Marketing Metrics: Hide or Seek
Jeanne Jennings at ClickZ wrote this morning about predicting marketing results. Her comments reminded me of how difficult it is to get marketing managers to go out on the limb and post expectations and anticipated metrics before a campaign is launched. To me it was just a built-in part of the process, but in 20 years of working with many different clients at big companies and small, I could count on one hand the number of times a campaign was launched with measurable goals.
Jeanne lists the following reasons:
- Some feel if the projections aren't met it reflects poorly on their abilities as a marketer.
- Others even fear they'll lose their job if they put an estimate of response on paper, then don't meet it.
- Some have trouble with the assumptive aspect of projections; they aren't comfortable "guestimating" figures they don't have.
- Many cite lack of time as a reason for not projecting, as in "I don't have time to do projections, I just have to get these e-mails out." The problem is activity doesn't always translate in productivity; a comparable or higher response rate may be achievable with fewer e-mails or fewer hours.
- Then there are folks who have a more creative, qualitative focus; they shy away from anything having to do with spreadsheets and numbers.
- Another big reason for not doing projections is there's no tracking or reporting of actual results by e-mail campaign, so you won't ever really be able to tie projections back to reality with 100 percent certainty.
Look for industry benchmarks. Look for case histories. Look at the end results that are needed to achieve desired revenue goals. Jeanne suggests Clickz Stats. You can also find some good stats at Larry Chase's site. Reports you can purchase are available at the Direct Marketing Association site and MarketingSherpa site.
At least make the next campaign a starting point ... make your best assumptions as to the metrics you can achieve. Then run the campaign and report back the findings. These findings become your benchmark.
The next campaign should be aimed at improving these results -- dramatically. I say dramatically because bigger measurable goals will cause you to think through the kinds of changes that will move you from safe harbor into uncharted territory. Learn from this -- you might back off some of the changes or you might institute new changes. Keep measuring and keep learning and keep improving.