That conversation with my friend got me thinking about surprising number of marketers I’ve encountered who have been very willing to invest the time and money for an outside resource to help them optimize their marketing ecosystem (and/or hired internal staff charged with the same responsibility), and then failed to make the institutional and procedural commitments required for their optimization efforts to be successful. What virtually all of these companies had in common: They failed to meet one or more of the following three prerequisites.
Prerequisite 101: Identify Your Core Business Metric
Companies frequently, and naturally, focus on measuring and optimizing the “marketing metrics” over which they feel they have the most control. Thus they can very easily overlook the “business metrics” most associated with their ultimate goals.
For example, if you were an insurance marketer, you may produce leads that turn into policy applications, which then turn into approved applications and finally turn into written policies, and those policies have various monetary values. Your company’s business goal is to produce high value policies, and yet you as a marketer could be focused solely on generating leads, regardless of the rate at which those leads convert to each of the subsequent steps on the path to high value policies. So in this example, your marketing management needs to identify the company’s business goal of “policies with a minimum value of $X” as the metric on which to focus optimization efforts. Regardless of the activities that take place after the lead has been generated, it is extremely likely that when scientific cross-channel marketing analysis is performed, it will uncover factors over which you DO have control that produce high value policies. These should serve as the basis for optimizing your multichannel ecosystem.
Prerequisite 201: Normalize Your Marketing Taxonomy
Today’s marketing organizations often serve multiple corporate constituencies: meaning business units, corporate divisions, product lines, geographic regions, etc. They also use multiple channels to market their products. More often, each of the constituencies and marketers responsible for each of these channels use language – or taxonomy – that’s different from one another for measuring, their efforts. And unless this taxonomy – and more importantly the definition of each component within this taxonomy – is common and shared across the ecosystem, optimization efforts across the enterprise will fail.
To build on the example from Prerequisite 101, every constituency and channel marketing team needs to track, measure, analyze and optimize to “policies with a minimum value of $X.” But implied within that statement is that tracking, measuring and analyzing is done exactly the same way, using the same taxonomy, across the enterprise, but this is rarely the case. So each of those components needs to be broken down and normalized to a common standard.
Once the taxonomy for your tracking, measurement and analysis is normalized – and focused on the shared goal of “policies with a minimum value of $X,” – it’s time for you to move on to the next prerequisite.
Prerequisite 301: Standardize Your Measurement Cadence
In order to analyze and thus optimize the performance of multichannel marketing efforts, that performance must be compared in an apples-to-apples way. And unless the data that’s fueling that analysis is presented in groupings that use the same timeframe cadence (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.), then that comparison will be flawed. If one source of data provides you with the number of policies written in a month and the others tell you the numbers written each week, it’s going to be impossible to analyze or optimize correctly.
Time to Graduate
With these three prerequisites under your belt, you can track, measure, analyze and optimize to a common business goal, using a common taxonomy and a common cadence. This process, coupled with a recognition that it is not a one-time manual process, but an ongoing, automated one, will help ensure maximum return on your optimization investments.