- “Marketing Metrics” by Christina Inge is a comprehensive guide that explores the world of marketing analytics and data-driven decision-making, equipping marketers with the tools to optimize their strategies and drive business success.
- If you’re looking to enhance your marketing skills and harness the power of data for improved results, don’t miss out on the insights and practical advice offered in “Marketing Metrics.” It’s a must-read for marketing professionals and anyone interested in the intersection of data and marketing.
Thoughtlight CEO Christina Inge understands the problem every business faces in the modern world – too much data, too little time to process it. Her practical guide, Marketing Metrics, will not only show you what data you need to collect and how, but will steer you through the process of integrating your different data streams, putting essential metrics onto dashboards that your team can use, and turning information into a strategy for growth.
- Modern marketing metrics help you understand how customers are interacting with your brand, but they also represent new challenges.
- An effective marketing plan begins with customer relationship management (CRM) data.
- Channels are not all the same. The right metrics can determine which channels are helping you reach your target audience.
- An attractive logo does you little good until your brand builds equity.
- Optimize your content marketing through theme mapping and value scoring.
- Businesses have traditionally relied on standard market research for data on their products, but digitally focused metrics may provide the competitive edge you’re looking for.
- Build a data culture in your organization.
- Crucial skills for a data-savvy marketer are communication, synthesis and analysis, numerical literacy, system thinking, ethics, and empathy.
Modern marketing metrics help you understand how customers are interacting with your brand, but they also represent new challenges.
With the advent of big data, you can determine where your customers are coming from, what they’re looking for, how likely they are to purchase, and even what they will likely do in the future – vital information for developing your marketing strategy. Executives know data-driven marketing is critical for competitive advantage, but many are unsure of how best to make use of the data available to them.
The data now available is more complex and poses new challenges. It comes from new technologies (such as AI and machine learning) as well as information collected directly from customers, and it is often stored in different forms and scattered across the organization. Taking full advantage of it means changing long-established practices and developing more responsive, real-time processes.
A modern company needs a metrics-driven culture, one in which data impacts all operations. But that will only be effective when there is an overall strategy for evaluating data in the context of the nature of your business, your customers and your overall marketing plan. What marketing metrics offer is more like a compass than a map, and the savvy user never loses sight of the big picture.
“Empathy is the secret sauce that makes data useful and it is what sets Coca-Cola apart from other brands when it comes to marketing. It’s the understanding of why people buy a product – not just what they buy.”
Marketers must be willing to experiment; combining different metrics may reveal significant patterns, relationships or trends. The data will not replace the know-how of a marketer who can interpret and apply the information. Neither will metrics take the place of empathy for the customer, meaning an understanding of the customer’s buying process and what the product means in the customer’s life.
An effective marketing plan begins with customer relationship management (CRM) data.
Focus on the metrics that enable you to target customers with messaging, offers, and products; identify the principal segments of your market; and pinpoint the most valuable customers and segments.
The “core four” customer metrics are:
- Revenue-based metrics – These help you identify high-value customers, so that you can give priority to their needs and preferences in decisions regarding products, price points and user-interface design.
- Conversion metrics – These tell you how your highest-value customers are finding you and choosing your brand. You want to know what channel they originated from, what messages were effective with them and what triggered their initial decision to buy.
- Communication data – These include email open rate, email click-to-open rate and top email topics, which will help you optimize your communication strategy by identifying customers’ preferred cadence, formats, media and messaging.
- Customer loyalty, value and retention data – These are crucial for sustained profitability. You want to know which customers are on the verge of leaving, which ones may be open to an upsell and which ones may be costing more in service than the revenue they bring.
Other valuable sources of customer data include keyword data from customer searches, data from social media, metrics related to ad responses, surveys, focus groups and website analytics data. New laws – and heightened consumer sensitivity to privacy concerns – have blocked some of the once-easy sources of customer data. Much of that data is still available, and research demonstrates that customers like the personalized service it allows organizations to provide, such as targeted ads. However, it is vitally important to be respectful of consumers’ wishes, transparent regarding what data you are collecting and aware of applicable laws in your area.
Your goal should be a comprehensive view of your customers that integrates data from different sources, allows you to segment your market for precision targeting and tracks consumer behavior over time. Your investment in a good CRM system will do you little good, however, if your marketing team does not receive the training to interpret and apply the data you collect.
Beyond the individual customer level, CRM and related data can help you identify:
- Customer segmentation – This refers to your main customer base that is large enough (10% or more) for targeting, profitable enough to justify such efforts and relevant to your business model.
- A metrics-driven customer persona – This describes your typical customer, including behavior patterns, motivations and acquisition channels. This composite will need to be updated regularly as external factors change the buying environment.
