Flying blind just isn't as much fun as it used to be.
Recently, eMarketer published results from a recent study (Q1, 2009) of marketing organizations. The marketing organizations are having trouble collecting and correlating information from multiple channels, with diverse vendor-partners managing those channels.
Unfortunately, the necessary data is currently scattered across organizations. Data formats are inconsistent and so is terminology. Until these problems are solved, marketers attempting to integrate traditional and digital advertising channels will continue flying blind.
I think the problem is bigger than that, though. True... finding, collecting and integrating the data is difficult in most organizations today.
But that hides the real question.
What should you be measuring? With multiple marketing channels, there could be hundreds (thousands?) of variables you could watch... Which metrics are the right metrics? Internet market and web analytics have led to an explosion of quantitative data that can be leveraged. Offline analytics are getting better as well through improved survey techniques, in-store kiosks, video monitoring, etc.
Should you pay attention to num of widgets sold? avg sales price? num of clients? num of visitors? landing page bounce rates? ...
which leads to:
that depends on your objectives.
What are your objectives?
Do you seek to increase the number of customers or visitors? Maybe you wish to emphasize a specific product mix? Are you hoping to find customers who become loyal and longtime members of your community?
Your objectives depend further on your business Goals, Vision and Strategy. Do you hope capture new markets? Deepen customer intimacy? Improve brand recognition?
Choosing the right metrics (or Key Performance Indicators, KPIs) based on your business strategy can help to both simplify the measurement process and improve the effectiveness of conversations around KPIs.
I imagine a lot of organizations don't spend time on metrics because when they do, they are overwhelming. Instead, a few, well-placed, well-segmented KPIs can go a long way towards streamlining the understanding of how well your marketing engines are running. Good KPIs should be simple and easy to understand. A one page dashboard that ties the KPIs into the specific business objectives can go a long way towards improving your marketing effectiveness.
It means you can move with nimbleness. You can react weekly... even daily to what is happening. Yet all of those actions are aligned with your big picture strategy.
Strategy can take a lot of different forms. What it really means is that you are taking a comprehensive and integral perspective on the challenge of marketing a product and company.
So... my question, which apparently was NOT on the survey, is:
How many of you employ a strategically-focused marketing approach - one driven by specific goals that are supported by measurable results?
Do you think such an approach is preferable? Is it practical? Why or why not?