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Data Measurement: 7 Steps to Success
Courtesy of John Rieber
Courtesy of John Rieber  

Big data, analytics, measurement planning, ROI. With mounting pressure to demonstrate success and justify marketing investment, it is paramount that, as marketers, we effectively measure our initiatives.

Metrics should play an integral role in campaign planning. They not only provide historical perspective, but they can also predict what may work in the future. It all starts with a solid measurement plan. Here are our seven measurement planning steps in delivering the data you need to verify impact and discover actionable learnings that can fuel and secure commitment to future marketing initiatives.

1. Be specific with your goals.
Every initiative has overarching objectives. Use these as guides to help determine your goals. The more granular the goals, the easier it is to identify the right marketing mix and establish the metrics you will monitor.

2. Set Key Performance Indicators.
Simply put, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics that help you track progress against specific goals. Using the goals as your compass, outline a few KPIs (three to five max) that will alert you throughout the campaign as to whether you are – or are not – on target to achieve your goals. Each KPI should be measurable and represent a meaningful brand interaction. For example, if your goal is to increase new customer appointments, a KPI could be the number of phone calls received each week.

3. Know what data you have and what data you need.
Measurement planning is about telling a story with your data. The good news is that your organization probably has a lot of untapped data already available – and you’ll need this historical data to effectively analyze new data. Start by assessing what you have. This could include everything from organic search performance pulled from Google Analytics to social media metrics to more traditional customer surveys. If the data outputs in place can’t help you report on the KPIs, then it’s time to supplement with new tools.

4. Create a content and tactical strategy.
Now that KPIs are established, it’s time to identify the right mix of marketing tactics and messages to drive engagement. All tactics need to encourage interaction and be within a medium that makes it easy for a consumer to engage – and that doesn’t always mean digital. Remember, it’s critical to distinguish between brand-building tactics and those intended to drive engagement.

5. Develop an analysis plan.
Now’s the time to think about your team and their role in measurement planning. From pulling reports and analyzing them to reviewing and optimizing content, it takes a committed team. If your campaign is going to live in market for a short time, then this process should happen weekly. If it is a longer campaign (more than three months) biweekly or monthly analysis should suffice. However, remember that insights from data take time and you need a decent sample size for them to be meaningful. It may also take time for your team to really embrace the process of measurement.

6. Dissect the data.
Look beyond aggregated or averaged data. Knowing your website received 30,000 visits over the course of your campaign tells you very little if your goals are based on engagement and your KPIs were created to measure interaction. Keep digging into the data by asking deeper questions. Where did visitors come from (Google, social, display ads, etc.)? Who are the visitors? What pages and content did they engage with? Are they coming back? And then go even deeper. Report on everything that supports your KPIs. Compare what you are seeing to historical data. And remember, context is key and without it you just have raw data.

7. Revisit
Data management isn’t once and done. It’s a discipline that needs to be applied to every phase of every campaign. Over time it will become second nature. And the learnings you’ve gathered along the way will help confidently inform the decisions you make in the future.

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