Over the last decade, we’ve supported hundreds of Australian and international businesses grow their brands and ultimately their profits.
We’re able to demonstrate our contribution towards our clients’ business outcomes fairly easily with the various PR, social media and marketing platforms that we use.
However, time and time again our clients, other business owners, and marketing and communications managers we network with often ask questions like these:
- “How do I know if our overall marketing strategy is working?”
- “How do we track marketing success?”
- “How do we know if we’re going to reach our growth targets by the end of this year?”
- “Is our digital marketing strategy effective?”
- “Are my blog posts generating leads and sales?”
- “How can I prove to my CEO that our content marketing strategy is supporting the business objectives?”
If this rings a bell with you, read on.
We’re going to help you to create your own marketing measurement framework that will enable you to track your success over time, understand how your marketing and communications strategies and tactics are supporting your business objectives, optimise your efforts over time, and ultimately drive a better marketing ROI that supports business growth.
And… we’ve created a free downloadable marketing measurement framework template for you to use that will enable you to get started right away.
#1: Set your SMART business objectives
Developing business objectives is often trickier than expected, and if you were to ask several different leaders in an organisation they might all give you different answers.
It’s important that your organisation’s leaders all understand the various key business goals and why they are important. We don’t want them only understanding their own departmental or project objectives because that’s what leads to departments and teams becoming siloed and losing touch with how they are contributing toward the bigger picture – overall organisation goals.
Now it’s time to start creating some business objectives that you believe will drive growth for your organisation.
What we don’t want to set here are fluffy objectives like ‘increase sales’ or worse… ‘increase engagement’.
Whoever ends up working on achieving objectives like that would never know what exactly they’re aiming for, or if they’ve achieved the goal, or when they need to achieve it by.
Objectives like this will lead to confusion, inefficiency, demotivation, and a total lack of focus and direction.
How can we set better objectives?
We make SMART objectives.
What are they?
Well, marketing legend, Dave Chaffey defines them as:
- Specific – Can the detail in the information sufficient to pinpoint problems or opportunities? Is the objective sufficiently detailed to measure real-world problems and opportunities?
- Measurable – Can a quantitative or qualitative attribute be applied to create a metric?
- Actionable – Can the information be used to improve performance? If the objective doesn’t change behaviour in staff to help them improve performance, there is little point in it!
- Relevant – Can the information be applied to the specific problem faced by the marketer?
- Time-bound – Can objectives be set for different time periods as targets to review against?
TASK: Add your first business/marketing objective to our free template at the top of the page.
The Measurement Framework on this page should support this single objective.
For subsequent objectives, simply use the template to create measurement frameworks for those objectives either in separate documents or on subsequent pages.
Your business objectives should be very top-level. They should be strategic. For example:
- Increase sales turnover by x% in the next 12 months.
- Increase profit margins by x% in the next 12 months.
- Increase membership by x% in the next 12 months.
#2: Select your media channels for each customer lifecycle stage
Now it’s time to make sure we’re going to cover our bases when it comes to selecting a powerful mix of media channels (you can also call them marketing channels) through which we’re going to engage with our target audience(s).
TASK: Firstly, make sure that you plan to use media channels at each of the customer lifecycle stages:
There are lots of customer lifecycle models we could use for this and you could consider these two proven frameworks instead of what is on our template:
Our template simply takes the elements of these proven frameworks and breaks them up a bit.
Making people who are currently not aware of your brand at all aware of it.
Getting people with an awareness of your brand to express interest in it and what you do by interacting with it on your website, app, and social media channels. This could relate to watching important videos, downloading content, engaging in conversations on social networks for example. Leads generated would also appear here.
Getting people to do the main things you want them to do for the first time, usually, this is making a purchase, becoming a member, becoming a volunteer.
Getting people to do the main things you want them to do again, and again… and possibly spending more money next time.
Giving people such a positive experience that they tell other people how amazing your brand is. This could be through general word-of-mouth (WoM), on social media channels and on review sites.
If you don’t cover all of these areas, you will most likely end up with a poor marketing ROI.
We recommend that you also use the PESO model created by Gini Dietrich to select your media channels.
This is what Gini Dietrich tells us about her model’s media categories:
What is the PESO Model?
The PESO model takes the four media types—paid, earned, shared and owned—and merges them together.
- Paid Media. Paid media, in this case, doesn’t refer to big, fancy commercials and highly creative print ads. On the contrary, paid media for a PR program is social media advertising, sponsored content, and email marketing. Think Facebook ads, LinkedIn video ads (in beta now!), and Outbrain for content amplification.
- Earned Media. Earned media is what you know as either publicity or media relations. It’s getting your name in print. Having a newspaper or trade publication write about you. Appearing on the noon news to talk about your product. It’s what the PR industry is typically known for, because it’s one of the few tangible things we do.
