I consider myself an outlier when it comes to working on marketing strategies. As with most things, it's more fun to create than analyze & optimize.
For example: your manager comes to you with two tasks, and you can pick one. You can either create a nifty social media strategy from scratch or analyze raw data from your company's most recent PPC campaign. Which would you choose? I guarantee that you've chosen the former, while I would go with the latter!
Nevertheless, analyzing and measuring marketing effectiveness is crucial for tech marketers to undertake. While it may not be fun for everyone, routine analysis & optimization for marketing tactics—from SEO to content to PPC to social—leads to increased ROI and higher-levels of success. Through measuring success, tech marketers determine what works and what needs improving. While there are "marketing best practices" that tech marketers can follow, their success company-to-company can differ. In short, unless you are omniscient and know from the get-go what will and will not work (if you are, get in touch with me), it's crucial to measure your marketing strategies' effectiveness.
So how do we go about this? Lucky for you, Kiwi Creative interviewed over 150 marketing, sales and C-Suite executives in our 2020 State of the Industry Report. When asked about measuring marketing success, the results surprised us. Recall that it wasn't that long ago that tech marketers focused on top-of-funnel metrics, in the Awareness stage, to measure success. These would be your website traffic and social post impressions, for example. Of course, this causes issues. Not all marketing strategies target top-of-funnel users, so it is counterproductive to only use these metrics.
A Disconnect Between Executives and Marketers
After performing some data analysis, we determined that nearly half (48%) of tech marketers use the number of leads generated as the primary measure of success with their marketing strategies. As a mid-funnel metric, marketers track the number of leads generated by looking at form submissions, phone calls, or by analyzing MQLs and SQLs. 30% of senior-level tech marketers focused on sales metrics, such as revenue, and 10% focused on impressions and visitor traffic.
We've determined that mid-level and senior-level marketers prefer to focus on middle-of-the-funnel metrics. When we looked at the data from executives, this changed. 65% of executives focused on sales metrics, while 35% measured success with the number of leads generated. As such, one can see the disconnect between tech company executives and their marketing departments as to what the most important KPI is.
One can attribute this disparity to the blurred line between sales and marketing within tech companies. Executives tend to look at marketing as a function of sales instead of seeing it as a part of the entire journey from prospect to customer. Marketing and sales, while symbiotic, are two distinct departments. While companies put more of a focus on marketing departments to generate revenue, the purpose of marketing is to nurture prospects through the funnel, bringing them to conversion.
TLDR...What Metrics or KPIs Do I Need to Analyze?
I wish I could tell you the X metrics you need to use to measure your marketing effectiveness and success. Unfortunately, it's not the same for everyone. As tech marketers, we cannot use top-of-funnel metrics for everything. Nor can we only focus on bottom-of-funnel, sales-oriented metrics. The KPIs that we use ought to relate directly to the purpose of our campaigns or strategies.
Kiwi Creative emphasizes this methodology with our clients. Correlate your primary metrics to where your strategy falls in the funnel. Top-of-funnel campaigns should use top-of-funnel metrics, just as mid-funnel campaigns should use mid-funnel KPIs, and so on. When going through initial strategizing exercises, you must determine where in the funnel—Awareness, Consideration, or Decision—your strategy resides.
Once you determine what stage of the funnel you are targeting, you can then choose the best metrics to measure success. Use these as some examples:
- Awareness: Number of users, sessions, page views, impressions, clicks, etc.
- Consideration: Whitepaper downloads, gated content downloads, request more information form fills, etc.
- Decision: Revenue, new clients, lifetime customer value, ROI, etc.
Choosing metrics that correspond to the stage of the funnel you target leads to more effective optimization. And these metrics can vary depending on what channel you elect to use. Launching an awareness PPC campaign would lead to looking at an ad's CTR while an organic social campaign might focus on the number of engagements, for example.
Until someone invents a crystal ball that peers into the future and shows which marketing strategies will work and which will falter, tech marketers need to analyze & optimize their campaigns and tactics. Get ready for the second half of 2020 by taking a look at your entire marketing sphere. Download our free 2020 State of the Industry Report and see how your tech company stacks up against others in the industry.