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How Top-Performing Marketers Use Data and Measurements

September 8th, 2020 Andrea Bartman

Modern marketers rely on data to drive results and make decisions. With the ever-changing landscape of marketing and the constant struggle to break through the competitor’s noise to reach consumers, a data-driven approach has never been more important.

As we continue to explore the details of our Experiences Everywhere Report, we want to delve deeper into how top-performing marketers use data and measurements differently than mainstream marketers.

How Top-Performing Marketers Approach Data

Webinerd in a green jacket adjusts data to reduce churn for her company.

In addition to great customer experiences and driving engagement, top-performing marketers also use data and measurements differently than mainstream marketers.

To-performing marketers are more data-driven and are more likely to report on engagement metrics than mainstream marketers. When asked about the most important metric to report on for their go-to-market program, top performers more strongly value both individual (45% vs. 29%) and account level (41% vs. 30%) engagement metrics. These engagement metrics are in addition to bottom-line numbers like customer acquisition cost (57% vs. 35%), marketing-influenced revenue (49% vs. 38%) and cost per lead (47% vs. 38%).

With the average B2B sales cycle being six months and up, many marketers fail to consider long-term metrics. Trying to show results from short-term metrics does not accurately show the whole picture of a marketing plan. Top-performing marketers realize this more often than mainstream marketers. In fact, 88% of top performers say they focus on long-term metrics just as much as short-term metrics. In comparison, only 73% of mainstream marketers agreed with this.

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Another area where top-performing marketers set themselves apart from the mainstream is through measuring and reporting their program’s performance. It’s no shock to anyone that marketing professionals want results quickly and easily since there never seems to be enough time to do their jobs. Thirty-four percent of top performers say their process of gathering and reporting results is “very easy” whereas only 8% of mainstream marketers can say the same.

Similarly, top performers are much more confident in the accuracy of their data and measurements than mainstream marketers. When asked about their confidence level in measuring their marketing program compared to their goals, 64% of top performers responded with “very confident.” Only 16% of mainstream marketers responded in the same way.

How Data and Measurement Impacts Marketing Results

So, you may be wondering, why does all of this matter? It matters because you need to understand how your marketing resources are being allotted and whether or not they’re working the way you want them to.

Often, the marketing budget is one of the first areas downsized in times of business financial crisis. This results in disgruntled marketers who feel their department isn’t valued because they’re always the first thing cut.

But imagine if you could show the higher-ups exactly how your marketing efforts are impacting the business’ bottom line. Maybe they won’t come to you first next time. (Side note: check out Cheri Keith’s conversation with Jay Gaines in the 31st episode of CMO Confessions for his take on this practice.)

Tracking results is also important because you need to know which campaigns and tactics are working and how well they’re working. By having hard numbers and results that trace directly back to your marketing programs, you can see which efforts are having the impact you want, and which ones are missing the mark. Instead of continuing to spend time, energy and money on tactics that aren’t working, having data and measurements gives you the opportunity to regroup and try something different that may have a better outcome.

By having evidence-based information on how your marketing efforts are performing, you give credibility to your efforts, budget, department and leadership within your organization. When analyzed and reported correctly, numbers don’t lie so your results prove that your marketing programs are powerful and a worthy investment.

Overall, you need metrics and data to show how your marketing efforts are performing in the greater landscape. This gives you insight on how you can control, and eventually improve, your marketing programs to ensure they have maximum impact on your target audience.

Tips and Tricks for Becoming a Data-Driven Marketer

We all want to be top-performing marketers who can flash shiny reports from an office full of MarTech solutions all over Instagram, but since many marketers and marketing programs haven’t reached that upper echelon, we thought we’d share some data and measurements tips and tricks to help you get there:

Establish good data habits early on. Get in the habit of checking on your program metrics and tracking them regularly. You need to establish data history so you can see how the numbers change as you add or adjust your marketing programs. If you wait until you need the info, it’s too late.

Also, make sure you keep up with this habit even when you’re busy. You’ll thank yourself for this routine when you need last-minute info to save the day. And remember, the more you familiarize yourself with the data, the easier it is to synthesize it and apply it to your cause.

Start with the basics. Successful marketing does not require advanced degrees in statistical analysis so start with basic measurements and analysis and grow as necessary. You’re more likely to maintain something simple and easy (but still robust!) so start small and add new areas only when you’re comfortable with your current data set. If you dive too deep too quickly, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and the process will become daunting.

Measure what matters and nothing else. Each marketing department and business may want data and measurements on different things, so a one-size-fits-all data set isn’t usually the best option. Determine which metrics matter for your marketing programs, department and leadership and stick to measuring those areas.

It’s perfectly acceptable if these metrics change over time or if you switch it up every now and then but try not to measure things that don’t matter. Research, analysis and reporting require significant time and energy so don’t waste it on things that aren’t relevant to the success of your programs and department.

Whether you’re a marketing data and measurements noob or a seasoned pro, it’s important to know whether your marketing efforts are having the effect you want. It may be intimidating to set up an analytics program from scratch, but knowing your marketing is having the impact you want on your audience and having the numbers to prove it is worth the initial struggle.