Finding the marketing metrics that impact business growth

By Neil Pursey, Head of Analytics and Insights at Hoorah Digital

Digital is complex. It has multiple channels, the possibility of 1000s of audience types, creative assets need to be optimised for each platform and audience, specialist skills that are required for each channel, and the list goes on.

Over the years, this complexity has created silos between agencies and brands because there is no centralised view as to how one channel influences another. Because of these silos brands do not know how organic influences paid media and vice versa or how brand awareness on a social platform results in brand uplift in search. It’s left many brand managers, CEOs and marketing directors disillusioned and frustrated by digital execution and its ability to deliver real business results.

Brands need a 360 view on metrics that matter to their business
When brands are monitoring the correct metrics, it’s a lot easier to find traction and opportunities for growth. The visualisation of data is becoming increasingly important. When overlaying multiple data points together, you put yourself in a position to spot a trend. Digging into the cause of why and how it happened allows for focus and depth of thinking when executing campaigns.

Efficiency within the team is built from there. Creativity increases when teams are focused on data that matters. It also has the ability to bring teams together (if they are prepared to be humbled every now and then). Data can no doubt be humbling; it should be keeping teams honest and objective. This should not be seen as a threat; the transparency is refreshing, ensuring the business objectives are put first and the long-term goals are met.

These trends and traction points that you find will present many actionable insights. That’s where, in many cases, the waters get murky and the ability to execute becomes extremely challenging when data and creativity aren’t working together in an agile manner.

Too many brands work with agency partners who aren’t aligned, each trying to outdo the other and it’s to the detriment of the client’s business objectives. Performance should be everything in digital. The end result is for the brand to drive growth right?

Customised reporting on marketing metrics
The number one request from brands should be to get their reporting right and it should be customised to the person viewing it. A good reporting framework will deliver insights and cater to the CEO, VP of marketing, the brand manager, digital marketing manager, and down to the specialists who are managing and optimising campaigns on a day-to-day basis. This framework will create questions downwards and upwards through management. If the wrong metrics are shown to say the VP of marketing, that person is incapable of making the right decisions to where resources should be allocated to drive business growth.

There are three key overarching areas of focus for brands to pay attention to:

Audience data, which includes age, gender, location, interests and affinities. Within these groups, you should be able to define certain metrics to measure traction on a platform. For example, click-throughs, social engagement, viral reach and the average percentage of video watched. All these are indicators of performance. How does each audience group react to the content?

Creative assets: Once you have your audience targeting correct, you should be testing variations of creative at scale. Different audiences will resonate with different messaging. It’s important to be able to report on this effectively if you want to influence creative decisions.

Platform type: Each platform will deliver different results. Knowing your business objectives and understanding the role each platform plays is extremely important. The sales funnel is crucial here. Again, this is where things can go horribly wrong without a 360 view and attribution in mind.

The next step is the frequency of reporting and access to data. A CEO should not be looking at data every day; that’s the job of the specialist who is optimising campaigns. Management needs to be aligned as to how much data each person can digest. There’s a time for a monthly deep dive to analyse post-campaign performance and there is also a time for weekly check-ins with the specialist teams across the various channels, which provides a space for sharing of knowledge, always-on optimisation and continuous improvement.

Recommended reporting intervals
Each management level should have a unique report to make informed decisions. Below are my recommendations for reporting intervals and the more important metrics that should be reported on:

CEO and EXCO – quarterly
Marketing’s impact on:
● Primary: Sales
● Secondary: Share of voice
● Tertiary: Engagement

VP of Marketing – monthly
Marketing channels impact on:
● Primary: Sales
● Secondary: Share of voice
● Tertiary: Engagement

Brand manager – monthly
Marketing’s impact on:
● Primary: Share of voice
● Secondary: Engagement
● Tertiary: Sentiment

Digital Manager – weekly
● Digital channel’s impact on leads and/or sales

Campaign manager – weekly
● Campaign’s impact on leads/sales/engagement

Platform specialist – weekly
● Platform’s impact on leads/sales/engagement

Better insights lead to growth

Having better insights leads to concrete business actions or new strategic decisions which improve or optimise the way the business operates.