Tag Archives: KPIs

Blog Gold 2010: The only KPI that matters…

I wrote back in December 2009 about conversion being the only KPI that matters. Any activities that don’t drive customer engagement and uptake with your business are a cost not an investment.

It is very easy to be seduced by statistics, to keep yourself busy, and to convince yourself, your team, your subordinates and your management, that everything is measurable.

You can track advertising responses by keeping an eagle eye on reader enquiries or logging responses to a campaign landing page. For PR you might compare column inches as advertising equivalent value and opportunities to see, extrapolating circulation to give an idea of visibility.

You can monitor traffic flow on your website by considering entry and exit data, hot and cold spots, time spent, pages viewed, number of return visits, sign ups and registrations, downloads, comments and forum postings.

For emarketing and online advertising you can reference open and click through rates. For exhibitions you can log booth visitors, enquiries and orders. You can monitor ‘social’ media by keeping an eye on fans, follows, friends, connections and links.

Don’t be the busy fool. Sure, all these will help refine your marketing, but at the end of the day marketers need to remember you are, for the most part an employee of a commercial business. If you don’t convert interested parties, you won’t be in business for very long. All your efforts should be focused to that single KPI of converting – whether it is selling, selling more, selling frequently and repeat selling.

Whether you are into product, service, information, price comparison, subscriptions it really doesn’t matter. You need to drive prospects through the line from unaware to awareness, engagement, trust, conversion and advocacy to stand a chance of making your business a success in 2010.

I view most KPIs as a distraction from the main objectives and that most readers of this blog should however avoid nice to have, time sapping fluff and focus on conversion.

Originally posted 18 December 2009. Image courtesy of Scyong

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Marketing Metrics 1: Why measure?

With the post Principles of Marketing 13: Evaluation becoming the most read blog post on this site in the last nine months, I figured it was time to explode the subject in more detail with a series of blog posts dedicated to measuring marketing effectiveness

This is an area where marketers often struggle and is a primary reason for marketing not being taken seriously at board level in many businesses. A strong correlation needs to be made between marketing investment and return. And it’s no surprise that companies that do well also integrate marketing into their business development and sales strategies.

Whilst online marketing provides a level of traffic and conversion evaluation, more traditional approaches along with the latest viral and digital techniques are more difficult to quantify in terms of ROI. The explosion in the popularity and ease of networking and sharing content online adds to the problem.

Just how do you possibly track back brand awareness, brand and market share, and return in investment to these activities?

Blog posts upcoming include advertising offline, advertising online, direct mail, exhibitions, conferences, websites / blogs, emarketing, social media – Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook, brand / brand value and financial ROI.

Excellent client service

Agencies sometimes get the concept of client service confused with maximising client profitability. They are linked from the perspective that happy clients are often spending clients but a good client service strategy shouldn’t unduly impinge or impact on your client relationship.

Clients can be confused and concerned about sudden changes in agreements, retainers, rates and personel so minimise any risk by putting in place a client service plan and then deliver against it.

1. Introduce Standard Agreements / Service Level Agreements for all new clients only, and roll them out gradually to existing clients of a certain size. SLAs are different to contracts (unless a retainer is involved) as they should talk more about service, responsiveness, policy and process.
2. Create tailored KPIs for each client (internal KPIs for the agency as well as KPIs you can share with the client to demonstrate your superior focus on measurement and their ROI). See my post in Principles on KPIs.
3. Create and then review a rate card of staff rates and include a transparent discount structure based on specific and quantifiable volume of work.
4. Evaluate and continually re-evaluate each client’s pricing based on the previous and predicted levels of support.
5. Produce rolling annualised internal plans, linking in to deliverable KPIs, with a quarterly focus.
6. Agree status reporting intervals and level of telephone and face to face contact with each client.
7. Provide transparent financial reporting and regular billing intervals. This helps to create more frequent billing where appropriate (to aid cash flow). Ensure invoices link to quotes and have all the right information to be quickly processed.
8. Working on a retainer basis provide long term security but often on reduced rates. Decide if retainers can work in your business and migrate larger clients to them.
9. Develop client optimisation plans (internal documents highlighting opportunity areas for each client) with the express aim of locking them in with additional and previously unused services.
10. Install effective, regular and added value customer relationship management with all clients & prospects (can be as simple or complicated as you choose).
11. Create a referral reward scheme and encourage referrals (this is the easiest way to secure new business).
12. Encourage trial & take up by providing a limited number of taster workshops, white papers, meetings.
13. Provide proactive reiews of clients, their business and challenges once a year.
14. Put in place a rigorous client feedback process right from first project, to six month and twelve month reviews, compiled in advance on both sides and discussed face-to-face.
15. Overhaul your website – bring in external support (most agencies are poor at managing their own site), add a client login area, add a blog that anyone can post to, and use social media to provide and promote incoming links.
Some small, some large, most relevant and at the heart of delivering excellent client service in the information age.

Principles of marketing 13: Evaluation

Though evaluation typically comes at the end of a period of activity, the process involves benchmarking against preset key performance indicators which are set in relation to objectives at the beginning. If you haven’t followed a robust planning approach, your evaluation will unfortunately be sketchy at best.

Encouragingly, the digital revolution has extended the ability to evaluate activity such that weblogs, analytics programs and other automated controls can be used to immediately and powerfully inform marketers as to the success or failure of an activity and help to pinpoint where corrective remedy needs to be focused.

You can track enquiries, registrations, sign ups and log ins on your websites and from emails and other marketing. (Use of targeted campaign specific landing pages helps to track all advertising, direct marketing, social media and PR traffic).

You can more specifically track and calculate return based on visitor numbers (unique and return over time), enquiries, conversions and terminations. Monitoring terminations and what lies un-purchased in online baskets allows you to contact them or refine your online ordering to make it easier.

It goes without saying the main KPI is to evaluate against revenues i.e. same or more from existing customers, new customers or new products and services to both existing and new customers.

Duration of time spent instore/on your website are good ‘soft’ barometers of interest, as are the running of recommend/send to a friend features which encourage word of mouth – again all tracked back to a specific landing page / log in.

I make no apology for keeping it simple – it’s what this blog is built on. Companies and global brands spend millions tracking brand mentions on the web, tracking their brand position, brand share, brand equity and lots of other stuff. Good luck to them.

Ultimately, the name of the game of evaluation is to keep doing the right things right and to stay profitably in business. With the pressure of new business in the current economic environment so stark,  maybe ensuring you have the same customers next year that you had this year is the best place to start?

The only KPI that matters?

Unless you work for a charity, there is only really one Key Performance Indicator that matters in your marketing.

Sure if you want to review your advertising your might measure reader enquiries or track responses to a campaign landing page. For your PR you might compare column inches as advertising equivalent value and opportunties to see.

For emarketing and online advertising you have open and clickthrough rates. For exhibitions you have booth visitors. You can monitor ‘social’ media by keeping an eye on fans, follows, friends, connections and links.

And can monitor traffic flow on your website by considering entry and exit data, hot and cold spots, time spent, pages viewed, number of return visits, sign ups and registrations, downloads, comments and forum postings.

All these will help refine your marketing but at the end of the day, you are a commercial business.

If you don’t convert them, you won’t be in business for very long. All your efforts should be focused to that single KPI of selling, selling more, selling frequently and repeat selling. Whether you do it hard, soft or both is another discussion.

All other KPIs are nice to have’s for large enterprises with big teams to keep busy and agencies to keep in check. Most of the readers of the this blog should however avoid the nice to have, time saping fluff.