Ever wish you had a crystal ball that could tell you what the future holds for your business? Maybe a deck of mystical tarot cards that would plot out the perfect marketing strategy? Stop counting your lucky stars or consulting your horoscope: what you really need is data. Cold, hard, indisputable numbers that measure your performance and guide you to making informed, thoughtful decisions about marketing your brand. Best of all, unlike putting all your chips on the table and praying for lucky number 7s, when used correctly, performance data and predictive analytics (combined with a little help from your friendly neighborhood data experts) are a guarantee for success.
These aren’t fortune tellers; they’re fortune makers. So let's dive into the world of performance data and predictive analytics and talk about how these two strategies can make you money...
Marketing performance data comprises the tools and methods you use to measure your current performance based on your business’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Whatever the size and scope of your business, I’m betting you’re already tracking your analytics – but when it comes to maximizing your performance data, what matters most is what you’re tracking, and how you’re using that information. Below are three steps to put your brand on the path to performance data success:
Before you can look to the future, you have to look to the past. Conduct an in-depth audit of your KPIs and ensure they still fit your evolving brand. KPIs should be dynamic, just like your business. Adjust them where needed, so you know your metrics will align with your goals. We adjust our client KPIs on a yearly basis, at minimum, but sometimes those KPIs are adjusting monthly or quarterly based on project and priority shifts. Your KPIs really should be a living, breathing document.
In general, your KPIs should be very high-level goals, and then there should be supporting metrics laddered under that. For example, with SEO you might have these KPIs and supporting metrics:
Grow Organic Revenue
Organic conversion rate
Grow Organic Traffic
# of ranked keywords
# of first page keywords
# of rich snippets
Improve Technical Site Health
Increase site audit score
Improve page load time
These days, there’s a tool to measure just about everything. Want to know how many users browse your site while taking a bathroom break? There’s probably an app for that.
We kid, but when it comes to meaningful insights, quality is far more important than quantity. You don’t just want the numbers; you want the right numbers. If you’re looking at marketing performance, these are just a handful of the metrics you need to be tracking per inbound marketing channel and skip the rest.
Below are the exact KPIs we use at First Page to track inbound marketing performance for one of our clients. From the below, you can see that we're focused on the big numbers that show growth. We're not focused on small things that you're often told to track in articles about marketing analytics, such as open rate and click rate in an email. As a founder, CMO or CEO, do you really care about an open rate and click rate in an email? No, you care if the email channel is driving more business. The rest is just semantics in order to optimize and improve performance. The "semantics" should be paid attention to by an Email Expert, we're not saying ignore it. We're just saying: it's important to hone in on high-level growth metrics when reporting to leadership, the company, or telling your marketer what they're responsible for in their job.
(Listed in above)
Increase MOFU transactions from email
Transactions from Abandoned Cart
Transactions from Leads newsletter
Increase BOFU transactions from email
Transactions from Onboarding Campaign
Transactions from customer newsletter
Increase Product Awareness
Visits to login page
Increase affiliate purchases
Upsell transactions from email
Grow Top of Funnel
Subscriber Growth: # of Subscribers
Lead Growth: # of leads
Grow Middle of the Funnel
MQL growth: # of MQLs
Percentage of leads who moved from Lead to MQL
Customer Growth: #of customers
Percentage of MQLs to Customers
Grow Revenue from Content
Grow Traffic from Content
Grow TOFU/MOFU from Content
MOFU content downloads from blog
TOFU: Blog subscribers
Increase Brand Awareness from Social
More traffic from social
More engagement with social posts
Increase Content Distribution
Increase content distribution (shares)
Increase eyeballs on content (impressions)
As noted above, there are tools that should track each of these metrics, and it will require you to pull data from multiple sources such as Google Analytics, HubSpot and Facebook. But, if you’re looking for an all-in-one dashboard to track all of your marketing efforts, it will save you time and put the numbers you need at your fingertips if you setup a marketing dashboard to aggregate your data. This is what we do at First Page for our clients and after some initial heavy lifting setup, it's good to go every month with minor tweaks as projects change or are added.
See something, say something. Or in this case, do something. The great thing about real-time market performance data is that it gives you an opportunity to make adjustments to your marketing strategy in the moment, reaching buyers wherever they are in the customer journey with the message they need to hear. What are some of the benefits of performance data tracking? We’re glad you asked! It's hard to tell sometimes what exact marketing tactics are going to result in growth for your brand because every brand is different. For that reason, it's usually better to diversify your approach and test out many different growth tactics. So, tracking your data will help you understand:
Efficiency: with data tracking, you ensure that you’re putting your people power where it matters, rather than wasting hours and energy on tactics that will never pay out.
Adaptability: real-time performance data measurement keeps you agile and flexible, and allows you to make changes as needed, rather than waiting weeks or even months for reports and analysis.
Savings: the bottom line is that it all comes down to your bottom line. Performance data tracking will save you money, time and a lot of headaches along the way.
Now that you’ve looked to your past numbers to help you adapt and customize your marketing strategy in the present, it’s time to start looking toward the future. No crystal balls here, but with the right tools and data, you can get a glimpse into a brave new world of marketing success.
Predictive analytics is the process of marrying consumer data with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and algorithms to make and model predictions about future behavior. Predictive analytics doesn’t just use old data to influence strategy now – it makes theories based on your information to hypothesize likely future actions and influence decisions. It’s come a long way in the last decade, and in fact, a Salesforce study indicates that 91% of top marketers are already using it. So, how can you begin to implement predictive analytics? It starts a lot like the performance data process we outlined above, with firming up your KPIs, choosing which metrics to analyze, and making marketing decisions based on those findings. However, predictive analytics continues from there...
Once you’ve nailed down your performance data process, you can begin with a predictive analytics plan. The steps you’ll need to add on to your process include:
Modeling: Once your data is collected, put on your fortune teller hat and start making predictions. These shouldn’t be shots in the dark; they should be educated theories backed by your data.
Implementation: Create a marketing strategy informed by your predictions, focusing first on the tactics that have the most certain outcome.
Monitoring: Watch the results closely, and don’t be afraid to make adjustments. Like any performance tracking, the numbers will change… and so should your strategy.
If you’re still wondering exactly what predictive analytics will do for your business, here are just some of the areas in which future-casting will have an impact on the way you market:
Understanding Consumer Behavior: predictive analytics offers a deeper and more accurate look at what motivates your customers, and what influences their decision-making process.
Generating More Qualified Leads: with a better understanding of buyer behavior, you can target leads further down the funnel, and create content your sales team can use to nurture and eventually convert.
Maximizing Customer Retention: when you know what a consumer needs, you’re going to be in a better position to give it to them.
Influencing Budget Allocation: like any data tracking, predictive analytics will give you a big picture view of what’s working… and what isn’t, allowing you to put your money where it counts.
Understanding and adopting a smart strategy for performance data and predictive analytics in your business may seem daunting, but the investment is quite possibly the best decision you could ever make because it'll start improving your business quickly. There are no sure bets, no tea leaves to interpret or palms to read, but there are numbers and data that will help you make educated predictions about the future. At First Page, our Marketing and Data Analytics Experts have the tools, skills and expertise to interpret the data and recommend strategies that will make your future brighter, bolder and full of success. Contact us today to find out how to get started.