Are You Nailing It? How To Measure Marketing Effectiveness
Picture the scene, you’re a start-up - whether it’s launch day for your MVP, or you’ve already been in business for two years.
As you chase growth and profitability – there’s always a lingering question hanging over all of us; ‘How effective is my marketing?’.
Start-up marketing can make or break a young business, a poor marketing strategy is widely cited as the second biggest reason behind some start-ups failures.
What should be something seemingly so straight forward, can be very challenging. There’s a lot to consider – when thinking about the right strategy to attract, influence and convert your target audience.
You need to think about multiple areas such as, is the messaging on point, what channels should we use, what is the content plan, what’s the best customer journey to purchase etc… etc, ad nauseum.
Marketing ROI Is Crucial For The Fledgling Start-Up
Every penny and minute counts. Pressure is on to make things land.
Most of us will naturally gravitate to digital marketing activity like social, display and search, as it’s much easier to target our audience and attribute ROI. Typical marketing measurement models rely on things like last-touch digital attribution to get a view on how those channels perform. Which is fine... for the most part.
However, attribution modelling will always be flawed, as it doesn’t give you context. 80% of your leads might come from Organic search. But that isn’t necessarily what influenced the user to make that decision – it’s just the mechanism they used to get there.
Think of the bigger picture, the journey from awareness to decision making is more complex than ever before. For example, the average B2B buying decision takes from 17 to 27 touches (Gartner) – not one quick search then a purchase (unless you’re crazy lucky!).
When people want to solve a problem, they research how to do it themselves, with TrustRadius recently saying 100% of users want to self-serve the buyer journey.
Think about a product or service you’ve recently bought.
You might have first heard about it on a podcast, watched demo videos on YouTube, looked up a Twitter account, read reviews on Trustpilot or asked for a recommendation from peers in a Slack group.
Those are the authentic experiences that drive awareness of solutions and the actions users will take before buying – or sometimes even getting anywhere near your website. Don’t get me wrong, your SEM strategy might be on point, but it’s increasingly unlikely that is doing all the work on its own.
Start-Ups Need To Be Agile To Find Early-Adopters
Start-ups face a bigger challenge than most, when compared to established players in the market – and that tends to fall in one of two categories:
1. Trying to create a new sub-category for a solution that solves a problem, one that many might not even be aware of yet, or…
2. Building a new brand in an established category, where you think you have a point of difference against existing competition.
It’s vital in this case to create that demand and raise awareness about why you are unique.
Coupled with a more complex buyer journey – traditional attribution models don’t cut the mustard. I’m not sure they ever did.
Measurement Fit For The Modern Start-Up
There is an answer. It’s collecting contextual feedback. When users visit our website, we do something simple. We ask people them; how did they get here?
When combined with attribution modelling, there’s a smart two-step setup that emerges that should suit most start-up marketers.
1. Demand creation – measuring the impact of awareness activities
Unlock the ‘point of influence’, also known as ‘Self-reported attribution’.
This is that key moment, a prospect thought ‘I want to work with this company’, by asking ‘How did you hear about us?’ on contact form submissions.
A simple open-text field on a form, trust me it won’t hurt your conversion rate and it will unlock which of your awareness strategies are killing it.
Bonus points: You can go one step further when onboarding that user. Ask about the details of that enquiry, was there a specific message that appealed to them, how did they find your content, what’s the problem they were trying to solve?
2. Demand conversion – attribution isn’t dead.
Once you’ve created demand, the task now is to move that user effectively and efficiently to conversion.
Use attribution modelling to get that broad view on how your performance engine is running. It’s best to consider the impact of multiple channels (search, social, referrals etc), to see what drives the highest engagement and goal completion (chats, downloads, conversions) on your website.
In most cases I’d recommend a ‘linear-based’ attribution model, giving equal value to each touch point – or ‘position-based’ so you can add more value to first and last touch’s.
Using Google Analytics 4 this is a lot easier than ever before to set this up, this guide should give you all you need: https://www.optimizesmart.com/attribution-models-in-ga4/
Double Down On What Works.
You’ve now got the best of both worlds. The numbers that guide you on the channels that work, and the context from converted users as to what brought them there.
Look for trends – is that podcast coming up frequently or are those social posts getting good traction. With small volumes, you might not be statistically significant – but you can spot those trends which can help you focus your resources accordingly.
As much as you can, double-down on what works.
It’s important to focus on the metrics that matter most, and that means understanding what influences not just conversion but revenue as well – so make sure your CRM is tracking both points 1 and 2.
Complete The Feedback Loop
Suddenly, you’ll be collecting some incredibly rich insights and they can go much further than just ‘measurement’.
Use self-reported attribution and onboarding feedback from users to help shape messaging and ‘demand creation’ activity – the context on why users got in touch can be so valuable.
It might be a certain messaging angle you used, a product feature or a problem you solve that consistently comes up in conversation. This can help shape your content efforts going forwards – it shows that you are on to something!
Adding multi-touch attribution data helps you refine that performance engine – the channel selection, CRO impact, CAC costs that will help your business acquire users at a more efficient rate.