One of the topics I have covered recently with my Marketing Apprentices is analytics and marketing metrics.  Surfing the internet, there are lots of blogs and articles on what to measure but very little about why you should.  For my fledgling marketers, I would argue that the why is almost more important than the what, or even the how; knowing why you are measuring is surely the starting point for what and how you measure?  I have put together my thoughts on why we should be keeping an eye on the numbers; here are my top five reasons.

Get dynamic feedback

One of the joys of digital marketing channels, compared to traditional ones, is that they provide us with live data on how our activity is performing.  If you’ve committed to a month’s worth of billboard adverts, it’s a challenge to say after two weeks if it’s having the desired effect, and even harder to change it if it’s not!  With digital, however, we have the opportunity to reflect on our activity almost hourly and to tweak or change it dynamically to fine tune our results.

Check progress against objectives

As all good marketers know, every activity should have some specific goals, however broad.  If we know what these goals are, they are much easier to measure against.  And not just our end goals, the ‘telltales’ or KPIs along the way too.  If an objective is to generate more visitors to an event, waiting until the event to see how many people turn up is too late; measuring RSVPs, shares and mentions along the way will give us an early indication of whether we’re going to meet our main objective.

Demonstrate your return on investment

Whether you are working in a marketing agency, freelance or in-house, all marketers need to demonstrate to someone the value in what they are doing and the return on investment they are seeing; that we are using resources wisely and working towards shared objectives. We can only do this by recording our activity and metrics.

Learn about your audience

It’s impossible to underestimate the value of knowing your own audience.  Recording data (even the ‘vanity metrics’ of likes and shares) and comparing it over different activities and campaigns will start to give you an understanding of what your market likes; to benchmark a particular type of activity for your organisation and your audience.  You can drill down into time of day, topic, imagery, messages etc to identify trends and inform your future activity to get the best results.

Value the importance of good marketing

Sadly, for many organisations, marketing is the ‘easy’ budget to cut when times are hard (perversely, in my view, as that is the time when you need more marketing not less!).  Even decisions such as to recruit a new member of staff or invest in new resource will require some data in order to make the business case.  All marketers need to think about recording the value of their activity in relation to an organisations business goals – sometimes in order to justify their existence but, more often, to pitch for further investment at a more strategic level.

If you read my previous blog “Without data, marketing is just guesswork“, you’ll already know that I think measuring performance and effectiveness is important. I hope these reasons have helped convince you just how important!