- Journey mapping – This is the step-by-step process of charting customer behavior, most typically applied to purchasing, with the aim of guiding strategic decisions.
Your CRM system can be of inestimable value to your business, but to maximize its potential you must use it comprehensively, not just as a sales-tracking tool. All marketing activities – advertising, email, social media, and so on – should be integrated with the CRM for collecting customer metrics, whether the CRM is a full-suite market automation tool or just one of several dedicated platforms.
Channels are not all the same. The right metrics can determine which channels are helping you reach your target audience.
The four main channel types are paid, earned, shared and owned (PESO):
- Paid media (advertising you buy) – These typically include extensive ROI tracking metrics.
- Earned media (unpaid media coverage and word of mouth) – While generally out of your control and hard to track, you can use these media to keep track of leads or sales generated.
- Shared media (mainly social media) – These are easier to track and scale, and encompass not only leads and sales but also sentiment.
- Owned media (your website, blog, email list, and so on) – These media offer various tracking tools and measures of engagement.
Common measures of ROI include cost per conversion, cost per thousand impressions, click-through rate, conversion rate, brand awareness, sentiment, purchase likelihood, and lift, among others. The meaning and applicability of these depend on the channel.
Social media metrics are less about sales or leads, which are not typically directly connected, but more about brand awareness. They require constant tracking so that you can experiment with new ways to respond to changing algorithms and maximize your impact. The fundamental stats are not followers (mainly a vanity metric) but reach and engagement.
“Before the sale there’s a click. Before the click, consumers see an ad, walk past a poster, hear a podcast spot or interact on social media.”
Measuring the impact of earned media – whether from word of mouth, news coverage, or planned PR campaigns – generally requires active marketing research (for example, surveys) rather than automated data gathering. Numerous approaches and metrics exist, but the bottom line statistic is lift: an increase in sales resulting from the campaign.
An attractive logo does you little good until your brand builds equity.
The visual elements of your company’s identity – logo, color palette, font and style – are an important feature of consumers’ awareness of your brand. Collect them in a brand book for all your designers to follow, in order to maintain a consistent image across channels and activities.
“Metrics-driven branding is key to creating a brand that goes beyond your internal team’s creative vision to what resonates emotionally with your customers.”
Brand strategy is how you use your brand to achieve your business goals, such as sales, customer retention or website traffic. It has many features, including brand awareness, associations, perception and recall, but the bottom line is brand equity – the brand value in a specific market.
Brand equity is the consumer’s perception of quality that allows you to sell your products at premium prices. This may be an affective premium – consumer belief in the superiority of your products (think Coca-Cola) – or an innovation premium – consumer belief that your products offer some unique advantage (think Apple).
In addition to sales metrics, assess brand awareness, perception and equity with old-fashioned market research tools – for example, surveys, focus groups and individual interviews. Tools are also available to gather brand-specific search data, “listen” to social media for mentions of your brand or carry out holistic brand tracking.
Optimize your content marketing through theme mapping and value scoring.
Online content – for example, blog posts, videos and white papers – is a great tool for attracting and engaging consumers for the purpose of converting them into leads and customers. By making a long-term commitment to providing high-quality content over multiple channels, you not only build brand awareness and respect, but you make your overall marketing program stable, substantive and sustainable.
A theme map is a visual representation of the core value your company offers, its customers and the pivotal themes of your marketing campaign. This map lets you audit your content for value to see how well each offering is promoting your message, and how well it will attract the customers who contribute most to your revenue.
Web education broadcasts are expensive to produce, so you want to study their effectiveness – which parts are drawing the most engagement from the most valuable customers – to guide your next production. Essential metrics include number of registrants, how many actually watched it, length and level of engagement, how many opened your follow-up emails, and what actions your watchers took. A high bounce rate (people clicking in and leaving quickly) and a low repeat visitor percentage mean you have a problem with content quality – that is, customers aren’t finding what they are looking for.
Businesses have traditionally relied on standard market research for data on their products, but digitally focused metrics may provide the competitive edge you’re looking for.
Products have a natural life cycle and that cycle moves faster in today’s markets. What you need to know depends on where your product sits in that cycle.
- Introduction – At the start of your product’s life cycle, generate and track awareness and interest, for example, customer website visits.
- Growth – This stage involves securing engagement and conversion rates.
- Maturity – At this point of the cycle, pursue ways to enhance profitability, market share and customer satisfaction.
- Decline – At this stage, sales may be decreasing. Ask: Is there a way to reengage customers?
Study user experience (UX) to learn how users interact with your product, what they like or dislike, and what they wish it did that it doesn’t. UX data mostly requires talking to users or directly studying how they use the product. Quality UX research can tell you how best to position your product or service by creating a unique selling proposition (USP) that sets you apart from the competition. It tells you which features to emphasize in marketing, helps identify key market segments, provides customer language for use in promotions and may even suggest new potential types of customers.
