In the world of data-driven marketing, marketers face an interesting challenge of measuring the influx of customer data against the successes of their marketing tactics. When done well, data helps guide various tactics by offering marketers the ability to quickly shift messaging, images and efforts altogether in order to better reach consumers.
To be effective in today's environment, marketing leaders should utilize this data a step further by reworking it in a way that executive leaders within their organization understand. Executives don't want to see vanity metrics, like growth in social media followers and public relations impressions. To communicate marketing successes, marketers need to demonstrate how their efforts directly impacted the business's overall goals, and, more importantly, the bottom line.
Implement these best practices to better articulate to the C-Suite how marketing relates to business success.
Get straight to the data
When it comes to informing your executive team of marketing successes, get straight to the point by focusing on results, not tactics.
Marketers who demonstrate how things like brand loyalty, awareness, follower growth, and impressions are directly tied to business goals like sales, new leads, and traffic will have the best credibility with the executive team.
At the end of the day, your plans and campaigns are only as strong as the data you provide. When presenting to your C-Suite, here are a few numbers to look at it:
- Sales: This one is so simple that it's often overlooked. What sales did your marketing efforts drive? Put this first. Focus on new sales, traffic and hard numbers.
- Lead generation and sales: Think of this as the long-term sales numbers. Maybe you didn't drive sales on one day, but you did capture new customers. How does this translate into potential revenue? Knowing how many new leads were generated shines, knowing just how much money those leads are bringing into the company shines brighter.
- Return on investment (ROI): If you have a strong ROI, highlight this. For instance, did you only spend $10 on a Facebook ad that drove $1,000 in sales? That's a huge ROI. Tout it and then share how you plan to replicate it.
- Marketing and competitors: How is your brand performing against top competitors? PR impressions, Facebook followers, etc., are all great, but relating what this means for share of voice will help tell a complete story.
When it comes to getting straight to the data, cut through the communication clutter. Don't convolute your message and great sales results by using countless words that hide the results.
In other words, don't use 10 words if five will suffice. For example, instead of saying, "Our PR activation garnered more than 1 million media impressions and 250,000 social shares to result in a 56 percent increase in traffic and $500,000 in sales." Try this: "A 56 percent increase in traffic led to $500,000 in sales from the PR event."
Look ahead: You've shared your success, don't forget to share how it drives your future
You've had a great campaign, you saw incredible sales-driving business results and then the inevitable "what's next" question comes up.
Why not get ahead of these questions and share how your data-driven information will inform your next campaign by thinking about how these marketing metrics and sales figures will drive future business?
This is where you can bring in some of the marketing metrics you've gathered from your last campaign to drive sales. Tie these numbers to strong key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Engagement: Measuring engagement goes beyond impressions to tell you just how (you guessed it) engaged your audience is. What posts or campaigns are garnering the most engagement? How does this translate to sales? How can you replicate the best-performing posts?
- Sentiment: As marketers, we should measure the positive, neutral and negative sentiment of both public relations and customers. Understand your baseline sentiment and then work to improve and maintain the positive/neutral connection.
- Traffic: Both online and in-stores (if you have a brick-and-mortar) matter here. What is driving the most traffic for your brand? Key in on this and leverage.
- Behavior flow: When a customer lands on your website or in your store, what is their behavior flow. Do they leave right away? What are they engaging with? Knowing how they interact tells you about their journey and lends insight into how to guide it.
- Promotions: Measure the tangibles. Can an online ad be tracked with a landing page, channel-specific offer or other measurable efforts that tie directly to sales results?
- Public relations/ impressions: Can an increase in brand loyalty or awareness be attributed to a PR campaign? Can PR be tied to sales, if it is tied to a specific day, event or activation?
As you measure marketing metrics, it is important to evaluate the best-performing tactics to learn how to drive future campaigns. Learn from what works, what doesn’t and modify your future campaigns accordingly.
Bringing it all together
Marketing is a key driver of sales and lead generation for any business. While it is vitally important to communicate the right message to your external-facing customer with the use of data-driven strategies, translating that message to key members of the executive team ensures marketing successes are recognized internally and that any positive impacts toward company goals are credited appropriately.
Strong communications of how the marketing team's efforts influenced the business's overall KPIs leads to better marketing spend and an improved understanding of just how marketing drives business for the long-term. And, ultimately, it will build rapport and trust with the executive team.