- Shared Media. Shared media is also known as social media. It’s evolving as well, and continues to build beyond just marketing or customer service teams using it. Organizations have begun to use it as their main source of communications internally and externally. This is curated content and Facebook Live. It’s putting the social back in social media by creating engagement and community.
- Owned Media. Owned media is otherwise known as content. It is something you own, and it lives on your website or blog. You control the messaging and tell the story in a way you want it told. This is not hosting your content on Medium or Facebook Notes. It’s owning your content and the platform it lives on.
This is what the model looks like:
Our recommendation here is to cover all of the bases. Ideally, you need to use at least one media channel from each category.
If you don’t do this, you typically won’t be able to achieve the levels of brand exposure and authority building that you’ll need to pull your ideal target customers through the customer lifecycle stages.
This is where you commit to planning a comprehensive strategic tactical mix.
Do this well, and you’ll generally be ahead of your competition who will mostly have a reactive scatter-gun approach to their marketing and communications.
#3: Select KPI metrics
In this column, we get specific about the metrics we are going to track as key performance indicators of success.
Usually, the metrics we choose will be channel specific (e.g. Facebook post shares are specific to Facebook, App downloads are specific to … downloads of our App, etc.)
So, the best way to look at these metrics is it consider them how you can measure the contribution that the selected media channels are making towards your business objectives.
Here are some great articles you can read that will help you to select metrics that matter:
- The Very Best Digital Metrics For 15 Different Companies!
- 9 Content Marketing Metrics You Must Track for a Better Strategy
- Earned Media Measurement for PR: Evolution, Current Practice and Coming Innovations
TASK: Add your metrics to our free marketing measurement framework template here:
#4: Create SMART goals for your media channels
It’s no good if we only specify the metrics we’ll be tracking. We need to go further and set SMART goals for our metrics.
These SMART goals follow the same principles as the SMART business objectives we covered earlier, except that now they are more tactical in nature and specific to the contribution of the media channels we’ve selected.
TASK: Add your channel goals to our template here:
And Dave Chaffey provides the following example SMART objectives:
- Digital channel contribution objective. Achieve 10% online revenue contribution within two years.
- Acquisition objective. Acquire 50,000 new online customers this financial year at an average cost per acquisition (CPA) of £30 with an average profitability of £5.
- Conversion objective. Increase the average order value of online sales to £42 per customer.
- Engagement objective. Increase active customers purchasing at least once a quarter to 300,000 in a market (a hurdle rate metric)
Thanks again Dave!
#5: State the technology you’ll need to get the data for your metrics
The final step is to state where exactly we’re going to get these metrics from, and this usually requires technology. We can also call this our ‘data sources’.
If we don’t do this, every step we’ve taken will have been for nothing.
When you’re doing this, most of the time you’ll be able to get the data you need directly from the selected media channels’ own analytics platforms.
But if you’re using measuring actions taken on your website, you’ll generally use Google Analytics on its own, or possibly combined with marketing platform data (e.g. HubSpot) that will provide you with user-specific insights that cover the whole marketing, sales and customer service interactions.
Here are some great articles that highlight the numerous data sources available:
- 5 Must-Have Data Sources to Improve Your Marketing Team’s Efficiencies
- Integrations with 405 marketing and advertising platforms
- Visualize performance from 65+ one-click integrations in minutes
TASK: Add your tech requirements here:
Once you’ve finalised your measurement framework you should invest in a system that pulls together data from all of the different sources you use and can display them in easily understandable dashboards.
This is critical.
If you don’t have this, you won’t be able to monitor all of your data effectively and you won’t be able to take any corrective or optimisation actions.
If you can’t do this then there is no point in measuring and monitoring anything.
It MUST drive actions.
TASK: get started with a free Databox account. start using their 200+ pre-built reporting templates which will save you’re a lot of time. Then add links to your reporting dashboards in the measurement framework template.
Need any help?
We’ve tried to make the creation of your marketing measurement framework as simple as possible for you, however, we know that it’s not necessarily going to be easy, particularly if you lack the time and technical knowledge to pull it all together.
If you’d like to access our in-house experts to get some support and get you started, simply get in touch and we can set up a convenient time to talk about your needs.
Inbound Marketing Specialist
About the Author:
Alex Hutson works in-house for Polkadot Communications as our Inbound Marketing Specialist. He’s dedicated to helping our clients grow their businesses and get a great return on investment from their marketing and communications budgets. A lot of the success Alex has is because of his focus on strategy, planning and marketing metrics, so it made sense for him to write this post. If you need help aligning your business goals with your digital/inbound marketing strategy, get in touch.
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