Marketing Analytics: How Do You Decide What to Measure?

Jenn Steele
Jenn Steele



Marketing Analytics - know what to measure We all know that the "it" buzzword is ROI .  Here at HubSpot we have a saying we live by:

In God we trust ; all others must bring data .”
-- W. Edwards Deming , physicist and quality improvement pioneer.

So you know that you need to measure your marketing efforts.  The problem many marketers have is figuring out what to measure

Here are a few tips to help decide:

  • Where's the money going?  While it's reminiscent of J erry Maguire 's infamous " Show me the money " quote, your first priority is to show where the money goes.  (And, of course, to show what comes back from the money!)  If you're trying to figure out where to start with your analytics, start with your biggest budget item and work your way down.

  • What do the "Powers That Be" care about?   Does your CMO or CEO have a pet project?  Wouldn't it be awesome to show them a great ROI ?  Conversely, wouldn't it be great to show them objectively that it was a waste of time and money?  (Note: if you do the latter, don't actually use those words.  Present the data simply and cleanly and let them come to their own conclusions...)  Maybe your CEO has a certain budget item under a microscope; measuring that would be very useful.

  • Do you NEED the detail?  It is easy to get wrapped up in the minutae of data points.  Do you really need to see exactly who clicked on exactly which link in your email?  Or would a unique click computation for an email blast or lead nurturing campaign be sufficient?  When you're thinking about this, keep in mind that more detail = more human time spent in analysis and more complex tools required to gather and analyze the data .
  • What if you screw up?  I know that you're thinking about that last point, "But if I don't measure EVERYTHING, my CEO will ask me for that one number that I don't have and I'll look bad!"  You do run that risk, but if you have the numbers that prove the cost of collecting and analyzing a huge amount of data, you can both defend your decision and try to build that time and those tools into your budget going forward.  I'll also warn you that this will happen.  You'll occasionally screw up (being human and all).  To try to minimize the damage, see if you can find out what your CEO wants to see and measure before you begin.  By setting strict parameters of time and what you're measuring, you can defend your data .

You may not get all the numbers right on your first attempt. However, through trial and testing you will be able to build a solid foundation of web analytics knowledge and be able to apply it to your business moving forward.

What steps have you taken to measure digital marketing in your business?

Image Courtesy of Gerry Lauzon .

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