How to improve your marketing measurement and attribution strategy
Every marketer wants to know if the marketing campaigns they have been diligently building and managing are working. It’s also important for marketers to demonstrate how they are driving real business outcomes.
Yet, this continues to be a challenge. Below, we share four practical lessons that have been learned from years of campaign management experience – from both clients and the agencies that support them.
1. The power of focus
Avoid the temptation to try to track everything. You will end up with so many data points you can’t tell what is working and what is not. Start with the core objective of your campaign. While there are 20 things you hope to achieve, ask yourself what the one thing is that you must achieve. What is that one metric you think about late at night, stress about 24 hours before your campaign drops and tell your colleagues about six months later over lunch? That is the one to focus on.
Not only does this make it very easy to track and understand performance, but it can help take your creative, your idea and your execution to the next level. In addition to being able to more easily work out if your marketing is working, you can ask yourself what it might take to double your goal or significantly drive results.
A key takeaway is that less is more. By focusing on fewer things to achieve, you will ultimately open yourself up to incremental ways to maximize what matters most and deliver a more efficient and connected customer journey.
2. Select the right tools
Now that you have your core objective, align the tool with your desired outcome. Keep it simple. Start with your main measurement tool that you will use for reporting. Senior management buy-in is key, therefore helping them understand your results is just as important as the results themselves.
The reported numbers in your company’s core systems will be different from what the third-party measurement tools say your results are. Stick with the measurement tool that has the most accurate data as it relates to your core system.
With your reporting tool sorted out, aligning your implementation platform to the stage in the buyer journey will make or break your program. Certain tools such as email work well across all buyer journey stages – awareness, engagement, monetization and retention, or however you classify them in your funnel – while certain tools like social ads might be best for awareness and retention only. Determine where and when to use email, social, paid search, display, SEO and video.
Start with keeping your core objective in mind. Work backwards from your objective, to your core systems, to the measurement tool your senior managers can use and understand, to the implementation tool that will get you the best results.
3. Find your unique identifier
Finding the relationship between potential and existing customers can be an ongoing challenge. Assigning a unique identifier can help you get closer to this goal. There are several ways you can achieve this – a phone number, email address, and even Google Analytics user identification. The key is that the identifier is unique to your measurement strategy. Once you have a unique identifier, there are countless things you can do with your data, including identifying trends to cross-sell and finding patterns for more effective promotions.
Web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, help you understand your customer, even with anonymous data. With these solutions, you can find a way to connect the anonymous data with existing customers' contact information and you can jumpstart your understanding of key areas of marketing effectiveness that will deliver real business results.
4. Be agile
Sometimes results will surprise you, so it’s important to be agile throughout any campaign. Embrace the data and allow it to trump opinions and beliefs. At times, data analysis can show that the simplest things lead to the best results. Or, that analysis can lead you down a new path of undiscovered opportunities you hadn’t predicted, which ultimately leads to greater impact. Teams that constantly check results have a better chance of focusing on what does and does not work, allowing them to adjust their efforts in near real-time.
Here are a few key takeaways for an agile mindset to help you recognize project success:
- Collaborate and meet regularly: Drop the silos and ensure you are collaborating and communicating with your team and stakeholders regularly so information and data flow freely and there is visibility across the campaign. Share the information and findings daily and during scheduled weekly meetings. By doing so, you can get valuable feedback quickly and change gears to move in the right direction.
- Be metrics driven, and don’t ignore the data: Let the data guide you. Validate learnings over feelings. Learned results allow the team to focus on what’s driving results and de-prioritize the activities that aren’t to ensure valuable time is not wasted.
- Test, reiterate and repeat: Test your assumptions and tactics throughout your campaign and be ready to adjust and pursue those that have proven results. Don’t just stop there. Repeat this process throughout your campaign to quickly respond to changing customer preferences and market conditions.
- Be flexible: Choosing to actively respond to change rather than following a pre-set plan will almost always deliver a more successful campaign and greater impact to the business.
In conclusion, ensuring clarity in what you want to accomplish, focusing on what matters most, leveraging appropriate tools that help uncover deeper insights, optimizing accordingly and embracing an agile practice are the key ingredients marketers need when formulating an impactful measurement and attribution strategy.
Dave Burnett, CEO, AOK Marketing
Melissa Jung, Partner Marketing Leader, Cisco Canada
Steve Lendt, Director Engagement & Analytics, Motum B2B
Tristan Retelsdorf, Director, Brand & Customer Marketing, TELUS Business
Ashmita Tailor, Director, Integrated Marketing, Microsoft Canada