Short-Term Gains, Long-Term Wins: How to Measure Your Marketing Success

For most direct marketers, cost-per-lead (CPL) and cost-per-sale (CPS) are the default metrics one should track when measuring a campaign’s performance. On the contrary, this is not the case today, given the multi-faceted profile of modern marketing.

Different marketing techniques employ varying metrics and factors when tracking performance and cost. For example, some consider followers, downloads, click-thrus, likes, and email opt-ins as indicators of success, while others swear by brand strength and thought leadership.

Regardless of your preference, all marketers are held accountable for marketing’s impact on sales. Sadly, one-off direct marketing campaigns rarely deliver a strong return on investment (ROI). This is because marketing is a continuous process, and its success hinges on consecutive campaigns down the line.

Interestingly, people prefer instant results; hence, we not only overlook campaigns that fail, but also campaigns that yield nominal results from the start. Note that failure happens in marketing, and learning from such experiences can improve your success. So, here is how you can measure your marketing success, regardless of your campaign performance.

1) Database

Whether you’re running a B2C or B2B campaign, it’s essential to measure the performance and growth of your database. Note that clear and consistent communications with prospects and customers depend on the quality and quantity of your database.

As such, you can leverage analytics tools and modeling strategies to build performance baselines and benchmarks, which provide minimum points for measuring performance and growth. Additionally, you need to track key performance indicators (KPIs) to understand your penetration into your target audiences.

Be sure to adopt this process whenever you’re analyzing your marketing activities, particularly sales and lead generation campaigns.

2) Lead Generation

How much do you spend on generating leads? This is an important question, particularly when managing several marketing activities. It’s essential to compare the performance of all marketing activities on a cost-per-lead or cost-per-acquisition basis.

Work with your sales team to identify marketing programs they prefer—these are the ones you should prioritize to capture more leads. Get your marketing and sales teams to work together on such programs for optimal lead generation. Great examples include social media marketing and customer-facing events.

Recently, consumer marketers have been leaning towards social media, thanks to its relatively low cost and the ability to share targeted messaging and offers with customers. On the other hand, trade shows and customer-facing events tend to have a high cost-per-lead but have relatively short conversion times.

While getting more leads at a lower cost is great, the ultimate test is measuring against your customer lifecycle and conversion to sale. This is what validates the quality of your leads.

3) Measuring Leads to Sales

In any marketing campaign, it’s vital to note that not all initial leads will convert to sales-ready opportunities. That doesn’t mean that the unconverted leads are lost—you can still leverage them during the next buying cycle.

With that in mind, it’s essential to measure the number of leads that convert to actual sales. You’ll need to follow the lead lifecycle to measure and identify incremental touches, which are crucial to lead conversion. This can be done using CRM and marketing automation tools, but they complicate the tracking process.

Regardless of the process, focus on retaining the original campaign source code, which is vital in determining the actual cost-per-opportunity. While at it, be sure to review different customer touchpoints via outbound calls, social media, direct mail, and other campaigns. Bear in mind that the cost-per-opportunity will be higher than the initial cost-per-lead, particularly for high-priced items with long sales cycles.

Summary: Testing + Refining = Success

Determining the success of your marketing campaigns is not a one-shot task. It’s a continuous process that requires you to analyze all your marketing activities and sales cycles. Be sure you have a healthy database of your prospects and customers for seamless marketing and remarketing.

If you have a healthy database, be sure to identify and focus on marketing activities that drive substantial leads. Encourage your sales and marketing teams to cooperate on such campaigns to drive more leads and get more sales-ready opportunities. Keep in mind this is a continuous process—you need to test and refine it while monitoring KPIs to achieve the success you need.

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