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Posts Tagged ‘tracking’

Marketing Metrics: Aligning ROI goals across the enterprise

May 26th, 2011
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More than 80 percent of CMOs were dissatisfied with their ability to measure marketing ROI and less than 20 percent said their company employed meaningful metrics according to a CMO council study quoted in Harvard Business Review.

The same article cited Copernicus Marketing Research findings that noted that most acquisition efforts fail to break even, no more than ten percent of new products succeed, most sales promotions are unprofitable, and advertising ROI is below four percent.

There is no absence of metrics or measurement tools. The problem is less one of analytics than of lack of alignment across the enterprise as to ROI goals.

But how can that alignment be attained?

There is a need for a common vocabulary and shared buy-in as to key performance indicators (KPIs). It is commonly assumed that all can be resolved if the VP of Sales and the VP of Marketing just go off and have a beer together. This rarely works. A better way to achieve alignment is to borrow from the toolbox of strategic planning and to use scenarios.

Scenario planning is a discipline popularized by Royal Dutch Shell in the ‘80s that has become a standard tool of strategic planning professionals. It is the process in which managers invent and consider the implications of alternate assumptions and futures. As a team-building exercise, it can remove the barriers that office politics, turf wars, and loyalty to current vendors bring to the effort to align goals and assumptions.

As consultant Juergen Daum has written, “The purpose of scenario planning is to help managers to change their view of reality, to match it up more closely with reality as it is, and reality as it is going to be. The end result, however, is not an accurate picture of tomorrow, but better decisions about the future.”

Scenario planning session

A Scenario planning session can be done over a one- or two-day off-site:

  • Start by modeling a scenario in which the current ROI goals and benchmarks are accurate and lead to a positive future. This is the “rosy scenario” that is implicitly guiding current thinking.
  • The team can then turn, in a politically non-threatening way, to alternate scenarios – those in which current goals and assumptions can be challenged. This process surfaces doubts and uncertainties while clarifying disconnects among the team as to definitions and priorities. Whatever the outcome, the very process builds agreement and understanding.

This process allows managers to confront, without defensiveness, the essential question:

“What if our current assumptions and procedures are wrong?”

Contemplating a scenario without a “rosy” outcome forces participants to both question current practices and to work together to forecast outcomes. The implications of using “wrong” ROI goals can be discussed collaboratively, fostering collaboration and understanding. Ideally, new metrics can be identified and outmoded ones discarded. Inevitably, participants emerge with greater understanding of their goals, of their key performance indicators, and of each other.

Bob Heyman is a keynote speaker at Optimization Summit 2011, and all attendees will receive a copy of his book, “Marketing by the Numbers: How to Measure and Improve the ROI of Any Campaign,” provided by HubSpot.

Gary Angel, President and CTO, Semphonic, contributed heavily to this blog post as well.

Related Resources

Digital Marketing: How to measure ROI from your agencies

Lead Marketing: Cost-per-lead and lead nurturing ROI

New Chart: What Social Metrics are Organizations Monitoring and Measuring?

Maximize your Agency ROI

Online Advertising: Behavioral Ads Threatened

December 28th, 2010
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There has been a lot of talk this month about the future of behavioral advertising and privacy on the Internet. This coming year could change if and how your team uses ads that target people’s browsing history.

The Federal Trade Commission published preliminary proposals for targeting online ads on Dec. 1, and the Department of Commerce published preliminary proposals for protecting consumer privacy on Dec. 16.

These statements came about two months after the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) launched a program that lets users ‘opt-out’ of behavioral tracking. The DAA is a coalition of industry groups that supports industry-based self-regulation for behavioral ads.

Outcome far from certain

What does all this mean? No one is entirely sure. The FTC and the Commerce Department’s proposals are not laws, but folks from the FTC have been speaking with Congress about the issue. And FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz has expressed dissatisfaction with the industry’s self regulation.

This much is clear: behaviorally targeted advertising is raising privacy concerns. Consumers are seeing the shoes they just shopped for appear in ads on other websites, and that is freaking some people out. Two solutions have been floated:

– The FTC’s preliminary proposal: have a browser-based solution that signals to websites that a consumer has ‘opted-out’ of tracking

– The DAA’s program: let users ‘opt-out’ by clicking on an icon next to an ad. This program has been adopted by at least one major media-buying agency.

