You measure every detail about every program. And your programs are doing great.
There’s just one little problem: you are reporting on a series of programs. Even though reporting shows you are becoming a better marketer, it doesn’t show how marketing, overall, is progressively improving your company’s position.
Here are the five metrics you should be tracking. These metrics can all be measured outside of individual programs and most programs can contribute against one, or all, of these metrics.
Does Your Audience Know You
Unless you are Google, IBM or Oracle, there’s a good chance part of your market doesn’t really know you exist. If this metric isn’t changing over time, you have a major issue.
If you measure awareness with a traditional survey, ensure you are tracking at least brand awareness and consideration.
If you cannot afford to measure it through traditional surveys, use brand searches (reported by Google tools) and branded search traffic (use Google Webmaster Tools to avoid the impact of logged in users) as a very rough but useful proxy over time.
Is Your Traffic Growing
Today, if no one visits your site, you don’t matter. Yes, this is a gross generalization, but all else equal, increasing traffic is a very good sign for your business.
Pay attention to where traffic is coming from. An increase or decrease in traffic from advertising campaigns is far less important than a change in organic and referral traffic.
Do Your Visitors Convert
You want people to actually do something when they reach your site, right? Since you are in B2B marketing, you probably want them to register. The number of registrations, and the accompanying registration rate, is key. In fact, if you can only measure ONE metric, measure this one.
Pay attention to how your conversion rate changes over time and how it varies by traffic source and landing page to differentiate between improvements in your traffic mix and in the effectiveness of your site.
Conversion rate optimization, including A/B testing, is one of the most cost effective investments you can make once you have sufficient site traffic.
Are You Getting The Right People
As you do a better job of reaching the right people, the percentage of contacts that become marketing qualified leads will increase. See the SiriusDecisions waterfall for a useful model of various lead stages.
You can always increase this conversion rate by focusing marketing on later stage sources of contacts, but with a robust marketing automation program in place, more contacts offset by a lower immediate conversion rate could be a good thing.
Is Your Sales Process Working
As your process improves, your conversion rate from marketing qualified lead to closed deal will improve as well.
Marketing contributed at least some of the current sales opportunities. You also provided content that supports the sale and likely established the initial overall perception of your company and product with the audience. If deals aren’t closing, look in the mirror before you point at sales.
Just Get Started
The important thing is to start tracking these metrics. There is not a good or bad value, simply a comparison to yourself last quarter or last year. But as you look across multiple quarters, or even multiple years, metrics like these that provide a measurement across your entire funnel will show the cumulative benefit of your marketing far better than a collection of program reports.
What other metrics do you track for long-term success of your marketing initiatives? Share your answer in the comments or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).
As the head of the Babcock & Jenkins media practice, Eric Wittlake focus on media strategy, planning, and management for integrated B2B marketing programs, as well as overall communication strategies for clients. He has 12 years of experience in digital media and advertising and has collaborated with a wide range of clients, including Intel, IBM, BMC Software, Ciena, CenturyLink, LinkedIn, Barclay’s Global Investors, Fidelity Investments, Vonage and Royal Caribbean. Prior to joining BNJ, he spent eight years with Media Contact while the agency grew from a startup with less than 40 people to a global digital media firm.
This post originally appeared on Eric Wittlake’s blog
Photo Credit: ~Brenda-Starr~ via Flickr cc