How to Raise Your KPIQ: Key Performance Indicators and Your Marketing IQ

Digital Marketing

You’re driving. You need to know what speed you’re traveling at, how many miles you’ve traveled, how much gas remains in the tank, and what temperature your engine is running at.

Now imagine how much it’d slow you down to go to four separate places to get that information. You’d have to stop and restart your journey each time you check one of those numbers.

Sounds ridiculous, right? That’s why your car’s equipped with a dashboard, and why automakers keep updating dashboards to make them into more powerful tools that deliver more information at a glance.

This now concludes our metaphor.

Now, let’s get to the point: Marketers need dashboards, too, else they burn time in pursuit of the numbers they need. And that’s no way to optimize your mileage (well hello again, metaphor).

Seriously, though, serious digital marketers are masters of measurement:

  1. The good ones simplify decision-making processes by examining marketing metrics.
  2. The better ones simplify the examination process by establishing a manageable set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to review regularly.
  3. The best ones simplify their KPI review process by consolidating their analytics sources in one place.

I call this phenomenon “KPIQ.”

Seeing as how I’ve been doing digital marketing since it got its start, I feel qualified to make up my own terms now and then. So I ask you to indulge me as I present…

KPIQ, the degree of intelligence you bring to your marketing performance and measurement.

Let’s work toward raising your KPIQ in three steps.

1. Establish your KPIs

You can have a KPIQ only if you have KPIs, so you need to consider which performance indicators are key to your business. Jay Baer puts content marketing metrics into four primary buckets:

  1. Consumption: The most fundamental type of content metric, consumption can be measured as pageviews or downloads.
  2. Sharing: All of the various social channels offer sharing-related metrics (such as tweets and likes).
  3. Lead generation: This metric will generally come from form fills, which might be measured with your marketing platform or by Google Analytics (where thank-you pages indicate a lead was generated).
  4. Sales: Measurement of sales will require integrating your marketing automation platform and CRM or e-commerce system.

HubSpot points out that the less you know about your key performance indicators, the less likely you are to meet your revenue goals. Its research shows seven metrics marketers commonly use to measure content marketing success:

  1. Traffic
  2. Sales
  3. Conversion
  4. SEO rank
  5. Time on site
  6. Customer feedback
  7. Subscriber growth

Here’s another way you could consider organizing metrics by category and KPIs, suggested by PracticalEcommerce:

There’s no need to agree that any one model is the perfect model or to embrace someone else’s suggested list of KPIs. What is important is to create categories and KPIs that relate to your business’s marketing goals so that they’re meaningful to your business.

2. Make it easy to access your KPIs

Every marketing platform offers some sort of analytics. That’s good news: The numbers you need are readily available. That’s also bad news: It can take a ton of keyboard jockeying to pull information from so many disparate sources.

Marketers—and other professionals who rely on metrics to make data-driven decisions—spend far too much time collecting, monitoring, and analyzing data. As new services get added to the mix, the problem grows more severe.

A practical solution is to corral the needed data into a dashboard. You can set up dashboards specifically for monitoring social media or Web analytics or a variety of marketing and sales data—in a single view.

Here is an example of a social media dashboard from Cyfe, a service that enables you to monitor, access, and share your KPIs from a single location in real-time:

3. Apply what you learn from your KPIs

Key performance indicators become keys to optimizing your marketing only when you apply what you learn.

In a post about the importance of analytics integration, Cyfe claims you should apply marketing data to…

  • Identify opportunities. Looking at a big picture of your analytics and how your digital marketing efforts work together (or don’t), helps you identify opportunities and make more intelligent decisions.
  • Improve communication. When marketing data flows freely between departments and systems, teams are better able to align their efforts and achieve common goals.
  • Streamline sales and marketing. Companies achieve faster growth when they successfully align sales and marketing processes. Creating a central hub of intelligence to be used by both teams to target the right customers provides an important step toward achieving alignment.

A study by McKinsey about analytics and the future of marketing and sales, found that companies that put data at the center of their marketing and sales decisions improve their marketing return on investment by 15-20%.

And that’s the basic formula for raising your KPIQ:

  1. Establish KPIs
  2. Consolidate them
  3. Apply what you learn

Take a smarter approach to marketing by allowing performance indicators to guide your decisions. Watch what happens.

This post originally appeared here.

Twitter: @FeldmanCreative

LinkedIn: Barry Feldman

Measuring B2B Marketing Success

Get a bunch of B2B marketing professionals together and ask them: What are your most important criteria for benchmarking performance and how do you define marketing success? You’ll probably get some blank stares and muddled answers. “Well, we find that in this world of Web 2.0, commitment to advertising synergy…” blah blah blah. But the fact is that good marketing is both an art and a science.

Unless you can explain concisely how your department measures and reports on work output, you will not be recognized as a good marketer, let alone be viewed as indispensible in a tough economic climate. Start the thinking-through process by asking yourself these six questions.  Note that some of these are soft/qualitative measurements while others are hard/quantitative measurements – both are important.

  1. Do you have a well-defined value proposition that is communicated in all your marketing messages and promotions? Can your entire team express this message in a concise and compelling elevator pitch?
  2.  Are you targeting the right individuals at the right companies? Do you know who these people are and have you captured them in a system (CRM or database) that allows for ongoing targeted communications?
  3. Is your brand/image being accepted by the marketplace? Are you seen by your prospects and customers in a way that is consistent with the way you see yourself?
  4. Does every part of your end-to-end marketing and sales model work? Are you both effective and efficient at every phase of the process or are there gaps that keep you from achieving your goals?
  5. Do you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the sales department that specifies the quantity and quality of leads you will be delivering? Is this a sufficient quantity for the company to achieve its revenue objectives?  If you need more information on how to determine lead requirements, read our article How Many Sales Leads Do You Need?
  6.  How many of the leads that you deliver to sales are truly qualified – do they meet the agreed-to criteria and have the potential of actually buying something from you?

B2B marketing is tough but it is even tougher if you don’t know how to evaluate your marketing success. Each of the above questions forces you to reflect on a different part of the value you’re providing to your organization. I’m not saying that these specifically should be your marketing success benchmark questions – but I am saying that you need to determine and release your own performance indicators. Remember that you can’t improve what you can’t measure, so start measuring and keep improving.