There is one difference between winners and losers when it comes to web analytics. How Successful Digital Marketers Think About Website Analytic. Winners, well before they think data or tool, have a well structured Digital Marketing & Measurement Model. Losers don’t.
This article guides you in understanding the value of the Digital Marketing & Measurement Model (notice the repeated emphasis on Marketing, not just Measurement), and how to create one for yourself. At the end you’ll also find some additional examples to inspire you.
The root cause of failure in most digital marketing campaigns is not the lack of creativity in the banner ad or TV spot or the sexiness of the website. It is not even (often) the people involved. It is quite simply the lack of structured thinking about what the real purpose of the campaign is and a lack of an objective set of measures with which to identify success or failure.
I’ve developed the Digital Marketing & Measurement Model as a simple, structured, five step process to infuse this much needed thinking. Here is what each step in the process helps accomplish:
- It is to force us to identify the business objectives upfront and set the broadest parameters for the work we are doing. Sr. Executives play a key role in this step.
- It is to identify crisp goals for each business objective. Executives lead the discussion, you’ll play a contributing role.
- It is to write down the key performance indicators. You’ll lead the work in this step, in partnership with a “data person” if you have one.
- It is to set the parameters for success upfront by identifying targets for each KPI. Organization leaders play a key role here, with input from Marketing and Finance.
- finally, is to identify the segments of people / behavior / outcomes that we’ll analyze to understand why we succeed or failed.
Simple, right? It is harder than you might think, “soft” work always is. Before we go into each step in detail I want to share something extremely critical. The scope/breadth the model has to cover.
A complete, and competent, Digital Marketing & Measurement Model will focus on three key areas of your marketing, and in each answer the cluster of questions provided:
- Acquisition – How are you anticipating acquiring traffic for your website / YT video / whatever else you are creating? Did you cover all three components of successful acquisition: Earned, Owned, Paid media? How would you prioritize each? Where are you spending most of your efforts?
- Behavior –What is the behavior you are expecting when people arrive? What pages should they see? What videos should they watch? Should they visit repeatedly? Are there certain actions they should take? What is unique about your effort that ties to an optimal experience for a customer?
- Outcomes-What outcomes signify value delivered to the business bottom-line? A download? A phone call to your call center? A qualified online lead? Signing up for email promotions? People buying your product / services ? A 95% task completion rate? A 10 point lift in brand perception?
Why are we undertaking this digital initiative?
My sincerest hope is that these questions will seed your discussions as you go through the five steps below. If your Digital Marketing & Measurement Model does not cover all three areas of your digital effort, then it is not complete. Please consider revisiting it. Don’t accept a mediocre model.
With that macro thought out of the way, let’s get going and look at a real example of the five step process to solidify this concept.
The business we are doing this for is a real estate company. I’ve picked a tough one because the main outcome is offline success. If they can create a good model then your job is much much easier!
Identify the Business Objectives.
Why does your website/campaign exist? (Think of acquisition, behavior and outcomes.)This is a difficult question to answer because it requires more thinking that you might anticipate. If you do it right at the end of step one you’ll have something that looks like this:
Identifying the business objectives mandates a discussion, multiple discussions, with the senior-most leaders in your company and working with them / sweet-talking their egos and hearts with gentle encouragement, to identify why the site / campaign / digital marketing invitiative exists.Based on those discussions, in our case, we’ve identified three objectives: Create awareness, generate leads for the builders and highlight community events.
Here’s a great test. Your objectives should be DUMB:
If they are too out there, you’ll never get anywhere. If they are too vague, nothing will get done. If they are too lame, they’ll inspire no one. Go for real world, clear, executable and those that deliver value to the company (short term and long).
Identify Goals for each Objective.
Drilling down to identify website/campaign Goals requires critical thinking from both the Management, Marketers, and the Analysts – with Management in the leadership role.
My definition: Goals are specific strategies you’ll leverage to accomplish the business objectives.After going through some of the acquisition, behavior questions with stakeholders, here’s our model:
To deliver on “Create Awareness,” in this case, the site needs to support all the offline efforts along with having a relevant online traffic acquisition strategy.
“Generating Leads” comprises the twin goals of providing all kinds of information that will help potential home buyers to make their decision and to collect e-newsletter registrations as well as e-requests for an onsite tour of the model home by the builder.
Finally, “Highlight Events” is for prospective home buyers (visitors to our site). By making them happy with delightful events, at the construction site hopefully in model homes for sale, they can be converted into Net Promoters (to others) and Buyers (themselves).These goals provide clarity, but they also contain large chunks of specific marching orders for what the Marketers and Analysts need to get done.
Identify the Key Performance Indicators.
Finally we get to deal with data!! I know you’ve been dying to get here. You’ll be the ideas leader here. A key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric that helps you understand how you are doing against your objectives.
Identify the Targets.
It is heart-breaking how few people complete this step. It is absolutely critical, in so many ways.Targets are numerical values you’ve pre-determined as indicators of success or failure.
Ok, so you also need them to plan your site / campaign / marketing initiative better. If you were responsible for getting 5 million visits in a month would you execute your campaign differently than if that number was 500k? Or if you were supposed to reach 1,000 CMO’s would you remember not to use Social Media as your primary acquisition strategy? That’s also why you need targets.
Targets can come from historical performance (how you did last time you / someone did something similar). They can come from other efforts (if my one hour long boring video can get 30k views in a week, should your two min peppy video get 1.2 million views?).Seek people who are accountable (client, management, Finance), they will help you identify targets for each KPI.
Now everyone knows what the company is shooting for. When you crack open Google Analytics, or other tools you’re using, you’ll immediately jump with joy or weep when you see the KPI. You’ll instantly know what is good and what is bad.
Identify valuable Segments for analysis.
This last part is one that is particularly meaningful to me because of its incredible value.A group of people, their sources, onsite behavior, and outcomes.
When you log into Google Analytics or any other data source you are deluged by data and you could go in a million different directions.Remember that we not only wanted focus, we wanted hyper-focus.Take 10 more minutes from the key executives. Have a discussion with them about what the most important segments to focus on are for each goal.
Identify the sources of traffic, types of people desirable, their attributes, their behavior, business outcomes that they care about the most. And what customers to the site might want to accomplish. Balance for the company and the customers.