Somebody once gave me a piece of sage, yet vague, advice: you can’t manage what you can’t measure. In this Age of (Data) Measurement, I’d argue that while truer words may have been spoken, none have been more critical to marketing success today.

A few words about measuring:

For this issue, I’ll assume you’ve created message hypotheses (see my previous post), trialed them, and arrived at a message that makes sense. And I’ll assume you’ve created some compelling reason to engage your audience (for example, a white paper, infographic, calculator or other popular component).
So now that you’ve got your words, and you’ve chosen that appropriate carrot to dangle, it’s time to build your tactical plan. But don’t start by moving forward. You actually have to work backward—from your goal.

Let me explain. If you’re trying to achieve 100 marketing qualified leads (MQL), you have to look at each media tactic (e-mail, site sidebar, social ecosystem, and so on), and use the typical “form fills generated per X visitors” to determine how many and how deep you need to cast your net to get the goal number.

It’s been my experience that no two clients have the same approach. I work with AT&T, McKesson, Elsevier and IHS, and each uses a different set of parameters to screen MQLs. No client’s approach is better than the others’; they’re just different. Each is bound to the unique nature of their sales organization and what they consider their most important qualifier(s).

As a result, each has an MQL conversion rate unique to them—as should you. Once you’ve established the total traffic you’ll be driving (determined from the past performance of your tactics) you can apply the conversion-rate-to-MQL you established and see if you reach your goals with the tactical mix you’ve assembled.

If the math doesn’t add up, you need to change the mix to get to the number you need. This is the only way you can ensure predictable success. (That assumes hope isn’t your strategy. If it is, we need to have a separate conversation—soon.) If you’ve maxed out the existing media at your disposal (e-mail touches, social responses, etc.) then you need to enhance your mix or modify your strategy. Some strategies may include:

  • Adding new media tactics (e.g., eBlasts)
  • Increasing qualifying criteria to reduce “junk” leads and increase “qualified” conversion rates
  • Attacking the “leads-in-funnel” with a nurture program to help fill the gap
  • And while there are several other approaches, these should get you thinking outside of the “higher frequency” box.

In the next issue, we’ll talk about what you should be measuring, and why. Stay tuned.

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Dan Hansen

Dan Hansen

Senior Partner

Dan Hansen is a Senior Partner with Red House and a 30-year veteran of the marketing industry. In addition to holding a master’s degree in advertising from Syracuse University, he works in a marketing consulting capacity with Red House clients such as McKesson, Elsevier, Equifax, and AT&T.