The Devil is in The Details…Measuring Campaign Effectiveness

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So you’ve completed a successful multichannel marketing campaign, you got a record number of responses, and your boss is happy with the overall results.

Two thumbs up! Good for you!

But, could it have been better? Did all your efforts perform successfully? What worked, what didn’t, and why? Did you meet or exceed your performance forecast? And what will you do differently next time?

I’m used to hearing these questions. Early in my career, I had a mentor who challenged our direct marketing successes more than our failures – always reminding me that while the overall result may be excellent, the devil is always in the details.

More and more marketers are being held accountable for metrics showing ROI, and to provide more detail that shows where response (or revenue) is coming from. Luckily, we are living in a digital age where we have ready access to an array of statistics and reporting tools that can lift the veil on our communications programs and show in great detail who’s buying, where our customers are coming from, and how they heard about us.

And there are so many tools available – email performance reports, Google Analytics, press release download reports, and more. But rather than endorse measurement products, I will instead offer steps you should take in order to identify the devil within the details, allowing you to be prepared to answer those tough questions on program performance.

Benchmark – set your targets
You can’t know how to get where you’re going until you first know where you already are. Every journey needs a starting point. So benchmark your efforts, set goals, and assign Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each channel, against which you can compare actual results. Setting these standards up front will allow you to identify potential issues early on in your campaign, create “what if” scenarios, and make slight changes that can boost an underperforming channel or effort.

Design your program to be measurable
As you set your budget, and identify each component of your multi-channel campaign – print ads, email, direct mail, pay-per-click, and others – think about how each of these components can be measured. Your landing order page can be optimized to accept discount codes that can be embedded in your print ads and direct mail. Customizable links and bit.ly links are crucial tracking devices for your digital campaigns, and should be unique for each individual channel, effort, and deployment date, so you’ll know not only what’s working, but when it’s working best.

Focus on the metrics that matter
As marketers, of course we care about deliverability and open rates. But chances are, your boss does not. The boss wants to know what happened after a recipient opened your email – because only that action will translate to revenue and growth. And when you’re looking for more marketing dollars for your efforts, it’s much more likely that they’ll be approved if you can show where you need to spend more AND the revenue potential based on past performance from that incremental budget increase.

The overall objective of any marketing communications campaign is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your firm’s total marketing effort. There is, of course, a cost associated with this effort. Reporting detailed metrics for current performance, measured against benchmarks and/or historical performance, is necessary to justify your cost and show the value each campaign brings to your company’s bottom line.