Modern Marketing Influencer Blog Series: 3 Costly Mistakes to Avoid when Measuring Performance

April 17, 2019 | 4 minute read
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“The Modern Marketing Influencer Blog Series asked top influencers from across the marketing spectrum what’s on their minds and what topics and pressing issues in their fields are begging for more insight. Here they share their thoughts on making the best use of research, planning, testing and data.”

In our increasingly data-led world, high-performing marketers are not successful simply because they are fortunate. They achieve success because they:

  • Heavily research concepts before acting on them
  • Plan, test, and improve their marketing methods
  • Measure what matters (using only relevant metrics to suit business objectives)

High performers apply these elements equally. They know that even a slight imbalance can result in wasted time and money. If this happens to be your experience, you aren’t alone.

According to CoSchedule’s 2018 survey of 1,597 pro marketers across 83 countries, only 58% of marketers say they are often successful in achieving their marketing goals. Additionally, 92% of marketers recognize the need for tangible reporting, but more than 50% say their efforts need improvement, according to a Dun & Bradstreet survey of more than 300 companies across the globe.

These somewhat dire figures illustrate a need to focus on improving measurement. How can we be satisfied with outcomes if our analysis is flawed and ROI not correctly attributed? This need becomes more urgent as more is spent on marketing, and 57% of enterprise CEOs expect to increase their marketing spend in 2019.

Is it wise to spend more money without fixing measurement? Probably not. Ensure results are worthy of your budget by avoiding these three mistakes:

Mistake No. 1: Misalignment with Your CMO’s Needs

Likes, shares, impressions, traffic, leads, click-through rates, micro conversions—these metrics may bring you a superficial sense of accomplishment, but are they really catering to the expectations of senior executives?

“No” is a safe bet because your CMO must report back to his/her counterparts, who will want to see actionable results. Marketing all boils down to the level of money in, weighed against money out. Without this key insight, the business is going to be leaking marketing dollars everywhere.

So, give your CMO metrics that actually help them wow executives:

  • Return on investment (high-level ROI, then broken down by campaign performance)
  • Channel attribution (the bigger picture, crediting marketing channels with revenue)
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Customer lifetime value (CLTV)
  • CLTV/CAC (a ratio that indicates how much you’re spending to acquire each customer)
  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT), which is closely associated with referral rate and value of referrals (as a percentage of total revenue)

Mistake No. 2: Trying to Impress with Selective Reporting

According to Deloitte’s 2018 CMO Survey, 60% of marketers feel pressured to prove ROI. But sweeping under-performance under the carpet isn’t going to help anybody in the long run. Metric manipulation is one of the most damaging mistakes any marketer can make in their career. It hurts the business, and digital paper trails will always lead back to you.

If something isn’t working, transparently report it, gather feedback and ideas, then improve it. An accurate “bad” report is infinitely better than an incorrect “great” report.

Structure reports in alignment with pre-agreed KPIs that match wider business goals and decisively communicate the need for any adjustments if required.

Mistake No. 3: Failing to Credit the Right Channels

Channel attribution is probably one of the most difficult areas of marketing analysis to grasp, as it is a complex. The customer journey is becoming incredibly advanced, often stretching across considerable time and many influencers. Buyers also are using more devices and channels than ever before.

A buyer may experience dozens of touchpoints before making a purchase. So, how exactly do you know which channels are working best and/or worst so that you can sufficiently allocate resources and enhance both your analysis and the customer journey?

This feat is impossible without first obtaining suitable tools and tracking capabilities. You may have heard the terms multi-channel and cross-channel, but what you should actually be aiming for is a true omni-channel experience, seamlessly delivered to your visitors and customers.

Omnichannel refers to all channels working together to create a connected journey, rather than independent channels functioning as disjointed silos (which can lead to unimpressed customers).

Relatively basic tools like Google Analytics provide a degree of omnichannel reporting, although journey visualization and integration with other platforms can be limited, dependent on needs. Premium tools, such as Oracle Analytics Cloud, allow a comprehensive, all-in-one approach to your analysis — with a deeper panoramic view of customer journeys and behaviors, including their relationships with your brand.

Within these tools, attribution modeling plays a vital role in determining the performance of each channel by rewarding credit based on contribution to revenue.

Here’s a simplistic example of the “newcomer to customer” transformation to illustrate attribution modeling:

1. Person clicks your Facebook ad, and briefly views your blog post.
2. Visitor returns via Google organic search 24 hours later, and signs up to your newsletter.
3. Subscriber receives a series of emails that they open and engage with.
4. On the final email (after seven days), the subscriber decides to download a case study.
5. Now the subscriber is a Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL) and requests a free trial.
6. Now the MQL is a Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL) and uses your free trial, but goes quiet thereafter.
7. The SQL eventually returns to your website via a guest blog post on another website.
8. The SQL now buys your product, becoming a new customer.

Your initial question might be: Which channel receives credit for this acquisition? The ideal question would be: How much credit does each channel receive? They all played a part, so overlooking any of these channels could be a costly mistake. Focus your efforts on aligning resources to channel contribution.

Tell the Whole Story

The pressure to show performance for marketing programs is intense, but taking any of these three routes is going to result in a bad trip. Instead, align your measurements and metrics to what matters most to the executive suite, use meaningful measures instead of “vanity” metrics and take a holistic view when assessing channel contribution.

The bottom line is you need to tell a compelling story about the value of your marketing efforts to the organizations, so choose the metrics and tools that enable you to do that.


Find out about the omni-channel fluidity of Oracle Marketing Cloud and how it can help you use the right data to create connected customer experiences with “A Perfect Circle: How to Connect to the Buyer of Now.”


Sam Hurley

Sam Hurley is a lateral-thinking, people-focused digital marketer — holding solid experience in both agency and client-side settings. He now runs his own personal branding and influencer marketing business: OPTIM-EYEZ.

Sam has achieved success for SMEs and popular global brands through to blue chip organizations while being ranked as the world’s #1 digital influencer by Webinale and #2 most influential digital marketer by Onalytica. He was also commended as one of the top 3 content marketing influencers by ScribbleLive.

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