Marketing 101: Are Metrics a Good Indicator of Success?
In today’s world, nearly everything can be measured by metrics: Facebook likes, Twitter followers, YouTube views, etc. In a world of big data, metrics drive our behavior, but in sixteen years in business, “metrics” is a word I’ve come to hate. Although metrics can be great in determining ad or website performance, when it comes to overall marketing efforts, focusing on metrics alone may be what kills your marketing plan.
In fact, focusing on metrics can make you lose sight of your overall goals. Most great marketing successes, regardless of your product, are the cumulative result of multiple actions. You can’t depend on a direct measure of success from every single action, otherwise you would get stuck in your tracks early on. Planting and cultivating seeds takes time.
If it’s not working, maybe you’re doing it wrong
Something important to keep in mind is that sometimes marketing efforts don’t work because they are not being done correctly. You may need to put some time and effort into researching the meaning behind your dismal metrics. Could your blogging be ineffective because you have misidentified your potential audience? Have you run out of things to say? If that’s the case, start researching four to six successful companies with a similar audience. Whether you’re researching the kinds of questions they answer with their blog or what they’re doing in terms of their blog and social media, you may find some great information. Maybe there are social media sites that you should be on and aren’t, or vice versa. If you look at four to six companies in your market, you’ll start to see a trend of what’s working for them.
Bottom up marketing
Another problem with blindly following metrics can be saying no to opportunities that may benefit you in the long run. One of my favorite strategies is “bottom up marketing.” Mark Victor Hanson, one of the master minds behind the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, is a great example. He did every radio interview and never turned down a single opportunity; he and his co-author built an entire empire through bottom up marketing. It’s worth your while to allow exposure to build on itself and lead to success. Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way (within reason), no matter how small the blog or podcast. We all want to be on The Tonight Show, but let’s face it, everyone has to start somewhere.
Stop doing stuff that doesn’t matter
Focus on the most effective ways to spend your time and money. Often, we fall into the habit of implementing marketing efforts because they’re easy. Running ads, for example, can be easy, and may feel productive. But ads should be compelling and give the viewers something to act on. The same is true for press releases.
Be realistic with your pitching efforts. Put plenty of effort into crafting a pitch that shows you researched the outlet, and have carefully considered how your product fits. Pitching yourself to national shows when you are just starting out may not be the most efficient use of your time. Remember what I said about bottom up marketing.
Coordinate your marketing efforts
One of the quickest ways to kill a product is to not promote it; the other is to only do one thing at a time to see which one gives you the most bounce. Although testing your efforts separately to see how effective they are can be appealing, the problem with this is that it’s all metric-driven instead of building momentum. Marketing by doing one thing at a time and then waiting to see what comes of the action you took is the surest way to fail. Do a lot of things (or several, if you’re short on time) and do them consistently.
Slow and steady wins the race
Inconsistency is one of the big reasons for failure. It goes back to my “say yes to everything” advice; let your marketing efforts build, understand what your audience wants, and be consistent. If you’re short on time, find a few things that are an effective use of your time and do them well.
People like what other people like
Reviews are something you should always pursue, no matter how old your product or service. Testimonials and reviews are almost as good as a personal word-of-mouth recommendation. Why? Because people like what other people like.
Ultimately, metrics are a powerful tool, but instead of focusing on each effort’s individual metrics, it’s best to take review your metrics with some perspective. When planning your marketing efforts, I urge you to emphasize consistency. Use metrics as a tool to identify areas that can be improved, and allow some time for your marketing efforts to build on one another. Success is rarely the direct result of one action, but rather the accumulation of many efforts.