One of the biggest challenges B2B tech marketers face is interpreting their inbound marketing performance data and relating it to what’s happening with their business. Our Kiwi marketing strategists use a simple, straightforward framework for understanding the numbers and explaining performance in way that it makes sense to everyone. We call it the “What, Why, What, What (W4)” formula (very scientific, we know!).
The W4 formula helps us to objectively assess marketing performance, identify the reason for the outcome (whether positive or negative), understand how the outcome of our marketing efforts relates to business goals, and establish actionable next steps for the team.
1. What happened?
To start, we take a look at the high-level trends. (Think of this as a “one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other” exercise to help identify metrics you want to dig deeper into.) Which metrics went up? Which went down? And, which stayed the same?
Are the results what we expected to see? Or, are they drastically different from prior months?
Take a look at this table of dummy-data. Can you can spot some interesting changes in data trends?
Here are some takeaways from the above data:
- Sessions fell in February, but jumped back up to the highest rate ever in March
- In March, the number of pages per sessions increased from 1.54 to 3.07
- The bounce rate has decreased MoM but, in March, dropped significantly by 18.81%
- Average session duration has increased MoM but in March, significantly increased by over 2 minutes
Panic could have easily set in when web traffic decreased in February. But, this information is only part of the whole story. Without context, or without looking at all of metrics in combination with each other, you could make a decision based on one single trending factor in one single month. And if we would have done that in February, we wouldn’t have seen the stellar results in March.
2. Why did it happen?
Maybe more important than the WHAT is the WHY. This is where we begin to look at the results in combination with the specific actions that took place in February and March, as compared to our baseline in January.
These results were likely a direct result of a new or adjusted marketing effort. So, what marketing efforts were executed in February and March? And, what can you assume about your consumers behaviors?
Let’s continue our example from above…
- The highs and lows in web traffic raise some questions
- We know that over the period, the pages per visit metric is going up
- Of those visitors, fewer are leaving after visiting only one page
- On average, people are spending more time on the site
In this scenario, we’re seeing web traffic jump around. But even while web traffic went down, we saw indications that the QUALITY of visitors on the website increased, because visitors ended up spending more time and visiting more pages.
Why could that have been? Well, in month two, we further refined the Linkedin ad targeting, which meant that less people were going to the site, but the quality of those folks was better. And because there was initially success with that targeted audience, in March, we created content specially for that audience, which dramatically increased both web traffic and pages per session.
Putting your marketing efforts together with data trends, you can start to build the story of what happened and why:
- Cause: began with narrowing the targeting for the ads, then began creating more content for that specific audience
- Effect: the website attracted more visitors to more pages for longer periods of time
But we’re not done yet. If we stop now, we only have a snapshot of the past. What does this all mean and why does it matter for your business?
3. So what?
Our goal is to plan for the future and determine how our marketing fits in with the overall business strategy. While creating valuable content for your customers should always be your team’s top priority, your boss’s priorities are probably slightly different. They are running a business, after all.
Which metrics are they looking at? Increased revenue? More closed deals? Likely, one of the first things they are going to look for is ensuring that marketing dollars have a clear return on investment.
In this case, increased blog traffic is fine and dandy, but you now need to determine how to push these people further down the sales funnel, and ultimately, into steady revenue growth.
Looking at your data as it relates to your marketing efforts, you’ve proven a few things:
- Refined targeting means more valuable visitors on your website, even if that means a temporary drop in total traffic
- Valuable content increased user engagement
- Longer time on site means your audience is interested in and engaging with more content that they care about
- Investing time and resources in improving content (ad targeting optimization, content development) was justified
From here, you can create your plan of action for what you’re going to do with these new insights.
4. What now?
After examining the full scope of your marketing results, there should always be an actionable next step.
In our scenario, the actionable next steps should aim to get our visitors to convert. So, one possible action could be to test a relevant and enticing CTA in a popular blog post. This could be “call to learn more,” “check out our case studies,” or “try a free demo.”
Another action could be to launch a remarketing campaign that targets people who have visited specific pages on your site in the last 30 days. The campaign could point past visitors in the consideration stage of their journey to very specific gated content, which could look something like this, “Liked what you saw? Then you should check this out!”
You could even integrate chat functionality to answer audience questions on-demand, schedule a call, collect more data and move folks further down your sales funnel.
Communicating the narrative
Once you fully understand what happened, why it happened, why it matters for your business, and what you’re going to do next—you can then tell a meaningful, data-driven story that anyone can understand.
Analyzing big data and spreadsheets can be cumbersome and overwhelming. By using a step-by-step framework like the W4 formula, you’ll be able to easily sift through the information and harvest the data that is most meaningful to the goals of your business.