As more and more marketing moves online, having a solid digital marketing measurement model is increasingly important because it lets you know if you are succeeding or failing and whether you need to try something else.
Creating your own digital marketing measurement model will tell you what effect your marketing efforts are having on your business and ultimately on your business objectives.
Making your digital marketing measurement model match how your industry operates not only allows you to customize a plan to your unique business but also monitor and forecast revenue much more accurately.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself: How does anyone know if they are succeeding if they aren’t measuring?
The good news is you don’t have to make a perfect digital marketing measurement model the first time; models can be adjusted as your needs change. So don’t feel bashful about using these tips to create a model that will help you get a handle on how successful your marketing program is.
What Is a Digital Marketing Measurement Model?
While many workable digital marketing measurement methods exist out in the world, I have always used Avinash Kaushik’s model. It is encompassing and helps create a plan that stakeholders can understand and execute.
Think of a sales funnel. Rather than starting with a large group of potential customers and ending with a few who actually buy, we reverse the route. We start with the business objective and find definable and actionable paths to reach it. Be as thorough as you can the first time you undertake this exercise but remain flexible enough to allow for edits and changes as necessary.
Using an “objective first” mentality like this, it’s important to let the senior executives/owners lead or participate in the initial discussions. After you define the objectives and goals with the C suite, it’s time to talk with someone you trust with numbers maybe an analyst or accountant. You may want to talk to some of your sales or marketing managers as well as they may have experience that will help establish what the targets and KPIs should be.
By including stakeholders from different levels of the business, this model will reflect the big picture and include numerical targets that work toward ends that are important to the organization. It also makes it so that all parties involved in creating the model will be invested — and perhaps participate — in achieving what you collectively define as success.
Digital Marketing Measurement Terminology
It is important to point out that terminology matters when you are creating a digital measurement model. The vocabulary used and the meaning behind it needs to be clearly communicated.
For example someone may have a “target” of writing a blog and, as they begin to write, come to realize how important it is to clearly “target” having it shared on Facebook. Most people would see this word and use it interchangeably, although it means completely different things in context. That’s why it helps if everyone means the same thing when discussing an objective, goal, target, or any other key terms used to define a digital marketing measurement models.
There are five key terms that need to be accounted for in any effective digital measurement model:
We will define them below and then use them in a brief example.
Simply put, an objective is something that efforts or actions are intended to attain or accomplish. In a business context, you want to identify the purpose of the business or the business asset or unit under review. Two questions that regularly come up in conversations about digital marketing include:
- Why does your website exist?
- What is the business trying to accomplish?
Once an objective has been established, you can create specific goals for each business objective.
- Goals are observable, specific, and realistic.
- Goals will be leveraged to accomplish the business objectives.
- Goals typically have a finite time period during which they need to be accomplished.
“KPI” is probably the most misused term when it comes to digital marketing measurement. Broadly speaking, a key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric that helps you understand how you are doing against your objectives. Although KPIs are often talked about in general terms like this, I prefer to specify that they are business metrics for evaluating factors that are crucial to the success of an organization.
- Your business model will ultimately affect which KPIs matter to you.
- To really define KPIs, you need to decide on corresponding targets (see below).
A target is the vital, quantifiable value you want a KPI to achieve, and which you’ve pre-determined as an indicator of success or failure.
- Targets should be both measurable and meaningful.
- Having a target that is too big is better than not having a target.
A segment is a group of people, behaviors, or outcomes that you’ll analyze to understand if your digital marketing efforts succeed or fail.
- A segment can be based on the characteristics of a group of people, their lead sources, or their onsite behaviors.
- Segments often help us stay on target when trying to hit a goal.
Digital Marketing Measurement in Action
To show you these different aspects of digital marketing measurement in action, let’s say we are creating a model for a small metal fabrication business just outside of Memphis, Tenn. They want to increase sales but aren’t that interested in doing business with companies that are more than a four-hour drive away.
Recently, the company built a new website that describes what they do and are in the process of launching a new, clearly defined brand. They are interested in using the new site to introduce their new identity and generate local leads. Here is what their distribution of objectives, goals, KPIs, targets, and segments might look:
|Lead generation||More requests for quotes||RFQ form filled out||25 monthly avg.||local vs. nonlocal|
|Lead generation||More visitors to the site||Sessions per month||500||local vs. nonlocal|
By laying a model out like this, it will help all parties involved in achieving desired outcomes stay focused and chart progress. Even though the digital marketing measurement model may need to be adjusted down the line, it will get the company started. As my grandfather use to tell me: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
Adjusting Your Digital Marketing Measurement Model
As mentioned above, you should always set your initial targets, goals, KPIs and segments with the intent of adjusting them later. Start low.
Objectives are the least likely to be changed. This is a good thing. Purposes don’t need to be altered frequently.
The next part of the model is the goals. Because they are derived from objectives, you should be able to evaluate whether they clearly support an objective well or not. Also, goals need to be actionable. Periodically ask yourself: Does my goal actually help my business objective and can action be taken toward it?
With KPIs and targets, adjustments should happen with some regularity. Think of this like driving a car. When driving, we must constantly adjust the steering wheel and the gas pedal — and sometimes we even need to change our route.
Let’s use our example of the metal fabricator outside of Memphis. They realize after several months of collecting data that they are not getting anywhere near 25 RFQs a month on average. Five RFQs per month is their current mean. Since our business goal is to increase sales, we decide that a more achievable goal of 10 RFQs would be a better target for the time being.
The Important Thing Is to Start
Creating a digital marketing measurement model that fits your business can be like untangling a ball of yarn. As you frame your model and begin implementation remember perfection is a myth. The important thing is to get started.
The steps outlined above will help you create a digital marketing measurement practice. In turn, being able to measure and define success will help you establish priorities to help your business grow and determine the source of any problems as they arise.