch, one KPI might be downloads of a video product demo or white paper you’ve created.
You’ll also need to define the tools you’ll use to measure and report your KPIs and metrics to stakeholders. Here, you may want to include data analysts, IT experts and (certainly) your marketing automation vendor/partner. The number of tools available to measure campaign performance is breathtaking, and growing constantly, so finding the right tools to meet your tracking and measurement needs may take time and due diligence. You might, for example, choose a Business Intelligence (BI) tool like Tableau to enable you to visualize your data, integrating it into “smart” dashboards.
The Value of Real-Time Monitoring
Real-time monitoring doesn’t just offer valuable feedback on the effectiveness of your campaign strategy. It also enables you to reach out and respond to, say, social media conversations as those conversations are happening. You can actually help shape those conversations about you and your campaign. You might also deploy tools that enable you to perform sentiment analysis, allowing you to understand the array of emotions customers may have about your brand and content.
Monitoring is equally useful from a retrospective perspective. You can use measurements of what worked to inform your future campaigns, giving you data-driven insights and a solid working hypothesis about what to do (or not to do) in the next campaign.
Analyze Data and Learn On the Go
George Stenitzer, CEO of Crystal Clear Communications, suggests that your entire marketing team meet regularly to talk about and analyze what the data is telling you. “Bring the whole marketing team together to discuss marketing metrics regularly,” advises Steinitzer, “[i]nvite individuals to dream up their own hypotheses about why certain measures are trending up or down. With a set of competing hypotheses in hand, you can test them to learn which hold up.” Analyze, develop hypotheses, test them, evaluate results, and feed what you’ve learned back into a continuous learning (and process improvement) loop.
The value of tracking and monitoring is simple: it improves what you do as a marketer and lets you adjust course to optimally reach your customers no matter where they are in the journey. No matter how good the planning and design of your campaign, no matter how well you think you understand your customers and their behavior, you will occasionally find yourself off course. Tracking and monitoring are the tools to get your campaign back on course.
Visibility into your data is key here, putting marketers in the campaign cockpit and giving you a dashboard to continually re-align your KPIs with your ultimate destination. Having a map beforehand and a way to course correct beats “flying by the seat of your pants” every single time.
The infamous story of aviator Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan is an instructive case in point. Corrigan, who’d been a mechanic for aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, decided to fly solo from New York City to California. Some 29 hours after he set out from a Brooklyn airfield, “Wrong Way” Corrigan landed his plane down in Dublin, Ireland. He’d mistakenly flown east instead of west, earning an infamous nickname that no aviator or marketer would ever want.
With MA’s capacity to help you track and monitor your campaigns after they’ve taken flight, you’ll never plot a course for California and mistakenly end up in Dublin.
Our team at Sojourn Solutions is here to help you stay on course with your campaign tracking and monitoring – reach out to us today to learn more.