Measuring Your Marketing: Which Numbers Matter Most?

There’s no question about the importance of marketing measurement. After all, if you don’t measure your market
 efforts, how do you know what’s working?

And yet, despite the necessity of marketing measurement,
 it’s one of the things that marketers and businesses owners struggle with the most.

I recently had lunch with a friend and fellow business owner. During our conversation, she asked me about marketing measurement.
 She said she gets overwhelmed by marketing metrics – there are too many options and it’s challenging to know which ones are important.

She used the example of an email newsletter. What should she pay attention to? Open rates? Click through rates? Something else?

I asked her one simple question:

What do you want your email subscribers to do?

She laughed and I could tell that the light bulb immediately flashed on. She realized the answer was right in front of her, but all the possible metrics and numbers to measure were distracting her.

My friend is not alone. This happens to countless businesses.
 There are so many numbers and metrics to consider that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all.

Which Marketing Metrics Matter Most?

How do you know which marketing metrics matter most to your business? How do you know what success looks like?

Although there’s not a one-size-fits all answer, there is a simple framework you can use to determine which numbers to track so you can do a better job of measuring your marketing.

1. Start with Goals.

No matter which marketing effort you are measuring, you have to ask yourself the same question I asked my friend — “What do I want this effort to accomplish for our brand?”

Let’s use the example of my friend’s email efforts. She runs a technology company that offers training courses and they send welcome emails to their new customers.

For them, here are some ideas of possible objectives for their email marketing effort:

  • Educate new customers about their process or key features of their product;
  • Drive a deeper connection with the customer to get to know them better;
  • Encourage them to buy other products; or
  • Spread the word and tell their friends about the product.

It’s possible that all of these might be objectives for their overall marketing or email efforts. But, for each campaign or marketing activity, it’s important to determine a singular goal for the effort.

If you try to do all of these at once, you’ll have a tougher time getting the results you’re after. Your efforts will be unfocused and your customers will have too many options that they won’t take action.

The key is to identify
 one goal that’s focused and simple.

2. Determine the activities to support the goals.

Once you’ve determined the goal, then you need to think through what will drive the desired behavior. What are the activities or initiatives that will help you reach your goals?

In the case of my friend’s email marketing effort, let’s say they want to further engage the customer and get to know them better with this welcome email.

Here are some ways they can do that:

  • Short poll. Include a link to a one-question poll asking which course topics interest them most. This allows new customers to help influence the courses are developed next and it gives my friend some incredible insight as to what her customers want.
  • Fill out a profile. Ask new customers to fill out a short customer profile that asks some additional information. Give an incentive to do it or tell them why you want it.
  • Request a reply. An excellent way to drive engagement with customers is to simply ask. Buffer is a great example — they are pros at this. When they roll out a new feature, they tell folks to hit reply with questions and they’ll respond. For my friend, they could ask about what problems their customers are facing.
  • Connect on social. Another way to drive deeper engagement with customers it to connect on social networks. Ask them to follow or friend you and then encourage them to introduce themselves. This can be super powerful if you have a closed Facebook or LinkedIn group for your customer base. This will make new customers feel like they are part of a special club.

Get the idea?

3. Determine the metrics.

Once you’ve selected an approach for this effort, then you can determine the key performance indicators (or KPIs). The term KPI is just a fancy way of describing that these are the metrics to that you plan to measure against.

Let’s say my my friend decided to create a poll for her new customers. Now, she has a new question to ask herself – Which KPIs matter most?

 this example, yes, email opens and click-through rates matter. But, the most important KPI for this polling effort is the survey responses.


Because if my friend wants to drive engagement and get to know her customers better, survey responses are the best indication of that. If her customers open the email, but they don’t take action, that doesn’t help her.

It would also help her look at ways to tweak the effort so she can drive more of the behavior she is after.

Make sense?

This is a very simple example. But, hopefully this helps illustrate the idea of what you should be doing with all of your marketing metrics.

1. Start with goals.
2. Determine the activities that will help you achieve your goal.
3. Then measure against that.

It’s as simple as that. And yet, it’s an important process that many businesses miss.
 Don’t let your company miss it. Take the time to go through this process with all of your efforts.

What questions do you have? Do you go through this process or something similar to measure your marketing efforts?

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Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

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