Thinking / Preserving Strategic Alignment and Evaluating the Comparative Power of Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Preserving Strategic Alignment and Evaluating the Comparative Power of Your Digital Marketing Efforts

It is important for any business to maintain strategic focus of its marketing programs, and to objectify and quantify the effectiveness of various campaign components for the purposes of optimizing media, creative, message, website execution and spend.

For years we’ve all heard about how digital marketing is the most measurable kind of marketing you can do. If this is the case, why do so few organizations effectively measure the impact of their digital marketing efforts? This is certainly not to suggest that there is no measurement taking place, but merely to highlight the fact that there is so much more to measure and so much more to learn from measurement.

Does your organization know which audience engages most often? Do you know which technologies they use? Do you know which advertising message performs best? Do you know which medium performs best? Can you effectively compare the impact of social media, or media relations or events to your pay-per-click or banner programs? Furthermore, can you evaluate all of your marketing activities against your overarching strategic objectives?

If you answered “no” to these questions, you’re leaving information on the table. To start with your analysis, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what your organization is trying to accomplish. Are you all about selling products online? Or convincing website visitors to subscribe to your online newsletter? Are recipe downloads the goal? Or building travel itineraries, because you understand that’s an indicator of concrete travel plans?

It doesn’t matter what your conversion goal is; it just matters that you’ve got one, because that goal should form the basis for all performance measurement. Without the goal, there is no strategy. As Alice in Wonderland said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

The campaign, program or thing that hits your conversion most efficiently and for the lowest cost is where you should put your money. If you use the simple algorithm below for all of your programs (or ads or events) you will be able to easily compare their effectiveness.

If you want to preserve strategic alignment of your programs, use this measurement every time to consider new creative, or a media change, or if you decide to conduct a new program. Remember: your strategic goal is to achieve conversion. (NOTE: You may have more than one conversion goal; just make sure you evaluate all programs designed to support that conversion.)

As you can see, evaluating the total conversion cost of an ad, or campaign or other activity is a straight-forward proposition. But what about evaluating the tactical or contributing impact of a campaign element?

If you look at the schematic below, you will see a simple illustration of the three Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are typically examined when evaluating a digital marketing effort.  

In the Traffic Driving area, you can look at campaign and website analytics to explore which campaign, which audience, which creative, or which offer drove the most traffic to your website or landing page. This analysis can help you optimize your media targeting and spend.

In the Engagement area, you can evaluate elements that impact your visitor’s movement through your website or landing page, and you can evaluate the engagement power of an idea, a creative approach or content in general.

In the User Interface area – the point at which a consumer is closest to conversion – you can evaluate the effectiveness of the design and interface of the page where conversion happens. (This could be a subscription form or shopping area or even a simple contact form.) Here you can use your website analytics to examine the number of raw visits to the page, how many visitors started the process, how many abandoned (and where), and how many finished. This analysis can give you very valuable information you can use to streamline the conversion process, whether that includes simplifying questions on a survey, or changing the way your shopping cart is presented, or other adjustments that improve your conversion rates.

The bottom line with digital marketing is that it’s up to you to fulfill the promise of measurability. Campaign and website analytics are powerful tools designed to help any marketer get more from his or her marketing spend, as long as these four rules are followed:

  • Every marketing effort needs goals.
  • Every goal needs a well-defined conversion point.
  • Every tactic needs to be evaluated against that conversion point.
  • And every element must be optimized.