I recently read survey results that only 1 in 4 marketers can prove their impact on their company’s bottom line. I found it alarming, but after reflecting on it, my experience backs it up. Working with various marketers over the past few years I’ve been surprised how many campaigns were either “branding” or “awareness” campaigns without any real goals. Even campaigns that have a goal of getting people into a store for a sale had no way to measure if the people they reached out to actually made it to the store, let alone made any purchases. According to the survey:
- Only 26% of respondents indicated that marketing was able to measure and report contribution of marketing programs to the business last year.
- 40% of other marketers were confident their programs made an impact but they had no data to back them up.
- 85% of marketers are under more pressure than ever to measure marketing’s value and contribution to the business.
You can read about the survey on marketingcharts.com if you are interested in more details. These results indicate that many marketers are headed for a career train wreck. Almost all marketers are under increasing pressure to prove their value, but they don’t have processes in place to collect the data that shows their value. Even if your company is growing, and you’re confident your marketing is successful, your job may still be at risk if you can’t prove it. Even worse, your company may be at risk if your marketing is working but the C-suite doesn’t believe it and they cut your budget. Successful companies are channeling their marketing dollars into campaigns and ongoing programs that they know are working, and the data that is being collected allows marketing performance to be continuously improved.
Improving Marketing With Digital Technologies
Digital technologies make it possible for all marketers at companies large and small to collect the data you need. Marketers that can show their impact on the bottom line have a different mindset than those that can’t. Specifically, they:
- Believe they can measure marketing’s value and they make it a priority.
- The hold themselves accountable even if their senior leaders do not.
- They have a plan to continuously improve marketing performance.
The good news is that it is pretty easy to get started measuring and analyzing data. In my Getting Started with Online Marketing article I provided five steps to get started with an integrated online marketing program. Step number one included getting Google Analytics installed on your web site. If you time for nothing else get this done right away, as the historical data provides a baseline that allows you to measure improvements. The baseline may even give you some compelling insights that allow you to make immediate gains.
I have a winery client (how fun is that?) that knows it needs a social media strategy and thinks it needs a website redesign. They feel the need to be more involved in social media as they are an easy drive from a high tech hot spot and they are seeing an increase in younger, tech savvy professionals. Looking at Yelp reviews it is apparent that customers love the winery because of the fine wines, personalized service, and intimate vineyard grounds where the winery is located. While the winery does have distribution in restaurants and grocery stores, hosting more events and selling more wine out of the tasting room are growth opportunities for the business. Before establishing goals and creating a strategy, Google Analytics was implemented on their website to establish baseline data. A couple of weeks of collecting data made a few improvement opportunities easy to spot.
Web site visits on mobile device (smart phones and tablets) are about 1/3 of the overall winery site traffic. There’s nothing surprising about this number, although we expect mobile device use to continually grow over time. We then took a look at the difference between mobile device traffic on weekdays and weekends. The difference in weekends traffic was startling. People view the winery website on their mobile devices at twice the rate on weekends as they do during the week. One possible explanation is that people are researching which wineries to visit while they out on an impromptu wine tasting tour. Anecdotal evidence backs this up. Yelp indicates that many customers stumbled upon the winery after being turned off by the crowds or impersonal service at larger wineries located nearby.
Weddings and Events
Another interesting fact learned from Google Analytics is that the “Weddings and Events” page consistently gets more traffic than the “Our Wines” page. The winery hosts both weddings and corporate events on a fairly regular basis but has the capacity to increase this business significantly. The “Weddings and Events” page is completely focused on weddings. These are two very different audiences. People planning weddings and those planning corporate events have a very different set of needs and expectations. Two issues that became apparent are:
- There is no way to tell if the site visitors are interested in personal events like weddings or corporate events.
- The wedding photos are of no interest, and perhaps a turn-off, to someone planning a corporate event.
Recommendations based on Analysis
Within a few weeks and a few hours of time several recommendations were generated that may have measurable, if not significant, revenue improvements:
- Add a Google Maps link that is very easy to find on a smart phone.
- Make tasting hours more visible on a smart phone. Perhaps put them on the home page.
- Create separate wedding and corporate event pages to align the messaging with the audience and to determine the interest in each.
- Longer term, when the redesigne is done make the website more mobile friendly. I would have recommended a Responsive Design for the website anyway, but it is always good to have data to back it up.
Most of these recommendations can be immediately implemented. Improved marketing performance can be determined by measuring how many people access the Google Maps link, the number of visitors to the wine tasting room, and inquiries for weddings and corporate events.
Improving marketing performance using analytical techniques does not need to be a big task or large cost. Sometimes just the act of measuring and reviewing data will identify improvement opportunities that have a significant impact on the bottom line. Don’t wait for an approval of a large marketing project to begin. Small, incremental improvements that can be implemented right away will have an immediate impact and provide the confidence and experience needed to justify larger marketing improvement projects.
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