7 Reasons You Are Struggling With Marketing Measurement

By Jared Usrey • July 24, 2017

Struggles with marketing measurement are a common dilemma, one shared by a majority of marketers at some point in their career. Marketing measurement is by its nature difficult and, like marketing, involves both art and science. According to a recent report by BrightFunnel, while 91% of marketers say it should be a top priority, over 50% believe that their efforts need to improve or aren’t even practicing measurement.

So, if measurement is a top priority but 50% of marketers feel their program is lacking, what exactly needs to change? To help diagnose what’s ailing your marketing measurement program, here are seven common issues:

1. Measuring The Wrong Things

This is the prototypical issue with marketing measurement: focusing on vanity measures instead of core business performance metrics. Now, that is not to say that channel metrics like social media followers are unimportant, but they should be placed within the proper context.

It is key that we understand organizational goals first, then determine what is important for marketing to drive and measure.

For a breakdown of the different types of marketing reporting you should be focusing on, check out the tip sheet on the right-hand side of this page: “Three Secrets We Use to Design Our Client Reporting.”

2. Consistently Inconsistent

In our work with marketing departments, we often notice that their reporting is simply irregular. This issue comes in two forms:

  • reporting is developed intermittently (because it is difficult to access/combine the information)
  • reporting is only reviewed intermittently (generally because of a lack of dedicated time)

From the pipeline to email metrics, marketing should have an ongoing relationship with data. This regular context provides a deep understanding of what is working (and what’s not) and allows for the identification of real-time insights. When reporting is developed on a monthly or quarterly basis for specific channels, it is hard to remember what else was going on in the moment and actually drive better planning.

Ultimately, higher frequency comes at the cost of additional hours or additional automation, so a strategic choice must be made to determine a consistent, yet attainable, frequency for each type of report.

3. The Wrong Audience

Depending on the marketing sophistication of other departments in your organization, channel analytics might simply seem irrelevant to them. As a marketer, we have to know what our internal stakeholders care about – as much as we know about our potential customers (and sometimes more). Otherwise, reports from marketing can quickly become just another email or piece of paper, and even if there are compelling insights, they can be totally overlooked.

To address this, we must think through what we intend the audience to do with this information. Before sending, ask the question, “Does this provide value in their day-to-day role and help inform their responsibilities?”

4. Siloed Information

Though you may feel marketing has to function alone sometimes, it shouldn’t be an island unto itself. The fundamental nature of marketing in an organization requires internal and external connections. If your reporting doesn’t include the downstream impact to departments like sales, you may miss the connections that are critical for overall alignment.

Multi-departmental information helps provide insight into the relevance of marketing’s work. Were the leads qualified? Did they purchase the product? Without context from other groups, marketing measurement will simply lose its impact.

5. Your Numbers Aren’t Trusted

If you have addressed all of the above areas and your numbers still aren’t trusted, there is likely one reason left: a lack of transparency.

In the great struggle to simplify and present results, we have to remember that some groups can be threatened by others’ success. So as you develop your marketing measurement program, preempt their questions by providing:

  • drill-downs (so that individuals can dig-in if they want to)
  • tooltips (to explain how specific metrics are calculated, in context)
  • resource guides (to provide viewers a sense of what each report or dashboard should do)

Acknowledge that issues can exist and that you will adjust, which is especially critical at the beginning of any measurement work.

6. Not Translated into Insights

Measurement, while a helpful activity, requires distillation into actionable insights. Several organizations are using groups, from marketing operations to marketing analytics, to quickly summarize the reporting. Their insights need to be included at the time reporting is distributed – to show both movement and subject matter expertise.

7. No Execution

So, you have reports and insights, but nothing is changing. The marketing team isn’t able to take the insights and run with them. It is important to recognize that measurement shouldn’t become an exercise unto itself, but should inform your strategy and, ultimately, execution.

If you have noticed this issue, it is important to set aside time, as regularly as insights are derived, to generate clear project plans, ideally in the same format as any other type of marketing planning.

Once you have identified some issues and are ready to up your marketing measurement game, check out our  simple tip sheet , “3 Secrets We Use to Design Our Client Reporting.” It outlines and provides examples of our approach to maximizing reporting efficacy.

  • Jared Usrey - Headshot

    Jared Usrey

    Jared employs his range of digital abilities to identifying the best opportunities for continued refinement and growth for all clients, bridging client marketing requirements with a deep knowledge of the technical possibilities on digital platforms.

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