Track Marketing More Effectively
In this third article in the series, we look at how to track marketing and the means of managing progress in an effective way. We have already looked at the importance of measuring KPIs as part of the broader marketing strategy, and the good news is that modern digital technologies make it easier to track delivery, progress and value than ever before.
The starting point
We have looked at the value of the marketing strategy workshop as a means of discussing potential objectives and KPIs, and aligning them closely to the broader business strategy and goals. This also helps to bring marketing stakeholders together for consensus-building on what really matters from a measurement perspective.
The workshop will typically be attended by key internal customers – from sales, for example, as well as from across the marketing team. An impartial and skilled facilitator from Intrafocus will expertly guide the attendees through the process and ensure that the session remains focused on the agreed objectives.
After the strategy workshop, the marketing manager should be in a position to propose up to 10 marketing KPIs to track marketing effectively. It is important not to create too many KPIs for business-wide reporting, although the marketing team may well use far more internally, particularly for their digital channels. For the wider business, however, high-level KPIs allow conversations to be framed around the measures which have the greatest impact on the broader business delivery.
Gaining consensus and agreement
Once proposed, the marketing KPIs should be presented to internal stakeholders for awareness and agreement, where necessary. This is also a valuable move for relationship building within the organisation and for demonstrating cross-departmental links.
For example, some metrics will invariably link with sales activity, others will impact finance and others will relate to IT activity. An internal stakeholder mapping exercise will help to establish which stakeholders should be consulted for input and approval of the chosen metrics and which should be informed by information and transparency.
Creating a dashboard
The agreed KPIs should be prepared into a digital dashboard for regular submission to SMT/leadership groups and board meetings, where appropriate. Digital dashboards are easy to create and update, and offer real-time views of the metrics that interest each internal stakeholder. They are a perfect example of how digital technology can be used to manage a departmental function more effectively, with less time spent on manual data entry, manipulation and analysis. Typically, the dashboard would be prepared on a monthly basis with an accompanying summary note featuring highlights, key points, flagged actions and any risks or issues for circulation before the relevant strategy meeting.
Making it reader-friendly
The fact is, business leaders do not have the time or specialist knowledge to understand complex KPIs. Yes, it’s vital that your marketing team understands the implications of bounce rates, landing page conversion rates and A/B testing parameters, but the directors running the business want the high-level overview.
With that in mind, create a dashboard that presents your agreed KPIs in a readable, adjustable way for the unique learning style and preference of each reader. The good news is that current KPI software automates much of this process for you. Simply link the system with your data sources (databases, external reporting systems, CRM and so forth) and set parameters for dashboard reports and graphs to be generated. The reader can then select KPIs of interest to see trends over time and read data in a meaningful format for their needs – from bar graphs and pie charts through to accompanying written analysis and hard figures.
The same KPI software also makes it easy for your marketing manager to present progress metrics back to decision-makers, with information at their fingertips and the ability to bring up data rapidly to explain a point or to deep-dive into an issue.
As part of tracking marketing progress and the review and measurement process, it is vital to capture agreed actions and to document them, assigning owners and SMART objectives to each. In this way, the marketing measurement and review process will become cyclical and well-managed as you are prioritising next step actions and ensuring that all stakeholders have visibility of the work that is being progressed and the impact that has on their respective functions.
Together, these steps will help you to create a measured, managed and effective marketing process that allows you to run the marketing function in the most effective way – and always demonstrate its intrinsic value to the broader business.