One of the questions that I am asked most consistently when it comes to managing a business’s marketing channels is: Should I be monitoring or measuring my data analytics?
Yet one of the mistakes that businesses make most consistently is not taking advantage of both monitoring data AND measuring data.
And one of the single largest differences that modern computers have made in the business world is the ability to consistently and accurately count data points. In fact, you often can’t manage what you don’t measure.
Monitoring vs Measuring Data
The sole difference between monitoring and measuring is whether the data you are trying to learn from is qualitative or quantitative. With this consideration, it’s fairly easy to sort and determine what you should monitor or measure, respectively.
Measuring data should be reserved for quantitative analytics. Put simply, if you’re dealing with difficult calculations or numbers you’ll want to employ measuring analytics.
Monitoring analytics are a little bit more tricky. this is because monitoring needs to be employed alongside qualitative data (data that has to be analyzed by a factor other than its quantity or numbers).
The reason that qualitative data is tricky is because, often, qualitative data can be put up for interpretation or debate more easily that quantitative data can.
Numbers are numbers, after all. There is usually a definitive and easily recognizable “right or wrong” when measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns or other business efforts.
Qualitative data, however, is not so cut and dry. There is interpretation, perspective, and opinion that can be color and bias the nature of qualitative data.
So, without further ado! Let’s dive into the various monitoring and marketing you can accomplish within your marketing analytics!
Monitoring Your Marketing Data
Monitoring is only possible with qualitative data, therefore, here are some qualitative data points that are commonly collected regarding a brand and it’s positioning in the marketplace:
Where is your brand positioned relative to the competition? What is your unique product offering? What is theirs? Keeping an eye on your positioning in the marketplace relative to your competitors is a great way to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and the competitive edge you can keep against them.
This way, you can better manage the positioning of your brand and reactivity or proactivity against competitive advances into your market territory. This will allow you more time to reflect and decide upon a course of action to ensure that your market territory remains yours, and that competition will find the barriers to entry much too high to make an attempt worth it.
It sounds like some kind of primal strategy, but the truth is, if you don’t keep an eye on your competition, you are doomed to face the consequences of competitive advances without the preparation to respond effectively.
Consumer relationships are merely the relationships that you have developed between your brand and your target market. Have you spent a good amount of time talking to customers and others who have responded to email marketing strategies, social media, or other forms of communication and engagement? The answer needs to be yes.
Developing consumer relationships is the single most effective way to form a foundation around a new or developing brand. One on one consumer relationships are the best way to garner trust, engagement, and loyalty in a relatively quick way.
Relationship marketing is what keeps consumers returning to you, specifically, for your products and services! It converts one time consumers into repeat customers.
The quality of your relationships with your target market can be monitored with some key tips:
1. Get into your target consumer’s “shoes”: You must recognize and consider the way your target market feels about your brand off the bat and the best way to reach them in terms of building trust and loyalty. Imagine how you would react if you messed up an order, provided a bad experience, or made it difficult for the consumer to engage with you.
By first considering the thoughts and experiences of the consumer, you can begin to develop a consumer-centric offering that focuses on the customer experience. This will make your brand unique and stand out above the rest.
2. Create a “touch-point” Checklist: A touch-point checklist is my term for a small list that you develop regarding each and every single “touch” you make with your consumer during a transaction: From beginning to end.
The reason you do this is because it makes it far easier to monitor and visualize where you can make your consumer experience more streamlined and enjoyable. Something as small and thoughtful as personalizing a message or sending thank you’s for follow-up are extremely effective ways to “touch” the consumer experience and transform your reputation from one of a “corporate business” (bad connotation) to a consumer-centric and friendly organization (good connotation).
Customer engagement is not exactly quantitative, although certain metrics (likes, shares, etc.) can be. The true customer engagement occurs when they comment or share their thoughts publicly with the social media world about your brand. This is why you must monitor and not measure engagement in this way.
Likes, shares, and whatnot are what I call shallow engagement. It is shallow in that it does not accurately display the reasoning behind why your consumers like or share your marketing posts or content.
Comments, on the other hand, are deep engagement in that they most often display a thought process or experience between the brand and consumers. This is why you must monitor engagement because there are no relevant quantitative measurements to be found. Browsing over your comments, and replying, is an excellent and underrated way for you to gain insight into the consumer’s minds and experiences, and often, perform some very necessary PR.
monitoring engagement has many benefits. The trends that you may find in the way consumers view your business is an excellent monitoring tool for your brand reputation. The issues that you find between the experiences that people have with your product can become leverage for fixing and improving your consumer “touch-points” as well.
