Saturday, December 8, 2012

Marketing Plan - Step 7 'Measurement and Controls'

These are the steps for creating a proper marketing plan:
Step 6 - Measurement & Controls. What good is all this thought and effort if you don't know how well it's working?  Thus the need for measurement.  The old, old saying that says "what gets measured gets done" is true for marketing.  The marketing plan is typically constructed during a short period of time.  The macro as well as the micro environments are going to change.  In this modern era of lightning speed of information and globalization, I guarantee you that things change on a regular basis.  So, my fellow Modern Marketer, we must be continuously assessing the environment and comparing our results with some type of measurement process.

The first step is to gain agreement on the metrics, sometimes call key performance indicators (KPIs).  There are hundreds of metrics you can choose from with the dawn of the myriad marketing automation and web analytic tools currently available.  Some of the more common metrics include; page views, conversions, leads, pipeline contribution, clicks, click-through-rate, open rate, form completion rate, ad nauseum.  Financial related metrics may include profit, revenue, net contribution or pipeline contribution.

The point I would like to make above all else when it comes to metrics is the KPIs you choose will send a strong message to the C-suite executives.  The message may even be subliminal making it even more important (or more dangerous).  If you choose your KPIs around marketing-speak; CTRs, page views, open rates or if you choose KPIs around cost or expense; cost per lead, cost per attendee, cost per form you are positioning yourself and your entire marketing team as those folks down the hall who do our ads, maintain the website and make our brochures.  This is not to say this is a bad thing, until the company decides to cut costs.  Surely the company can do with less marketing since they are always talking about obscure metrics and cost of this or that.  They suppose that marketing is a necessary expense (evil) but don't appreciate the value of marketing to the business.  If your company executives feel this way and you don't like it, it's your own fault.

Start as I mentioned in the Financial Plans section.  If you want Marketing to be perceived as a strategic asset and a partner at the business table, make your metrics about revenue!

The last thing to mention about measurement and controls is about the tools.  You must have the proper tools in place to capture the critical data you have agreed to measure.  It doesn't do any good to agree on measuring sales pipeline contribution if you are not able to easily capture that data.  You want to be able to capture and document closed loop reporting in order to report meaningful metrics.  There are hundreds of tools available.  Some of the more popular and proven tools are Eloqua, salesforce.com and Google Analytics, to name a few.

Don't be one of those marketers who agrees with John Wanamaker's famous saying, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."   With a proper measurement and control system, you will know what is working and what is wasted.