Steps to Connecting Marketing Analytics to Business Analytics
French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900 – 1944)
Most people in leadership positions can set business goals. A large sub-set of that group can also determine what they need to do to reach that goal. Based on industry experience and competitive intelligence, these managers can make important strategic decisions – such as the addition of a new product line or expansion of their manufacturing facility – that will help them reach their goals. But figuring out an effective communications plan, and connecting its success to their business goals can be challenging. Not only because of the specialized expertise required, but also because of the time it takes.
Step 1: Define Business Goals Most business leaders like you know what you want to accomplish. You may be trying to obtain a specific revenue goal or a percentage of the market share, surpassing a competitor in a market segment, establishing your brand in a new geographical location. This is typically the “easy” step for companies to define.
Step 2: Make Strategic Business Decisions to Reach Those Goals Based on your industry experience and knowledge of the competitive landscape, you can also identify any strategic business decisions that need to be made in order to reach those goals.
Step 3: Develop a Communications Plan You’ve got a goal, and you know how to get there. But what about the marketing communications plan? You need a communications plan that helps you educate the market. This is traditionally achieved through a combination of sales and marketing. You may have the sales people, or you may need to hire more. Will you design print ads in your industry publications? Attend trade shows? Add new content to your website? Start a social media program? Or, perhaps, a combination thereof. As marketers, you have to develop a plan that capitalizes on where your target audience spends their time.
Step 4: Identifying Key Marketing Metrics In online marketing especially, there are literally hundreds of pieces of data to track. But some of the data may not be relevant to your goal, and therefore is not important to monitor. You can quickly become overwhelmed by data and metrics analysis. So you have to prioritize what you are looking at. Our advice: track it all; identify metrics that are relevant to your goal and then PRIORITIZE the importance. This will help you establish a Metrics Dashboard and be more efficient with your time. For example, if you are launching a new product in China, it would be important to track how much of your website traffic is coming from China. You may also want to monitor how many website visits you get from any business partnerships websites in China (referring traffic). Even better, you will want to know how many leads or email newsletter sign-ups you got from companies in China. Conversely, it may not be critical to track the growth of your Twitter followers since the use of Twitter in China is limited.
Step 5: Define Meaningful MovementOnce you have identified and prioritized your key metrics, you have to establish benchmarks. How will you know how you’ve improved or declined unless you know where you started? With baselines set, you should define meaningful movement for each of your key metrics. This will be defined based on:
– Marketing industry standards (don’t expect a bounce rate lower than 40% if that’s the norm for websites).
– The potential for that metric in your industry (don’t expect 1,500 visits from a keyword when the total search volume for that word is only 800 visits).
– Where you are in the process (don’t get to 100% of your goal by the third month, especially if it’s a 3-year business goal).
– What’s going on in the economy (think of the impact of the mortgage industry crash, the fiscal cliff, etc.)
Step 6: Connect to Business IndicatorsOk, so now we can finally connect our final dot! List out those key metrics and characterize how each of them directly or indirectly affects your business goals. For example, if your goal is to generate additional revenue by hiring 3 new Technicians to work in your manufacturing facility, some of your key metrics may be:
– # of online job applications
– # of visits to the Careers page
– # of people who viewed our blog post about the new job openings
– # of impressions and clicks on the LinkedIn ad for the job posting
– # of phone calls from the keyword search “Technician job openings Houston” (Yes, we can really track this)
Need Help Connecting Your Marketing Analytics to Your Business Analytics? Join us at IMRevo a free, half-day seminar in Houston, TX on January 31, 2013 hosted by EagleBurgmann. Terri Hartley Hoffman, founder of Houston-based content marketing agency Marketing Refresh, will be talking about online marketing metrics as a component of your Inbound Industrial Marketing Strategy. IMRevo is sponsored by Marketects, Inc. and co-sponsored by Empowering Pumps, Marketing Refresh, DesignBigger, GlobalWrites and Aleberry Creative Group.