All in all, customer engagement is a great way to determine what people think about your brand without the potential bias of forming a focus group. people are more willing to share their true thoughts through the safety of the internet after all.
Because we don’t yet have the technology to monitor the complex verbal and tonal qualities that are displayed in human speech and word patterns, we have to conclude that these characteristics above are qualitative and need to be monitored as opposed to measured.
Although monitoring may take more time to do accurately regarding the intake and processing of information, it is just as useful in determining consumer engagement, reputation, and brand positioning as measuring analytics are.
Measuring Your Marketing Data
Now, measuring occurs when you deal with quantitative characteristics or analytics. Quantitative information is not as squishy as qualitative information is because quantitative data is based in fact, numbers, and figures, otherwise, things that are inarguable and NOT up for interpretation the way that qualitative data may be.
Therefore, it is no surprise that quantitative data is the most popular (and newest) form of making business decisions. It would have been very difficult to analyze, keep track of, and create useful figures around all the unique data we have without the modern help of computers, after all.
Now, measuring data can be amazingly useful in two main ways that relate to your marketing efforts:
1. Measuring Internal Performance Characteristics: Things such as the effectiveness of social media, website conversions, and more in achieving your goals. These performance measurements may consist of traffic, click-through rates, sales figures, and lead generation.
2. Business-Based Characteristics: Business-based characteristics are simply those that tie costs to effective performance measures. These characteristics are tied directly to operations. They can be things like cost per lead, average revenue per sale, average profit per sale, break-even point, ROI, and more.
Here are some key marketing characteristics that you can MEASURE in order to determine the effectiveness of your online marketing strategy!
Yes, we all hate traffic, but NOT online traffic. In fact, many prominent businesses pay a lot of money each year so that they can have the theoretical “bumper to bumper” traffic on their websites. Put simply, we all want more people to visit our offering pages.
Keeping track of the number AND NATURE of people visiting your website on a monthly basis is an amazing way to determine how strong your SEO is, how well your marketing and advertisements are working, and how interesting your content is based on the unique visitor to page click ratio.
This is why it is important to track the number AND NATURE of your visitors. There are two primary characteristics here.
The number of page visits is how many times a page on your website was clicked and viewed. The nature of visitors (unique visitors) is how many PEOPLE visited your website. Therefore, it goes to show that a high number of page visits, with a low number of unique visitors, means that fewer people visit but they spend more of their time browsing your site.
This means you may have high engagement, but low search-ability, in which case, SEO is beneficial to you and your search-ability. If it were the other way around, high unique visitors, but low page visits, means you have good search-ability, but low engagement.
Everyone wants high search-ability, and high engagement.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Leads are directly related to how many people sign up for an offering or engage with an advertisement because they are interested in your or the product/service you offer.
Leads are often tracked relative to the advertisement that attracted them, meaning you can dive into the effectiveness of the advertisement and utilize it’s best practices when creating future advertisements. This is why leads are measurable.
Leads often have another great use. They allow you to monitor the CPL or cost-per-lead to determine how effective some advertisements are to gain revenue and how ineffective others are. This also allows you to predict (based on your average sales rate and sales amount) how much profit each lead will give you, better allowing you to manage your predictions.
It’s important to note that leads are only prospects, and will often have to have some one on one engagement before they can be converted into paying customers. However, this also allows you to measure your conversion rate and the effectiveness of your salespeople also.
Leads can also be used the same way as sales can, for determining things like ROI of a marketing effort or advertisement and other characteristics.
One of the most useful, and detrimental, metrics to measure is your financial analytics. Put simply, without first considering your ability to make money, you will never be sustainable as a business in the long (or even short) term.
The most essential building blocks of success that you can measure in terms of marketing efforts are Costs, Sales, Revenues, and Expenses. These things will allow you to measure profits, and more.
Consider this, without first learning how to track your break-even point, how are you going to ensure that your business is sustainable enough to get there? All things in business rely on finances in some way or another, and properly measuring and managing your finances is absolutely necessary before you can even begin to consider things like advertising, and paid promotion.
All in all, there is a litany of more ways that you can measure and monitor your marketing efforts and metrics in business. But, for the sake of clarity and simplicity, I chose to focus on the main ideas to give you a sense of direction and focus with which to progress.
Either way, the most beneficial thing you can do is put into place procedures or tools that you can use to track the performance of your marketing efforts over ALL of your marketing channels.
It sounds difficult, but I guarantee that your effectiveness will skyrocket and you will etch out a name for yourself as you discover more and more ways to effectively create marketing channels between you and your loyal consumers!
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life.