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Pete Winter

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Pete Winter

Oct 27, 2020

Is It Time to Reconsider and Reprioritize Your Marketing Metrics in the Time of Coronavirus?


A closer look at what marketing tactics seem to be working – and what to watch out for.

Earlier this year, before the world experienced mass disruption, we were putting the finishing touches on a series of eBooks looking at some of the most interesting trends we saw in content, marketing, and business strategy.

Now, as many of us brace for a possible second wave, we thought it might be useful to look back and see if our insights held up.

Did we get it right? What did we miss?

Let’s Look Back

To gain more context on each of these metrics, take a closer look at our report, "Boost Your Success with Personalization, Storytelling, and Metrics that Matter." Here's a shortlist of measurements we highlighted:

  • Cost Per Lead (CPL)
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
  • Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
  • Conversion Rates by Channel
  • Email Marketing Performance
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Revenue Growth
  • Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)
  • Brand Loyalty (repeat visits)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • SERP Position Zero

Many of these are foundational — and few marketers would argue they aren't important. The list just might look a bit "pre-pandemic" is all.

Because, make no mistake, the biggest factor as to whether your business thrived, survived, or didn't was how much it relied on delivering in-person experiences. And, few people could see that coming.

Since then, travel, restaurants, sporting events, live music, movies, and the theater haven't fared well. And, as most of us are keenly aware, it's hard to see a rosy economic outlook for businesses in these areas soon.

Digital Maturity Matters

For an organization that doesn't depend as much on in-person experiences, the biggest factor that impacted their ability to succeed was how far along it was in its digital transformation.

If your company did not have the digital tools and work methods fully in place before March, likely you would have been caught a bit behind. Those that did were able to pivot in a short amount of time. But those that didn't had to work harder to catch up.

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"97% of enterprise decision-makers believe the pandemic sped up their company’s digital transformation." – Entrepreneur Magazine

While most marketing teams suddenly adjusted to remote work, their customers made a more definitive switch to digital tools and channels as well.

So, keeping all this in mind, what metrics are worth taking a closer look at?

Maintain Focus on These

Though audience behavior was important to track before, it's even more critical now. Wherever a real experience can be replaced in part with a digital one, look for engagement to increase. Website traffic, for instance, has exploded. As of this writing, inbound marketing champion Hubspot tracks total monthly volume traffic as having increased more than 30% compared to pre-COVID benchmarks. Interestingly, the number of marketing emails sent increased by about 50%, but response rates went down by about 14%.

What do these numbers tell us? What metrics and actions should marketers prioritize now?

In case you haven't performed one already, an end-to-end customer experience review could be in order. That includes taking a closer look at your content and channel strategy as well. For some external guidance, consider a few metrics cited as top performers in a recent report published by Salesforce:

Top-Ranked Overall Marketing Program Success Metrics, by Company Performance; High Performers3

  1. Sales effectiveness
  2. Customer satisfaction
  3. Revenue
  4. Social analytics
  5. Web / mobile analytics

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Work to Earn More Trust

When you look more deeply into delivering customer satisfaction, trust and transparency emerge as watchwords.

In fact, "Marketers predict that customers will place a higher than ever value on trusting relationships, with 29.3% saying it will be customers’ top priority." –The CMO Survey

Ask yourself this: Is your core audience of prospects and customers likely to change? Look for patterns in your campaign data that can help you plan better than before.

Track Metrics that Lead

Speaking of change, aim to see what more you can learn from leading indicators. Though more difficult to measure and draw conclusions from, they can help you see whether your latest tactics seem to be working.

Leading indicators can provide useful insights on change:

  • Daily active users
  • Unique visitors
  • Time spent on website / or app
  • Average revenue per user

"Leading indicators can help an organization’s decision-makers spot issues and act fast. 5" – Julia Ahlfeldt, Julia Ahlfeldt CX Consulting

Lagging indicators help you measure results - which means they are ultimately more important. But while they are more reliable and easier to measure, they are not always as easy to move the needle on:

Key lagging indicators to scrutinize more deeply now:

  • Email Marketing Performance
  • Revenue Growth
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • ROI
  • Customer Renewal Rate
  • Churn Rate
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Considering how attention has shifted so dramatically toward digital channels and properties, one piece of advice from our report was pretty much on the nose.

"Two guiding principles to keep in mind for all are to put your audience first and aim to deliver the highest quality customer experience across the entire customer journey." – Tomorrow People

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Zoom-in On Immersive Media

One area that would have been harder to predict, but makes a lot of sense in hindsight, is how video and other immersive visual formats became even more popular since the outbreak and lockdowns.

87% of U.S. consumers and 80% of UK consumers say they're consuming more content – broadcast TV, online videos, and online TV streaming take the top spots overall for increased media consumption.6 Global Web Index

On-SERP SEO is still very important. "The ability to rank above number one in Google results, along with the opportunity to provide a featured snippet of content is a powerful way to improve your lead-related metrics.7 " – Tomorrow People

It barely needs mentioning, but unless you're in an industry that directly benefited from the newfound focus online, your revenue metrics will require special attention and patience going into next year.

When your business has adjusted to the new normal, consider reinforcing best practices and testing new ideas:

It barely needs mentioning, but unless you're in an industry that directly benefited from the newfound focus online, your revenue metrics will require special attention and patience going into next year.

When your business has adjusted to the new normal, consider reinforcing best practices and testing new ideas:

  1. Track audience behavior more closely.
    Maintain any efforts to secure SERP Position Zero for terms important to your brand. Take a closer look at which metrics are most important in this new climate. Should they be reprioritized?
  2. Keep improving on the customer experience you deliver.
    With video and social media platforms like TikTok having gained more attention – brainstorm ideas that can help you take advantage. Consider producing explainer videos for each of your major products or services at the very least.
  3. Reassess your brand and business.
    Is your brand seen as trustworthy and helpful? Certainly, you want to provide positive experiences for your customers. But also consider what you can do to assist with your primary constituencies and local communities.
  4. Look for more ways to innovate.
    Consider running an internal innovation workshop. What can you do to rapidly innovate on your core offerings?
  5. Become more agile, and prepared to pivot as needed.
    Whether your business was well-prepared ahead of the rapid digital transformation or not – there is always more you can do to prepare for the next disruption.

 

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