Here's a reality check. If you are not measuring the ROI of your inbound marketing strategy, you are misleading yourself about the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Similarly, if you have not clearly defined what constitutes "success" for your organization, you cannot claim to be successful as a marketer.
As Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you are going, you might end up someplace else." That "someplace else" is a wasteland of failed marketing campaigns.
The forest and the trees
There is, of course, no shortage of metrics to capture. It is easy to get caught up in the minutiae of marketing metrics, the myriad of figures and flowcharts that make marketers rub their hands together in glee. SEO ranking, inbound links, whitepapers and eBook downloads, click-through rates, traffic, and social media "Likes" are all figures that provide insight into your target audience, their preferences, pain points, and the probability that they will convert.
The danger is that in looking at all of these aspects of conversion data, marketers can miss the big picture. All of these metrics help to design campaigns that have a good chance of resonating with at least some segment of your target audience. However, many of these metrics do not directly translate into something that has a quantitative value to C-suite executives, who are basically interested in the substantiated ROI of your efforts.
Your CFO, CEO, and board are looking to see how your campaigns perform from a financial perspective, not how many social media likes they received or how much traffic they generated to your website last month.
Want to know more about the metrics those in upper management want to see? Download our eGuide, The six marketing metrics your boss actually cares about.
Measuring with a C-suite slant
The foundation of any measurement of success is a clear definition of what success looks like for your organization. For instance, while success in your marketing department might be tied to the number of leads that perform an action, like downloading an eBook, the measure of success for your organization might be how many of those leads that downloaded the eBook returned to your site to make a purchase based on the information they received.
To put it simply, your organization as a whole is concerned with the measurable impact that your marketing efforts are having on the overall financial goals of the organization.
General guidelines for success measurement
For the metrics that matter most to your marketing department, Juicebox's "5 Rules for Successful Success Metrics(and a template)" lists the following characteristics that successful metrics meet:
- They are actionable.
- They are few in number (think relevance over quantity).
- They are simple and easily understood.
- They lead to specific goal-setting.
While these guidelines apply to success measured internally in your marketing department, they also apply on a grander scale to the ways marketing communicates its effectiveness to C-suite executives.
Metrics that matter organization-wide
Inc.com's "5 Metrics for Measuring Marketing Success" highlights the importance of aligning marketing objectives with overall enterprise objectives. The goal is to find the metrics that connect the dots between your marketing efforts and the revenue those efforts actually generate.
You are likely already measuring organic growth in terms of ranking, number of inbound leads, and landing page conversion. While all of these metrics tell you a lot about the effectiveness of your campaigns from a marketing standpoint, you must capture additional metrics to prove your effectiveness organizationally.
Track how much of your organic traffic turns into leads, how many of those qualified leads enter your sales pipeline, and how many of those leads turn into true revenue sources. The reality is that, organizationally speaking, the metric that truly matters is the percentage of leads that actually bring in revenue.
The bottom line
There can be no denying that marketers who keep a close watch on a variety of important metrics can tweak campaigns to produce optimal results. However, the real success in marketing lies in finding and improving those metrics which truly define revenue growth organizationally. It really is all about the bottom line.
Is your marketing department achieving demonstrable positive ROI? To find out where you stand and how to improve, get your free copy of our eGuide: The six marketing metrics your boss actually cares about.
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