I’m currently reading Double Double (How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less), not for me, but for my clients.

It all hits home with Cameron Herold’s mention of the saying “we can’t manage what we don’t measure,” (Chapter 9, Focused Productivity) and I find that most times, no measurement is either used as a cover-up when times are bad, or as the last priority when times are good. The beauty about online/digital/Internet marketing (whatever you want to call it) is that you can track almost everything–and the data will tell you how to fix things when times are bad, and how you can improve even when times are good.

It’s my job as a digital marketer to inform, educate and guide my clients on the strategy and tactics that will help them get from where they are to where they want to be in terms of performance. So, without baseline metrics to establish a starting point, it’s hard to tell how business is going–if it’s improving and returning on investment, or if it’s worthless. But, even if no metrics or performance indicators are in place, better to start now than never. Herold recommends a great starting focal point in the “Five Ws of Metrics”:

  • Who should measure metrics?
  • What should you do with the data?
  • When should you look at these numbers?
  • Where should you store and track your data?
  • Why should you measure at all?

In context, Herold recommends the “Five Ws” for business metrics on a macro-level for operations management, but they can be applied on a micro-level to marketing performance. Most online/digital tactics have more than enough data to back up performance, but to many, that data lives in a vacuum online (the black hole of the world wide web). To truly understand what’s going on with marketing, data from online tactics needs to be considered within a mixed-media report (alongside offline marketing tactics). Often times, online performance is influenced by interaction with a marketing effort offline–and vice versa.

Beyond the mixed-media report, marketing truly gets strategic when you report against the same data points–from your competitors.

In summary, if you aren’t currently running a fine-tuned marketing program (with conversion points and measurable costs at every milestone in a customer acquisition funnel), start with looking inside first. Define baseline metrics internally. Leverage online tools and analytics to help keep track of performance indicators. Once you’ve got a good handle on how marketing operates internally, look outside to your competitors. Can you underspend and outperform?

Manage to measure. Make it a top priority–the tools are there for the taking, and they’re only getting better with time. Measure to manage. It’s one accurate way to know what’s going on with the business.

Get the book, and read the rest.

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