How to Review your marketing data to know if you’re winning or not.

By Monica Pitts

Marketing is like doing the limbo – you can’t go to the next round unless you measure.
Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been marketing for a while, you need to be continually in contact with your metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.

Before you bunny trail into marketing metrics, you need to do a bit of homework. These three things will help you find the information you need and evaluate your past or ongoing campaigns to make decisions about your future marketing efforts:

1. Make a Plan: You need a plan to follow and judge against. If you can’t remember why or what you did it’s hard to make a judgment about whether worked or not.
2. Tools: Find and use tools that allow you to acquire and easily consume data from your campaigns.
3. Know What Matters: Which metrics are important? Where do you look to find them?

The Marketing Review Pyramid
Reviewing your marketing data works like a pyramid. The wide bottom represents your plan and the activities you execute to implement it. The narrow top is the end goal of your campaign. That goal defines your most important metric. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, then sales revenue is your most important metric. If you review nothing else, review the amount of money or hours spent on your marketing versus the sales revenue you brought in.

Start reviewing at the bottom – without this layer, the rest of the pyramid doesn’t exist. The metric you review for this layer is simple- “Did you do it?” If you planned to make 20 social media posts – did you make them?

Next review the middle layer(s). If increasing sales is your ultimate goal, review the metrics that build into sales – call volume, email inquiries and website visitors. It would be awesome if you could attribute every phone call, email or website visitor to a specific marketing activity, but that’s just not possible. They could be attributed to normal business volume, or to any other type of marketing (like word-of-mouth) because of this these big metrics make up the layer just below your main goal and act as big picture indicators.

Traditional vs Digital Marketing
If you only engage in traditional marketing the big picture indicators may be the only middle layer of your pyramid. If you do digital marketing you’ll have another layer of data to review. For example, if you do social media – review how many times your posts were shown and how well people interacted with them.

Website analytics also offer another level of checks and balances for online marketing activities. You can see how many website visitors came from social media and how they behaved on a website. If you get a ton of website visitors from social media but they leave the site immediately, your website might be crappy or maybe your social posts have nothing to do with your service.

Finding the Right Tool for the Job
The tricky thing with digital marketing is that every channel comes with its own set of metrics and terms, which can be named similar but not identical things. And results will be housed in a unique user interfaces. This is where monitoring tools come in.

To regularly review your marketing data, you need a tool that makes it easy. Painstakingly gathering data from multiple sources online and compiling them into a consumable format takes far more time than most business owners have to spare. Find a dashboarding software that suits your needs or invest in a social media management software to report your marketing data in a way you can easily understand that doesn’t take you forever to find.

I use Google Data Studio to build dashboards; allowing me to review my clients’ online ad performance and website metrics. I use Loomly to review all my clients’ social media efforts. These tools may not be right for you, but there are so many options available that you have no excuse not to review your marketing data.

How Often Should I Review?
Finally, when you begin reviewing your data it’s hard to know what’s good and what’s not good, because every campaign is different. Look at a month-over-month comparison and a year-over-year comparison of your metrics when you review results. You won’t always see improvement month-over-month due to seasonal services and fluctuation in marketing activities. That’s why reviewing year year-over-year is important. Unless you completely stopped marketing, you should generally see improvement year-over-year.

Try not to do a ton of week-over-week review. Unless you’re engaged in a huge marketing push, it’s difficult to compare week-over-week with such a limited amount of data.

You don’t know if you can move to the next round of the limbo if you don’t measure. You won’t know if you’re wasting your time if you don’t document your plans and use the right tools to check on the metrics that matter.

Monica Pitts is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of MayeCreate Design. She spends her days constructing a marriage of form and function; creating art with her design team to grow businesses through websites and online marketing. Monica considers herself an artist, marketer and web dork with the ability to speak geek and English.