Do you struggle to show the impact of your marketing campaigns? Are you frustrated by spending money or MDF (Marketing Development Funds) on campaigns that don’t seem to perform to expectations?

If your answers are ‘yes’, then your campaign will likely be failing at one key thing: measurement.

We all know that measurement is vital for judging the effectiveness of your campaigns and for improving your strategies over time. Even the most well-intentioned marketing activity is effectively a stab in the dark if it’s not informed by data and its success isn’t gauged by data.

As a result, spending your own marketing budget or MDF is essentially pointless unless you have effective measurement in place. Moreover, it will mean that you will struggle to prove its success. This makes it incredibly difficult to strategically allocate budget or measure performance on future campaigns.

So, what’s going wrong?

Too little, too late

Expecting a great return on your marketing, without fully planning how you will measure it from the outset, is a recipe for disappointment. If measurement is considered too late, it’s an uphill struggle to budget effectively and set realistic expectations of success.

Moreover, by not carefully considering measurement, it’s easier to fall into the trap of rushing to show ROI rather than adopting a long-term mindset that better reflects the length of the sales cycle. For example, a recent study by LinkedIn found that 70% of marketers are already measuring ROI in some form or another, yet only 4% measure ROI after six months.

All too often, measurement is only considered once objectives, budget and tactics are decided. In fact, measurement needs to be considered at the same time as defining your goals and objectives – that means right at the very beginning of your GTM strategy.

Here’s why:

 1) It gives your campaign a clear direction

It may sound obvious that setting the right marketing objectives is vital. Yet when you have multiple stakeholders and/or partners to consider for more complex, long-term campaigns, the direction can often go awry over time – without carefully considering measurement.

That’s why the key next step, once you’ve confirmed objectives, needs to be dividing what the most appropriate metrics are to measure throughout the campaign.

This isn’t always straightforward. Often, there will be multiple measures needed for a variety of differing purposes, differing audiences and differing timescales.

This complexity shows why it’s so important to get a grip on everything that needs measuring.  These metrics, each in their own way, will show how successful the campaign is at tracking towards key performance indicators. Choosing the most impactful metrics throughout each stage of the marketing journey means you’re giving you and your stakeholders a clear picture throughout the campaign of what’s working (and what’s not) throughout.

2) It allows you to be realistic about results and set expectations

We can all dream about that perfect campaign that gives you thousands of sales from one piece of content; but the reality is there (sadly) isn’t a magic bullet in marketing. On average, B2B buyers look at eight or more pieces of content before making a purchasing decision. As a result, campaigns need to have multiple different tactics across multiple different channels to get the desired results – and even then, it requires constant reviewing and optimising for maximum success.

Thinking about measurement also requires you to consider customer data, and specifically whether you have enough data to achieve the objectives in the timescales you have.

For example, if you’ve been asked to run a lead generation campaign, but there’s little to no target customer data, generating quality leads quickly will be near on impossible. Initial efforts should therefore be focused on understanding the customer, and building that brand awareness with them first, before looking at tactics that encourage them further down the marketing funnel. Your objectives, timelines and metrics will need to reflect this.

With this in mind, considering measurement at the initial stages means you can assess whether targets can be realistically hit, and if so, how they can be hit. You can then be clear with clients, partners, and stakeholders about what can be expected in terms of ROI. There are more selfish reasons behind this too – according to LinkedIn, 58% of digital marketers need to prove ROI to justify the spend and get approval for future budget asks.

3) It allows you to effectively optimise your campaign for the best results

As the saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” All too often, measuring a marketing campaign happens only at the very end of the process. But by then, if the desired results are not reached, it’s far too late to fix – the opportunity has gone. And even if the campaign performed well, you would still struggle to accurately prove your direct (and indirect) impact on new leads and sales.

With a shift towards ‘always on’, marketing campaigns often (and should) run for at least a month, with many running considerably longer. A lot can change during that time. What performed well at the beginning of the campaign may not necessarily perform well later; one target group may not respond as well to a piece of content as another.

With all this in mind, you can clearly see why a fluid strategy is vital, but this is only possible if you measure what matters. By considering campaign measurement as part of your GTM strategy, you are giving yourself the time to carefully consider which metrics are right to measure. Once you have those, you can decide what tools you will use to track and report on those metrics. Setting this up correctly takes time, so you can save yourself a lot of time – and grief! – by starting this early.

4) It gives you increased Return on Investment (ROI) – that you can show

Whilst we all know the importance of measurement, carrying it out successfully is still a key challenge for marketers. According to Nielsen’s latest Global Annual Marketing Report, full-funnel media return on investment (ROI) is, predictably, considered a very important marketing metric for global marketers – yet only 54% are confident in their ability to measure full-funnel ROI.

If measurement runs through your entire campaign in a considered and efficient way, then from the GTM strategy to execution, you are setting up the campaign for success. Not only are you ensuring you’re using the metrics and KPIs that actually matter, but you’re also tracking each stage of the customer against those KPIs so you can optimise each.

The result?

An optimized, well-performing campaign that achieves demonstrable ROI. Moreover, you will be able to present a marketing report to stakeholders that shows actual results on your bottom line.

Longer term, having these demonstrable results will likely mean partners and stakeholders will allocate more funding for future campaigns. By applying measurement to future GTM strategies, over time you will be able to continue to see better responses and increased growth with nearly every single marketing campaign you launch…which brings us to our final reason:

5) It will be easier to deploy new campaigns effectively

A great side effect to including measuring in your GTM strategy is that the better you get at optimizing, the easier it becomes to implement new campaigns that are already (mostly) optimized.

Like a well-oiled machine, in time you’ll be able to consistently attract new leads and customers with far less effort and maximum effectiveness.

Next steps

Proving ROI for funding has never been more important, yet gathering the right data and deciding on the right metrics can be a challenging task – especially if you leave it to the last minute. By considering measurement from the outset as part of your GTM strategy, you are keeping focus on what matters, enabling you to realistically look at the timescales, resources and data you have and determine if you can reach your objectives.

To summarise, here are five key actions to carry out for your next campaign:

  • As soon as you have decided on campaign objectives, focus on measurement: carefully consider all the various types of KPIs you’ll need to do throughout. Err on the side of detail!
  • Before the campaign starts, set a calendar with weekly reviews of campaign performance. Decide who needs to be involved across your teams, stakeholders and partners.
  • Break down your campaign by channel and by partner, and the performance metrics within each.
  • Adopt a long-term measurement mindset, by defining and measuring marketing ROI over the full length of the sales cycle.
  • Create a dashboard or report to provide a rich review of campaign performance that shows the bigger picture and ROI.
Get in touch to find out how the Coterie team can help. Give us a call on 0113 292 0945 or email us at hello@coterie.global

Written by: Elizabeth Johnson, Partner Marketing Lead, Coterie