You have built out a killer lead generation strategy.
You’ve launched your demand generation and inbound marketing campaigns. Your content marketing plan, complete with the latest conversational and video marketing tactics, looks amazing. You’ve set up all your workflows to manage and nurture leads.
The question everyone is afraid to ask… Is it working?
“Most people use statistics the way a drunkard uses a lamp post, more for support than illumination.” – Mark Twain
In a recent survey, 46% of marketers acknowledged that proving the Return on Investment (ROI) of their marketing activities was one of the greatest challenges they faced in the boardroom.
It is important to stress that Marketing Insights goes way beyond website analytics. Businesses need insights and data beyond website performance – they need to understand how their marketing strategies and tactics impact the entire customer journey at the various conversion points throughout the sales funnel.
-Marketing Analytics Blogs-
Why do I need marketing analytics?
Marketing is increasingly becoming a data-driven profession, and going on your gut feeling or using instincts just doesn’t cut it anymore. Instead, by defining goals, collecting as much relevant data as you can, and using marketing analytics to gain insight, you can improve the user experience, increase the rate at which customers purchase, boost revenue and improve the overall ROI of your campaigns.
Here are some other benefits to deploying analytics in your marketing campaigns:
- Monitor trends over set periods of time, and see how they change, as well as any trends that appear at certain times of the year
- Understand not just if something worked (or didn’t), but also get more insight into why
- Centralise your data to get a clear picture of your overall marketing campaign successes and failures
- Understand what your competitors are doing and what is working (or isn’t working for them)
- Get a specific ROI for each program
- Use past performance to optimize campaigns and forecast future results
- Decide on next steps and if you need to reallocate resources our change up the focus of your marketing techniques.
What it can’t do
Web analytics tools will not interpret your data, derive insight, or make decisions on your behalf. The function of a web analytics tool is to report what is happening. It’s your marketing department’s job (or your digital agency’s job) to make sense of the data and make actionable insights.
Accuracy of data: Quality data is critical, but quality does not mean perfect. No analytics tool, paid or free, will give you perfect data. But that’s okay! You’re not after perfection, you’re after precision.
Ideally, your data is both precise and accurate. But in the world of web analytics, your data will never be 100% accurate. Therefore, you should strive for precision, or consistency with your data. This means while your analytics tool is never completely accurate, it is always collecting and reporting data the same way.
As a general rule, you should allow up to a 10% variance between different analytics tools. Anything higher than 10% should be investigated.
Full-stack digital marketing analytics
Your analytics and business insight is only as good as the data you collect. If you aren’t collecting the right data, or if it’s stored in a mix of different silos, then you will be getting an incomplete or inaccurate idea of business performance.
Most companies use Google Analytics. There is a paid enterprise version but for most companies, the free version is all you need. However the biggest issue that we find when we take on new projects is that Google Analytics has not been configured correctly to track the performance data needed to support the companies KPIs.
To get the full picture and to ensure you are getting meaningful insights from your data, there are other metrics which need to be tracked outside of Google Analytics.
We saw in our demand generation section that remarketing is an important tactic in any successful lead gen strategy. Each advertising channel like Google, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have their own tracking code (often referred to as a pixel) which needs to be added to your web assets so you can remarket to these visitors across channels. To get the most out of your remarketing strategy, these tracking pools need to be split further into separate lists to ensure that the person is targeted with the appropriate ad. For example if a person has already downloaded a specific white paper, you do not want to remarket to them with the same ad, instead you want to serve up an ad that advertises a different whitepaper or perhaps an offer for a free consultation. These “what-if” scenarios can get quite complicated so we like to map these out using a workflow tool which clearly illustrates our remarketing strategy.
Are you tracking phone calls coming to your website? – This is often overlooked but in our experience this is often the primary means of contact for lots of companies.
Examining The Marketing Spend
A significant percentage of your digital marketing budget gets spend on advertising – Google Ads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Google does a great job of providing insights into Google campaigns but what about other advertising channels like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? At WSI, we use a reporting platform from our partner Acquisio to consolidate these different advertising sources into one single platform. We can then compare metrics like cost per visit and cost per conversion in one place. This helps us determine the channel that is providing the best bang for your buck and media budgets can be aligned accordingly.
Attribute ROI to All Channels Involved
Just like in the offline world, it usually takes several touchpoints for a prospect to become a lead. They may have initially clicked on your PPC ad and visited your website. They then were remarketed to on Facebook and LinkedIn and signed up for one of your whitepapers. You then emailed them with an offer and they replied to setup a meeting. For most companies this conversion would be attributed to the last channel – i.e. email marketing. Although this is a nice neat solution its not really telling the full story of how the person became a lead. Each marketing tactic should get some credit for the rol it played – PPC got the initial introduction to your brand, LinkedIn and Facebook got them re-engaged and your targeted email closed the deal. The correct way to address this “sharing of the credit” is through Cross channel attribution.
Without full-stack analytics, you are virtually guaranteed to miss critical insights and opportunities for improved marketing performance. With full-stack analytics, you can better plan, implement, execute, track, and optimize marketing campaigns. This can lead to better relationships with customers, improved pricing, a more efficient lead generation and nurturing process, more repeat customers and, ultimately, better revenue.
Only 44% of CMOs say they can measure ROI, while 84% of marketers cannot measure and report on the contribution of their programs to the business. In addition more than 80% of marketers are dissatisfied with their ability to measure marketing ROI, according to one survey.
It would appear that John Wanamaker’s famous quote, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” is still very valid for many marketers today.
Marketers need to employ analytics and get insight that goes way beyond measuring website visitors and clicks. They need to understand how their marketing strategies and tactics impact the entire customer journey at the various conversion points throughout the sales funnel.
To be able to do this, you need to start by clearly setting out SMART goals and objectives for your lead generation strategy. As the acronym suggests, these goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based
After that, you need to set Key Performance Indicators (KPI) so you can evaluate how campaigns are performing, as well as measure the successes and failures of particular activities and business areas.
You’re unlikely to be able to measure every single metric, so make sure you pick ones that are meaningful for your business, and will allow you to identify opportunities for improvement. These goals and KPIs should be decided collaboratively across the business so as to ensure you are collecting and analyzing data that gets insight that can be applied to different areas of the business.
Setting smart goals and defining KPIs is a key output from our Digital Strategy blueprint workshop. It is the cornerstone of all of our campaigns – Our philosophy is – how can we possibly determine if a campaign is successful if we don’t know what we were shooting for to begin with.
When working with clients, one of the challenges we encounter time and time again is “analysis paralysis”. The client often has lots and lots of analysis from their different marketing systems but there is so much data they don’t know where to start. There is no clear actionable insight that can be used to improve campaign performance.
At WSI we are big fans of the analytics scoreboard (or dashboard). This is a high level executive report of activity, behavior and impact, reported on a single page. We sit down and agree with you on the most important metrics that should be reported on. The objective is to provide an executive dashboard that is both informative and actionable, providing end-to-end insight on the input of activity and the resulting outcomes. It calculates the actual business impact of all activity and marketing investments.
At WSI, we can have significant experience in putting together digital marketing strategies and plans to help you get the insight you need from your data that will make all your campaigns thrive while boosting ROI.