Marketers Talk Metrics, Analytics and ROI

10 May Marketers Talk Metrics, Analytics and ROI

The last panel I attended at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit, on Metrics, Analytics and ROI, proved to be one of the most interesting and thought-provoking sessions of the day. Panelists Sam Ruchlewicz, Warschawski; Robyn Showers, Tracx; and Derek Weeks, Sonatype each shared 2-3 thoughts on how to select meaningful metrics, knowing when to pivot, and failing fast. Robert Udowitz of RFP Associates moderated the panel.

The panelists shared the following insights:

Find metrics that (1) internally align stakeholders and (2) are oriented toward desired business outcomes.

  • Marketing leaders need to determine the right metric for each person and role on the marketing team. These tactical metrics are important, but there also need to be strategic metrics that the entire company works on. A collection of tactical metrics doesn’t add up to a strategic metric.
  • There are a couple of things each quarter that are really important to the CEO. The CEO isn’t going to care about impressions, so make sure metrics are focused on outcomes.

Understand the right metrics relative to the customer’s stage in the buying process

  • If only 2% of visitors will convert, what are you offering to the rest of your visitors? Do you have a measurable marketing campaign to educate and nurture prospects?   If you ignore these “top-of-the-funnel” prospects, then you’re ignoring your next batch of customers.
  • Sonatype is laser-focused on programs to support and grow their top 100 accounts. This account prioritization helps to ensure that metrics are outcome-oriented. For instance, if 600 people register for a Sonatype webinar – then the next question is “how many of them are on the top 100 list?”

Employ a “common denominator” across all channels, goals and metrics to quantify results.

  • Marketers must equate tactics to revenue so the value of an email subscriber or webinar attendee is clear.
  • Robyn shared that her marketing and customer service teams share responsibility for responding to customer service inquiries on social media – rather than encouraging customers to call — and save substantial dollars as a result.
  • At Sonatype, social media is the responsibility of every department. Every team has to be able to respond because inbound inquires can be related to product or sales, for example.

Be picky about KPIs. If you’re measuring everything, you’re measuring nothing.

  • Robyn is focused on blog traffic and social shares. This sounds fluffy – but an increase in blog traffic is directly tied to an uptick in demos, which leads to a meeting or sale. The impact on revenue can be huge.
  • Many marketers work in silos, and marketing leaders need to connect these silos for the team. As an example, Derek mentioned that their community of DevOps professionals is growing, which is great – but only if it impacts the business. Marketers need to see beyond their own domain and tactical metrics — and demonstrate how they are contributing to the bottom line.

Don’t be afraid of negative findings – sometimes you find that what you’re doing isn’t working, and that’s useful too.

  • It’s easy to pick KPIs that you know you can exceed, but it’s just as important to measure things that you might be testing even if they fail.
  • It’s important to fail quickly. A fast no is always better than a long yes.
  • At Sonatype, company executives expect marketers to test lots of tactics, fail at some, and then double-down on what’s working. This works because they have a strategic plan and a culture that accepts fast failure.

Pick the right metrics to monitor for the right stage of business growth.

  • Trying to think about the retention rate for a new product with three customers doesn’t make sense. It would be more important to focus on pricing, cost per lead, etc.
  • It might not be important to measure views on website if no one knows how to convert views into customers.

Know when to pivot on the metrics you measure and the budget you’ve allocated.

  • When Derek started, they were overspending on PR and events – and under-spending on digital. When he realigned the budget, his colleagues were concerned. Yet, with this smaller budget came enhanced creativity. Derek cut the events budget by 25%, and the resulting cost/lead decreased from $100 to $60.
  • Tracx had a lunch-and-learn series but the cost/demo was too high. Now they are planning more small events that have a lower cost and a higher conversion rate.
  • It’s easy to spend lots of money. It’s much harder to be as productive as possible with a smaller budget and no additional team.
  • Lastly, increased lead quantity doesn’t always equate to quality.

This session provided lots of great food for thought for marketers that need to justify their value and their budget. Hope to see you at next year’s Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit.

– Katie

Katie Hanusik
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