It may seem counterintuitive, but the key to marketing success may not be in results – at least in the traditional sense. Rather than focusing on the number of people who visit your website or receive your emails, perhaps evaluating a marketing effort's outcome may hold more value.
Results vs. outcomes
So, what is the difference between a result and an outcome? A result is a smaller piece of what you may review after a marketing campaign, such as a metric. An outcome, on the other hand, is a larger, more meaningful development – the full story of how a campaign affects your business and your bottom line.
If you spread your focus too wide across things like page views, bounce rates and clicks, you may be rendering your campaign ineffective when you should have just been looking at the number of sales all along.
Outcome marketing is a different way of thinking about a campaign. Rather than always running a campaign and analyzing the results, this is a shift to building campaigns around your big-picture goal. It is working backward from the profitable behavior you want, back to the steps to get there. Outcome marketing is a step beyond "performance-based marketing" – it is not just about finding a qualified customer, but a customer who is actually going to use your product and enjoy it.
How to implement outcome marketing in your organization
Implementing outcome marketing could be challenging if your organization's marketing plan is set. You can start with small steps like shifting how you measure your advertising campaigns – you could move to a CPA or ROI campaign model, and eventually get to a bigger overhaul incorporating something like offline outcomes. You could reward your marketing staff not for the volume of leads they bring in, but for only the high-quality leads that turn into customers.
Outcome marketing can be more work upfront but improves results dramatically. As you shift your thinking to this type of model, you'll have a better handle on what your product does, and how to get a meaningful message in front of a relevant prospect.
The next time you are working on a marketing campaign or plan, consider giving outcome marketing a chance.