Measurable Marketing

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 23, 2008 5:05:00 AM

    Uber Online Marketing Genius, Mike Volpe, Hubspot VP of Marketing, wrote a post about "Scientific Marketing". He posed some really good questions: 
    • Why does sales think all the leads are so crappy?
    • How come it is so hard to measure all my different marketing programs?
    • How can I use a Blog to better market my company?
    • How valuable is my web traffic?
    • What do all these web stats actually mean for my business?

    At WhizSpark, I attempted to apply engineering to event promotion. I did it pretty well. Promoting a successful networking event, I found, was just a matter of getting enough people with a vested interest to invite their contacts. If I had 20 people promoting it, it seemed to always work. When I had a 100 people promoting an event, we had several hundred people in attendance. Eventually, I built up a really good email mailing list and depending on the event, all I had to do was send an invitation. Of course, the bigger the mailing list, the better the results. HubSpot conducts online marketing webinars all the time with several hundred people in attendance. 

    Event Promotion is Predictable. Measurable. Engineerable.

    In a similar fashion, sales has always been pretty scientific. If a salesperson contacts enough prospects, they'll make enough sales. Depending on the sales cycle, number of prospects touched, # qualified, and historical conversion percentages... sales should be predictable. Measurable. Engineerable.

    Shouldn't advertising be the same way?

    Obviously, the engineers at Google thought advertising should be. And they created Adsense. And made online advertising measurable and pretty damn scientific. Certainly Engineerable.

    Shouldn't marketing be measurable too? It seems to me that measurable marketing is the next frontier.But, how do you measure SEO, blogging, webinars, activity on Digg or LinkedIn, leaving comments on other blogs?

    Isn't this stuff more art than science? No. Not at all. I'm not saying that creativity isn't necessary. And these activities should be treated as opportunities to meet, interact with and educate potential prospects. Not as places to blast your positioning statements or litter with links. I'm just saying that a marketer should put their right brain on too.  

    So, how do you go about measuring it? What are the important criteria?If I take a very web centric view, here's the questions I'd want to answer: 

    • How much qualified traffic can I possibly get to visit my website?
    • How much qualified traffic am I getting now? How much traffic are my competitor's getting?
    • How much of my traffic is converting? Notice I didn't say lead. I think some conversions don't warrant a sales call. For example, someone might sign up for an email newsletter or leave a comment on a blog.
    • How much traffic is converting into a lead? I'd qualify a lead as someone who registers for a seminar/webinar, downloads a white paper, or more explicitly requests someone to contact them.
    • What marketing activities cause conversion events? If someone signs up for an email list, then attends a webinar one month later, I'd say that the webinar is a marketing event that should be done again. If webinar x causes 24% of your site visitors or email list members to convert, and white paper y causes only 2%, then do more webinars.
      If blog post z garners 15 comments from 25O RSS reads with 4 resulting in a repeat site visit and other conversion event after viewing your product description page... than blog post z.1 is something that should write. Similarly, activity by marketing or anyone else in a company, that happens on external blogs, social media and social networking sites, should be measured too.
    Many marketers might stop there. However, measurable marketing creates an amazing opportunity for "Marketing to be accountable to sales" and "Sales to be accountable to Marketing". Remember. Marketing is a Science now. So, we need to know what marketing activities results in leads and sales. Along these lines, here's the questions I'd ask next:
    • What marketing activities are generating highly qualified leads?
    • What sources of leads are converting at the highest rate in the shortest amount of time?
    Many really good marketers with strong ties to sales results would stop there. However, if a marketer puts the CFO's hat on for a brief stint, they'd probably ask a few more questions:
    • What sources of leads are buying our most profitable products?
    • What sources of leads are repeat buyers/ bring in clients that are retained the longest?
    • If I spent x amount of time + y amount of dollars on marketing to z lead source and z lead source converted into client buying revenue r  and profit p producing product and client stayed for n years, what is my true customer acquisition cost?
    • What's my most profitable marketing activity? Which marketing activities are not as profitable?
    And of course, if the marketing person wants to put their CEO, Board Member or Shareholder hat on (and you should probably issue stock to any marketing person that can pull this off for your business), here's the question that measurable marketing can answer: 
    • What marketing activities are best for the bottom and top lines of the business?
    • How much can I grow the business if I invest x dollars into marketing activity z?
    Is your business doing measurable marketing yet? What exactly are you waiting for?

    Topics: measurable marketing, marketing analytics

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