Beyond Clicks: Marketing metrics you must measure

With marketing automation, you can easily manage the targeting, timing, and content of your outbound marketing messages in response to prospects' actions and behaviours.

The trouble with metrics is that they're too simple.


Now, if you're like most marketing directors and managers – drowning in data, with a tasklist you could publish as a novel – that no doubt made you groan. But stop for a second: what if your inbox is crammed not because your decision support data is too complex, but too simple – in the sense that it doesn't give you the right information to do your job?

Think about it. Pageviews, clicks, impressions, the ‘normal’ web metrics the Board likes to see: they're all data in isolation. One-dimensional, free of context. And your business isn't like that. From first lead to closed sale, marketing actions aren't points, they're processes. So maybe your metrics need to measure processes, too.

Take lead generation. People visit your site for a number of reasons. They're the buyer. They're your competitor. Their boss told them to do it. But the only data you get is that click-through.

So where do you look for your new metrics? There are five main areas.

  1. Targeting metrics for lead generation.

  2. Engagement metrics for content marketing.

  3. Conversion metrics for lead nurturing.

  4. Analytics metrics for closing the sale.

  5. . . . and marketing automation to tie it all together.


Effective targeting needs a big scope

Imagine being able to cross-reference those raw web stats so that click is presented to you in context. Not ‘Bob signed up’ but ‘Bob, who's on his fourth visit and came to a seminar last month, downloaded his third white paper this year’.

Now that's targeting. It tells you why the action mattered as well as what that action was. Because that's one way to tell whether Bob's ready for that sales call which might close a deal – or crowd him out because he's not ready.

Engagement: it takes two to tango

Multi-dimensional metrics also let you do lead nurturing right. As Bob travels down the sales funnel he'll be receptive to different content at different times – from a question answered to a deal-closing offer.

Imagine letting your content lie hidden on Bob's route towards a sale, waiting for the right moment to pounce ... You can't do it with a graph of pageviews.


The best metric isn't a ‘count’, but a view on your data that gives the story behind the numbers.


Conjuring conversions from metrics

However, there are a lot of people in your company for whom nothing matters except the sale. Again, multi-dimensional metrics can help. How much of your prospect's thinking is guided by their actions on social media?

If there's a tipping point that makes or breaks a sale, and you've got 1,000 prospects on that point a week before period end, you can look forward to a blockbusting quarter. But you've got to have those data points connected up.


Analytics for fun and profit

Your colleagues in Sales (you do think of them as colleagues, right?) tend to yawn at marketing analytics. But they'll wake up when you show them how connected metrics let them keep increasing sales, quarter after quarter.

Individual click stats don't tell the story. But a pathway of actions presented visually – how a prospect approaches you, what they do next – is repeatable. If 90% of sales come from customers who've visited a seminar, that's a signal to pay a lot of attention to your seminars.


Swinging in the technology

So if connected metrics are the way to go, how do you get them? Surely they're a bit more complex than counting clicks.

Well, they don't have to be. Some tools for marketing automation make it easy, with visual charts you can pull and push until every response rate, every conversion, every sales uplift is maxing out the percentages at every step.

According to a recent Forrester report, marketing automation software users “Measure results more holistically”, “Have higher levels of process maturity” and “Contribute more to the sales pipeline”.


The right software applications can see your database as the big picture it is: each prospect's actions, reactions, and interactions with others. And all of it focused on the person who matters – Bob.


To do list:

  • Ask yourself whether your metrics are predominantly focused on pageviews and click-throughs.

  • Write a list of what you would like your metrics to tell you, in an ideal world.

  • Spend an hour or two researching marketing automation software, to see how the right platform can satisfy your wish list.


Find out more about how the right marketing metrics and marketing automation can help you achieve your goals with our free eGuide: The 5 Tenets of Modern Marketing