High-quality content is an essential component of your marketing strategy. However, it’s just part of the equation.
It’s equally as important to measure your marketing efforts. Without the right analytics, you could be making mistakes every day in your marketing decisions. It’s time to build an analytics strategy instead.
Marketing Tip for Beginners #1: Measure the Right Things
It can be tempting to just measure everything, especially if you are looking at web analytics. You can count anything you want these days with free online tools, and even more so with paid tools. Of course, then you might end up drowning in a sea of data.
The first step is deciding what is important to measure. Not all customer contacts are created equal. The hierarchy of effects model helps explain why.
Customers go through a series of stages when they encounter marketing messages. They need to see a message (exposure), recognize it (attention), understand it (comprehension), store it in their memory for when it’s relevant (remembrance) and eventually act on it (behaviour).
At each stage of the process, you lose potential customers. Far more people will see your ad than will eventually act on it and buy your product. So it may not be particularly useful for you to measure every impression.
This is called the distant measure fallacy. You want to measure things you actually care about or can influence, rather than seemingly related but distant data points.
For example, instead of sheer visits, you would probably be better off measuring your bounce rate (the number of visitors who come to your site and only look at one page) and the average time visitors spend on your pages. These measures would do a better job reflecting overall interaction.
Marketing Tip for Beginners #2: Get Specific on Who You’re Looking At
Not only do you need to look at the right metrics, but you also need to apply them to the right people. The more specific you can be about your target audience (and you should have more than one), the more useful this information will be for targeting them.
Companies spend huge portions of their marketing budget creating buyer personas. These are character profiles of potential customers so companies can accurately respond to their needs. These profiles are the basis for successful marketing strategies.
In fact, the power of accurate personas helped Bill Clinton win the 1996 presidential election. His campaign team recognized an underserved segment of the electorate, the now-famous “soccer mom”. Tailoring his appeals to this segment helped him gather the votes to win.
Effective audience segmentation, one of the key benefits of marketing analytics, can do the same thing for your business. You can find out which of your appeals resonates with which segment.
That can help small or new businesses especially. Not everyone picks up a new product or service at the same time, as the diffusion of innovations theory explains.
The first people to try something new are the innovators, a small group of people who like to be first. After the innovators prove it can work, the early adopters follow and then the early majority. Only then, after there is a critical mass of users, does the late majority follow along.
To be successful, you need to target these innovators first. But then you also need to move on to the early and late majorities eventually. A proper marketing analytics strategy can help you decide when it’s time to shift your appeals for a new segment.
Marketing Tip for Beginners #3: Where Are You in the Product Life Cycle?
Your key marketing analytics might also change depending on how long your product has been around, and the position it holds in the market. As Theodore Levitt explained, products go through distinct stages and their needs change at each stage.
Let’s pretend you’re marketing a sports drink as an example. Initially, when you’re trying to gain a foothold, you might target athletes specifically: our drink helps serious athletes gain an edge. This hyper-segmentation will attract innovators.
Of course, there are only so many serious athletes in the market. Once you’ve built a name for yourself with them, you’ll want to expand your reach to attract casual athletes and even sedentary people.
But these potential customers may have been turned off by your early message that your product is only for hardcore workout warriors. In other words, your earlier message may hamper your later growth.
Here is another reason why marketing analytics is important. By keeping your analytics up to date, you can see in real-time when your initial appeal starts to stall. Then, you’ll know when it is time to shift strategies (and you can see early if your new strategy is working).
Because you’ve been building those buyer personas, you’ll already have a remarketing strategy ready for action.
Marketing Tip for Beginners #4: Using Insights from Marketing and Analytics Research
In the age of Big Data, many businesses forget that any data you have is only as good as what you can do with it. Data only becomes information with proper selection and analysis. And it only becomes useful when you have an actionable plan to apply it.
In other words, while you’re building buyer personas and deciding on your key performance metrics, keep the end goal in mind: how will you apply this information? There’s no value in measuring your Twitter engagement if you cannot devote resources to improving it.
That’s the final piece of the puzzle: budgeting for improvement. The good news is, marketing analytics can stretch your budget by showing you where to get the best ROI. Instead of spending more, you can spend smarter.
In that sense, marketing analytics is a force multiplier. You can maximize your funds by applying them where they will be most useful.
Marketing Tip for Beginners #5: Stop Guessing and Start Growing
Marketing and analytics go hand in hand. There’s no way to evaluate your campaigns or to know what ads are working unless you know how to measure success. With the right analytics, you can stop fumbling in the dark and start being strategic.
If you’re ready to turn your marketing into a science, browse some of our other tips on digital marketing analytics.