Web analytics offer a detailed view of customers’ needs and wants. What keywords drive their searches? What options do they look at before purchasing others? How do their shopping and buying patterns vary with seasons or relate to demographics?
Don’t forget to study your competition. What features of their products do consumers love? What is working for them in SEO, and in what channels? Competitive marketing need not be head-to-head so much as positioning your products to take advantage of opportunities others are neglecting.
Build a data culture in your organization.
A marketer should be a data evangelist, teaching others to use data effectively, taking the lead in data-driven decision-making, and helping build a culture of data in the organization. Good use of metrics enables good decisions, improves business processes and encourages innovation. Your goal should be to teach colleagues to rely less on gut feel and more on data in their decision-making.
“As a marketer…you have your finger on the pulse of most of the metrics your organization needs to grow: the voice of the customer, the competitive landscape and the newest industry trends.”
Democratize your data. Break the metrics out of their specialized silos and give everyone in your organization access to the numbers that will improve their job performance and let them see the impact of what they’re doing. Self-service data availability can change the culture of the company, but only if all users are trained on how to access and use the data they need every day.
Most organizations have tons of data but little time for learning how to use it. The answer is dashboards: specialized displays of your metrics in easily digested formats that facilitate decision-making. Dashboards should be tailored to the needs of different workers and departments, but they should be simple, focused on the essential metrics and updated constantly.
Crucial skills for a data-savvy marketer are communication, synthesis and analysis, numerical literacy, system thinking, ethics, and empathy.
It’s not enough to understand the numbers if you can’t explain them and inspire your team to act on them. Many people are intimidated by data and statistical relationships, so marketers must practice using simple sentences that help them understand what the numbers mean and why they matter.
The data is descriptive, but you must be prescriptive. The marketer with a future-thinking mind-set anticipates trends, problems and market changes by studying the patterns of past successes and setbacks. The resulting strategy must be grounded in empathy – a true understanding of what the customer needs from your company.
Ethical handling of data must be built into your data governance plan. This interdisciplinary field encompasses consideration of data storage, access control, handling protocols and cybersecurity.
About the Author
Christina Inge is founder and CEO of Thoughtlight, a consulting firm specializing in digital marketing and analytics strategies. She is a Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council member, and an instructor at Harvard University Extension School and Northeastern University College of Professional Studies.
Marketing, Analytics, Data Science, Business Strategy, Digital Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, Advertising, Market Research
“Marketing Metrics” by Christina Inge is a comprehensive guide that delves into the world of marketing analytics and data-driven decision-making. The book emphasizes the critical role of metrics in modern marketing, explaining how data can be harnessed to optimize strategies and drive business success. It covers a wide range of topics, from understanding customer behavior to measuring the effectiveness of various marketing channels, making it a valuable resource for both marketing professionals and those looking to gain a deeper understanding of the subject.
Inge starts by setting the foundation for marketing metrics, highlighting the significance of measurement in today’s competitive landscape. She explores the concept of the marketing funnel, illustrating how metrics can be employed at each stage to enhance customer acquisition, conversion, and retention. Throughout the book, the author provides numerous real-world examples and case studies, making the content highly practical and easy to grasp.
One of the book’s strong points is its coverage of digital marketing metrics. Inge discusses the importance of tracking online activities, such as website visits, email campaigns, and social media engagement, offering guidance on tools and techniques to collect and analyze data effectively. She also touches on the crucial role of marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) systems in data-driven marketing.
Furthermore, “Marketing Metrics” delves into the world of customer segmentation, helping marketers understand how to tailor their strategies to different audience segments and measure their impact. The book also addresses the evolving landscape of marketing, including the integration of AI and machine learning, and how these technologies can be leveraged for improved marketing performance.
Christina Inge’s “Marketing Metrics” is an indispensable resource for marketers looking to make informed decisions and drive results through data-driven strategies. The book provides a clear and comprehensive overview of marketing analytics, making it accessible to both beginners and experienced professionals. The real-world examples and practical advice make it a valuable reference for anyone seeking to optimize their marketing efforts.
Inge’s writing is engaging and accessible, and she successfully navigates the often complex world of marketing metrics. Her approach to explaining concepts and providing actionable insights is commendable. The inclusion of digital marketing and its role in the modern marketing landscape is particularly relevant and timely.
Overall, “Marketing Metrics: Leverage Analytics and Data to Optimize Marketing Strategies” is a must-read for anyone in the marketing field. It equips readers with the knowledge and tools needed to make data-driven decisions, measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and ultimately achieve better results.
In conclusion, “Marketing Metrics” is a valuable resource that demystifies the world of marketing analytics and data-driven decision-making, making it accessible and practical for marketers of all levels of expertise.