Measurement is essential for improving marketing performance, proving marketing’s value, and growing its credibility within the C-suite/senior leadership team. You can’t win the game if you don’t know the score. Having a scoreboard matters because when you can connect specific marketing activities to specific outcomes that impact revenue, you can optimize everything you do.
Measuring marketing performance is never easy, no matter what you call it, whether marketing attribution, measuring marketing ROI, marketing influence, or something else. There are multiple touch points in the customer journey, so many marketing channels, and a seemingly-infinite supply of marketing technology vendors. Any effective approach to measuring marketing performance must embrace that underlying complexity.
Karin Pindle, Senior MarTech and MOPs Advisor for Sojourn, described what makes marketing measurement so difficult and what options are available for doing it effectively during a presentation made at a recent Oracle Eloqua User Group virtual meeting. What follows are excerpts from Pindle’s presentation.
Pindle on measurement challenges. Lots of Eloqua users and marketers, no matter what automation platform they're using. ask ‘how can we measure the ROI of what we're executing out of Eloqua or our MAP?’ So many marketers say, ‘we just can't figure out something as straightforward as an email send where we’re trying to get people to become customers. We have no idea if that email did anything, if it made any impact at all.’
Marketers might purchase ads on LinkedIn or Google, send out direct mail pieces, or use other channels to engage customers. It's just hard for them to have the data to show that a specific activity resulted in a specific impact on revenues.
Pindle on why measurement is so complicated. Customer journeys can be long in B2B and there are usually multiple touch points involving marketing, sales and beyond that influence somebody deciding to buy something. All these touch points, including marketing's communication with a customer, as well as that of sales and customer service, can impact the customer journey and revenues.
The most common marketing touch points typically include your website, chat, your blog, email, organic search, and online ads. How can you track these interactions, and then make sense of them to drive marketing improvement and prove value?
Measuring marketing impact: Good, better, and best
Pindle described three levels of maturity when it comes to an organization’s capacity to measure marketing performance:
Good could mean you’re tracking individual touch points. So you might be looking at what's driving the most views to your website, or who's clicking through your emails – what's your click through rate. You can measure how those specific marketing assets are performing in isolation.
Better is about measuring touch points on a campaign level. You actually have the data to show which campaigns are impacting revenue, which is why it’s better. You might have either a single or a multi-touch attribution model or algorithm you're using across most of your marketing channels, but not across sales, customer service, or your CSM team. You're just marketing focused, not looking at the other touch points outside of marketing.
Best is when you’re looking at and measuring not just marketing touchpoints, but also including sales and customer service/success touchpoints. So you're working across departments to look at all touch points and the full customer journey. You have processes in place for tracking the touchpoint and keeping data clean. So for instance, your lead source values are consistent, and you’re aligned internally across the customer journey so you can improve outcomes.
Options for measuring marketing: CLR versus MPM platforms versus customized solutions
Pindle described three big options marketers can chose to measure their marketing performance:
1. Closed loop reporting, or CLR. CLR comes included with every version of Eloqua. But in order to make CLR work well, you need to have data pushing into Eloqua, such as opportunity data. Eloqua needs purchasing information – who bought what and when. CLR is the cheapest option of the three, with low costs to maintain, and it’s a great place to start measuring impact.
2. Marketing performance management platforms or MPMs. These come under the umbrella of marketing technologies, but they often benefit sales and customer success people too. Some of the best-known MPM platforms are Bizible, Datarama, and Full Circle Insights. These platforms enable you to create the best analytics possible to know which of your marketing efforts are working well, which are not, so you can make changes from there.
3. Customizing a measurement solution. At Sojourn, we've helped many companies build in-house measurement solutions long before the MPM platforms existed. You start by building a data warehouse, pulling data in from all your sources. The hard work is to make sense of all that data, so you’ll need a business intelligence tool sitting on top, something like Tableau. Now you have CDPs that can do some of this work, but this third option is the most time consuming and costly one.
Pindle weighs the options: The MPM platforms are generally the best available option for marketers because they work with various marketing automation platforms, including Eloqua. The net-net is that there are more pros with the MPM platforms than cons. With Eloqua closed loop reporting/CLR, you have more blind spots, meaning touch points that are not tracked by the solution. That limits effectiveness. The ROI out of an MPM platform is very quick to achieve, while customizing a solution requires a great deal of time, cost, maintenance, and effort.
You can watch Karin's full presentation here (it begins at minute 33 of the free on-demand video). If you want to improve your marketing team’s ability to measure marketing performance, and prove marketing’s value, reach out to us here.