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How To (Truly) Measure Campaign Effectiveness

Posted March 9, 2020
erik eaton

Identifying Successful Marketing Campaigns (Correctly)

Every marketer wants (and needs) to know if their efforts make a positive impact on the business. The right data can inform whether or not a campaign is repeated, content is developed, and budget is awarded. It even determines if someone gets the promotion they’ve been hoping for. If marketing analysis is missing critical components, decision-makers may be steered in the wrong direction.
Traditional lead lifecycle measurements like MQL, SAL, SQL, and sourced pipeline are all valuable lead generation measurements. Erik, an experienced and successful Marketing Operations Senior Manager, thinks there’s more to the story.  Erik’s main concerns are “[h]ow is marketing impacting and driving pipeline and then how do you report on that accurately?” He finds that a combination of traditional lead life cycle conversion statistics, velocity by channel, and campaign influence data are all essential factors in determining a campaign’s true ROI. SheerID-Graphic-1 In fact, marketers may cut valuable activity from their program without layering in campaign influence reporting and channel velocity.
“Blogs have been a horrible lead creation channel […] but what we’re finding out is that people with open opportunities are coming to the blogs, reading them, and getting value.”
Multi-facet reporting doesn’t just inform tactical decisions like whether to repeat a specific campaign or scrap an old piece of content. It can inform strategic direction as well. We’ve all heard that thought leadership should be heavily incorporated into our content strategy. Using lead generation and campaign influence data, Erik found that SheerID’s target audience “want[s] to read a specific example of another company doing the same thing. Thought leadership isn’t as effective. People want tangible examples.” This finding completely changed their content generation strategy.

Choose Marketing KPIs That Matter

The goal of every business is to grow revenue.  Because of limitations in technology, marketers historically have been judged on the number of qualified leads delivered to sales. In the last decade, the way we’re able to measure marketing efforts has improved by leaps and bounds.  Companies can finally measure marketing’s contribution to revenue.  We find it striking that even though reporting capabilities have changed, the way we determine marketing’s success or failure hasn’t. SheerID-Graphic-2 Erik has found “if you’re judged on MQL, what happens at the end of the quarter is somebody’s going to go buy a huge list of content syndication.” The marketing team meets its goal, but there’s a negative impact on the sales team. Sales gets tasked with calling down a list of minimally engaged people to find a rare conversion.  While there is value in using content syndication to grow a business’s contact database, revenue impact should be every marketer’s North Star. Erik says the number one question marketers should ask themselves is: “What can we bring to the revenue table?” If your high volume lead sources aren’t doing anything for revenue, they’re not a worthwhile investment. 
“[I]t’s 2020. You should be at the revenue table. You should be able to say we’re generating pipeline or influencing pipeline. If you can’t, you might want to reevaluate it.”

The Ability to Measure ROI Is Marketing Ops’ Greatest Asset

Most Marketing Ops professionals have sat through at least one meeting where sales and marketing argued over repeating a field event. People have a tendency to base their judgment on subjective qualities such as how did my conversations feel? or did I get enough face time with customers?  The problem is we’re biased. Research has proven we’re much more likely to remember a negative interaction than a positive interaction. In Erik’s opinion, the decision to repeat a campaign—whether it’s a traditionally attended event or a direct mail experiment—should be based on ROI. Erik gave the example of an event that got terrible feedback. They looked “at the ROI and it’s actually positive. So we should probably go to it [again].”  Replacing subjectivity with data not only aids in determining a campaign’s success. Removing ambiguity also helps marketing gain the credibility needed to successfully lobby for their desired marketing budget and experiment with new marketing tactics efficiently. Before SheerID experiments, Erik asks, “What’s the goal? If we’re going to experiment, let’s at least have some KPIs we’re going to track with it.” “Sometimes we find success. We did a direct mail campaign and I think there was a lot of apprehension. Oh man, it’s going to be all this money and nothing’s going to happen. […] This campaign manager just smashed it out of the park and ended up having positive ROI. Now we [think] let’s do some more of it and see how it works. And I think especially in the startup growth space, you have to do that. That’s okay if you fail, I mean, whatever, you’ll be fine. Just pick yourself up and roll on to the next thing.”

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