Anatomy of a Marketing Plan - Metrics

This is the third post in the 'Anatomy of a Marketing Plan' series. 

Using data to make decisions can be intimidating at first. However, once you have your bearings, it can be incredibly powerful. Marketing with an eyes-wide-open approach can empower you to see the impacts of decisions and the performance of ideas.

In this blog post, we’ll share some thoughts on how to structure your marketing plan with key metrics in place. It's worth noting that the world of data science goes extremely deep. This post is intended to give you a very basic framework, with some tips and exercises along the way. 

Break it down. What are the basic types of marketing data?

Let’s think back to our last post where we covered strategies and tactics. From a marketing standpoint, we can think about our various initiatives as falling into two primary categories: awareness of a brand, product or service; or action that moves a customer to the next stage of the sale. Marketing metrics can be configured in much the same way. 

As an exercise, let’s look at a sample marketing plan. 

Beauty Renegade has an objective to raise awareness and drive sales for its new clean beauty product line. To help spread the word, they are going to hold 1 clean beauty event per month in various target markets throughout the United States for 6 months. To do this, they are going to 1) promote the events on social media and 2) send invitations to existing Beauty Renegade customers in the mail.

Now, the question is, how will they measure success?

Let’s apply what we know so far: we can measure marketing efforts in terms of awareness or action. So now, try looking at the tactics in this example under this lens.

Tactic #1: Promote the events on social media.

For the most part, social media is used as an inbound tactic to draw the attention of your customers. It is hard to measure, but can be quantified. To determine how effective this tactic is for promoting awareness, I would suggest tracking likes, comments, shares and clicks on a trackable link. In terms of measuring actions, ask people “how did you hear about this event?” at signup. Count how many people chose to attend based on social media, and calculate the percentage as compared with total attendees.

Tactic #2: Send invitations to existing customers in the mail.

This is a direct response tactic with a clear call to action, which are generally simpler to measure. If the invitation included a special offer code, we could track how many signup “actions” we got from this direct outreach.

OK, are you with me so far? The example above is intended to demonstrate a basic structure for your marketing data.  As you approach your own plan ask yourself, “Is this a tactic that will promote awareness or action?”

So how do I decide what to track?

The specific tactics and strategies in your marketing plan will ultimately drive what you need to track. While every business plan is different, there are some common metrics in each category to help you get started. At a basic level, these may include things like: 

Awareness (Reach)

  • Number of total customers
  • Number of mailing list signups
  • Number of social media followers
  • Number of media articles or mentions
  • Number of marketing touches
  • Search engine ranking

Action (Conversions)

  • Total dollars in sales
  • Number of purchases
  • Average purchase amount
  • Purchases by customer

So what exactly should you do with all this data?

When it comes to analyzing your data, you have to start by looking at the numbers on a regular basis. As a best practice, review a summary of mission-critical metrics once per week and take a deep dive once a month. It can also help to look at averages over longer time periods so that you don't have a knee-jerk reaction to a bad week or month.

During these regular reviews, ask yourself “Which metrics are underperforming?” For example, if your number of total purchases is healthy, but the average purchase amount is low, we can start brainstorming ways to increase that particular action. This simple question will help you start fine tuning your marketing machine. 

Once you get the hang of it, studying your data to uncover these insights can be incredibly gratifying-- and rewarding!  As the final component of your marketing plan, metrics will help you implement your strategies like a pro.

Do you have questions about tracking your marketing efforts? Tonic Marketing helps our clients develop complete, coherent marketing plans for our customers. If you would be interested in a brainstorm to discuss your specific needs and goals, let’s grab coffee.

Sara Soergel