Measuring the effectiveness of marketing efforts is an area of ongoing questions and curiosity. While few accounting firms today doubt marketing’s importance or its ability to contribute meaningfully to firm growth, there is no clear consensus on the best way to quantify its impact. As a result, each firm and marketing director takes a unique approach, monitoring specific metrics they hope will help paint a clear picture that they can use to gauge progress and share with firm leaders.
Allocadia, a company focused on marketing analysis tools and software, conducted a survey of mid-sized and large businesses to determine which metrics were used most frequently and whether they had any relationship to the company’s success. Survey respondents were mostly North American companies, with a few European one included as well.
The survey’s 200 respondents revealed that, as one might expect, activities were the most commonly watched metric. This includes page views, clicks, social media likes, retweets and similar behavior. 58% of CMOs and Marketing Directors look at activity-based metrics or receive this information from their staff.
The second and third most popular metrics were nearly tied at 48% and 47% of marketing leaders tracking them, respectively. Marketing funnel metrics like conversion rates, inquiries and MQLs had a slight edge over measures of marketing’s contribution to the business.
Interestingly, 9% of survey respondents selected “none of the above,” reporting that CMOs and marketing directors at their firms don’t utilize any of the top three categories of marketing metrics. It’s entirely possible, however, that these metrics are important to marketers at the companies, but that lower-ranking staff are the ones monitoring and making decisions based on the analytics.
What’s most interesting about the survey is that it did indeed uncover a relationship between the types of metrics top marketers at a business rely on and the company’s growth. Businesses with the most growth in projected revenue (25% or more) had marketing directors/CMOs who focused on funnel metrics and performance indicators that assess marketing’s overall effect on firm growth rather than on activity-based metrics. These marketers were over 30% more likely to receive these measures of success than their counterparts at firms with no projected revenue growth, and significantly less likely to receive reports detailing activity-based metrics.
The measures of success for marketing efforts don’t come in organized packages that fit neatly into a correlation chart, unfortunately. It’s impossible, for example, to say you got 30% of new business from this website rebuild, that social media campaign or the other LinkedIn profile and discussion group. CPAs tend to have a hard time with this, and who can blame them?
There’s a lesson here, nonetheless. In measuring marketing’s success, it’s important to step back and assess whether you’re reaching overarching goals for firm growth. Clicks, likes, inquiries and all the rest are key metrics to watch for useful information about specific things, but the bigger trends are where you’ll be able to see whether or not your marketing is paying off. As with an impressionist masterpiece, you’ll lose sight of the big picture if you focus too intently on the small dabs of color that, together, create your firm’s success.