Metric's Guide to Developing an Annual Marketing Plan

CHAPTER 5

Measurement and Tracking

When it comes to measuring your marketing plan it’s either make it or break it, and there is one difference between those that make it and those that don’t–  a well defined measurement plan.

The most common reason for the failure of most marketing plans is not the lack of great marketing ideas, creativity, inclusion of specific marketing tactics, or even effective implementation. It is in most cases, always the lack of clarity on the real purpose of the marketing plan and the lack of effectiveness tracking.

Before putting your measurement plan in place, you’ll need to begin by deciding on how frequently you will plan to review the data you’ll be collecting.  We highly recommend measuring on a monthly basis with a more in-depth look at effectiveness quarterly. (Note: depending on the tactic, you should still be looking at things on a weekly and even daily basis.)

Now, you want to create a tracking document that tracks the following data:

  1. Objectives of your marketing plan, in order by priority.
  2. The key performance indicators (KPIs) for each of these objectives.
  3. Your plan for gathering this performance information.
  4. Who will be responsible for collecting and reporting this data.

Everything listed above is extremely important, but if you’re working on your marketing plan, it’s really important that you understand what your core KPI’s are and how they impact the objectives of your marketing plan.

Measuring effectiveness can be as complicated or as simple as you make it, but you need to buy into it. Don’t measure for the sake of measuring or you’ll end up with a bunch of data you don’t know what to do with.  We find ourselves asking these two questions before measuring anything:

1) Do these metrics support the objectives of my marketing plan?

2) Will the data be actionable? (E.g. Can we make improvements based on what we see?)

Our measurement processes are constantly evolving, and it definitely takes time to track, analyze, and report on performance. Based on our experience, here are a few suggestions to help you along the way:

  • Measurement is as important as the marketing plan itself. Prioritize it.
    Many years and many marketing plans later, we’ve realized how critical measurement and optimization are to the marketing process. Measurement is crucial to a successful marketing plan. You can’t improve what you don’t track.
  • Make sure you track your Key Performance Indicators.
    Tweets, likes, shares, and even website traffic are all fairly easy to track and are important metrics to pay attention to. As insightful as these metrics are, they don’t give you insight into the bottom line. You may get a lot of website traffic from a marketing campaign, but that doesn’t mean much if those visits aren’t turning into leads or achieving your intended objectives. Whether you want your users to submit a form, download a white paper, or watch a video, always track your objectives and conversions ruthlessly to get insights on your effectiveness.
  • Make sure your metrics are actionable.
    Echoing what was stated above, making sure the metrics that you collect are actionable is important to the growth of your marketing efforts. Only collect metrics that you want to use and have the ability to take action on.
  • Be prepared to make changes and embrace agility.
    Metrics are going to change over time as you evaluate them and implement different marketing tactics and strategies. We are constantly analyzing our metrics and perform an in depth group review of client marketing metrics on a quarterly basis to ensure they still align with the objectives of the clients’ marketing plans.
  • Automation is your friend.
    Don’t be scared of automation. Tools like Google Analytics, Google Docs, Salesforce, and other marketing automation softwares will make your life much easier. We use a marketing dashboard tool that automates data collection from a number of tools and creates dashboards of metrics for our clients, account executives, and marketing teams to look at daily/weekly.  If creating your own software isn’t an option there are a number of tools that can get you started. Here are a few:
  • Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
    Collecting the data isn’t enough. You need to analyze your metrics to understand exactly where your opportunities are and where you can make improvements. You also want to be able to plan out how you will make those improvements. Making time to analyze and create optimization plans is as important as the marketing plan itself.

We can’t stress enough how critical it is to measure the results of your marketing activities so you can continually gauge the effectiveness of your efforts and use that information to optimize and make improvements. The result? Better marketing and better results. #Winning!