The potential for impact

Should either of these options — or some other ‘opt-out’ system — become a wide-spread reality, it could have serious implications for online advertising. Here are two stats to consider:

– An Interactive Advertising Bureau survey of ad agencies earlier this year found that 80% or more of digital advertising campaigns were touched by behavioral targeting.

– A USA Today/Gallup poll in December found that 67% of U.S. Internet users say advertisers should not be allowed to match ads to their browsing history.

A tremendous leap of faith is not required to assume that a sizeable portion of that 67% would gladly opt-out of all behaviorally based ads.

What you can do in the meantime

While Washington and the industry figure out what, if anything, will change, your team should look at its marketing and understand the importance of behavioral ads and tracking in your programs.

Consider what would happen if the ads stopped working as well, stopped working completely, or did not change — and what you should do in each case.

Also, talk to your agencies, affiliates and ad-networks. Find out what this means for the marketing they do on your behalf. The last thing you want to do is to be caught off guard by any changes.

Related resources:

Follow the FTC’s Street Team Guidelines: 4 Recommendations for Offline and Online Promos

FTC’s New Endorsement Guidelines: 6 Key Areas to Examine

The Google Slap: Affiliate Marketers must stay in compliance with Google and the FTC

Slow Converting PPC Clicks

April 23rd, 2010
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I spoke with several paid search experts over the last two weeks for an article about timing PPC ads to optimize performance, and an interesting side-topic came up.

Seeing which PPC clicks are helping your bottom line is not always crystal clear. For example, a consumer may click an ad on Saturday and purchase the advertised item on Tuesday. These slow-converting, or latent clicks help drive sales. But by how much?

One way you can help figure this out is by looking to see whether an ad’s search phrase contains branded terms. Branded searches are likely driven by another marketing channel — because the consumer knew your brand name. Conversions on generic, non-branded search terms signal that your PPC ad had a much stronger influence on the sale.

You can track these slow-converting clicks using cookies — but even that can be challenging. Consumers often search the Web at work on one computer, and surf at home on another. Unless you’re able to connect those two machines, you’ll likely be missing some clicks that later become sales.

The lesson here is you should track the behavior of consumers who click your ads as well as you can. Doing so will give you a better idea of which clicks are driving delayed sales, and that information can help you better allocate your spending.

Have you found a good way to uncover slow-converting clicks? Has it helped you much? Let us know in the comments…

SEO Metrics to Measure

February 23rd, 2010
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Natural search marketers have been in a precarious position for the last few years. Much of the data they’re using is supplied by search engines, and some of that data is fuzzy at best.

Adam Audette, in a Search Engine Land post today, goes as far as calling some of the data unreliable and “downright misleading.” However, Audette astutely notes that marketers need the data even if they don’t completely trust it.

What’s a marketer to do? Here are Audette’s suggestions for the SEO metrics you should track:
o Percentage of overall site traffic from search
o Percentage share of each engine
o Free search traffic at the keyword level, clustering related terms
o Difference between branded and non-branded search traffic

Metrics that he implies are far less reliable:
o Ranking reports
o Indexed page counts
o Backlink counts
o Toolbar PageRank

For marketers, I would add conversion data to Audette’s list of primary metrics to measure — especially conversion data for non-branded keywords. If you’re a natural search marketer, any conversions you can prove came through non-branded keyword searches point directly to money you are bringing the company.

Branded search conversions are great, but they show that the searcher already knew your brand. The searcher has likely been reached by another marketing channel. A non-branded conversion implies that someone chose you over the competitors also listed in the results.

Which metrics do you consider vital? And how reliable are they?

How To Track Leads from Real Estate Blogs

July 9th, 2008
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The ways to market real estate online seem endless. Blogging is a major part of the equation among the successful online real estate marketers I spoke to for a MarketingSherpa special report on the topic.

What I found, though, is that these marketers face major challenges when it comes to tracking the number of leads coming from blogs. Unless a Web visitor offers an email address to receive more content, there is little real estate marketers can do besides waiting for leads to call and asking how they found them. Read more…