Take the guesswork out of marketing

John Wanamaker, the father of the modern department store and advertising used to say: “I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted – I just don’t know which half”.  This same saying has proliferated through marketing organizations everywhere, only the word “advertising” is replaced with “marketing”.

At a time when marketers are asked to be more accountable, it’s now more important than ever to measure marketing effectiveness.  I read in this recent blog post that 35% of marketing budgets are wasted annually. Somehow this figure didn’t come as a surprise.  And, it can easily happen if you don’t measure or aren’t measuring the right things. Trust me.  I speak from personal experience.

Prior to 2012, SuperOffice had 7 local marketing budgets in 7 different countries managed separately by the 7 different local marketing responsible, as well as a Group level budget.   It was difficult to get an overview of where the money went and what we got out of it.  I could measure on the central activities like central campaigns and the website, but we couldn’t compare results across the different countries and it was difficult to say what worked and what didn’t work.

How do you know what to do unless you know what you did?

In 2012, SuperOffice centralized marketing and also centralized the marketing budget.    This change not only gave us more visibility into where and how the marketing budget was spent, but also enabled us to track on KPI’s, measure how we are doing against those KPI’s and then make improvements based on that data.  We can track by:

  • # leads by source (DM, Website, Banners, Adwords)
  • # in the lead nurturing program
  • # of email permissions
  • Website traffic
  • What types of website leads did we get (Contact me, Download, Free demo)
  • CTR/ open rate/ what links were clicked in our newsletters and email campaigns
  • # unsubscribes

We are able to do this quarter by quarter and in some cases, even month by month if we wish.   With each new report/ analysis we make changes and improvements.   We can now report on a Group level as well as country level.

No lead is left behind

Every lead we get is registered into SuperOffice and tracked.  We can tell where a lead came from, who it was assigned to and where it is in the sales process and/ or lead nurturing program.  We can even see all activities which were done towards a lead.  For example, if he received a newsletter or a email campaign or an invitation to a seminar. This gives us better control throughout the lead management process.


And the results are in

For the first time in SuperOffice history, we can now see and compare which marketing activities give us the biggest bang for the buck.   With this visibility, we can choose where we will likely put more money in the future rather than just taking a guess at what works.

How can you get started?

The whole topic of performance reporting/ metrics can be quite overwhelming.   Here are 4 tips on how to get it started, if you haven’t already:

1.  Establish the right metrics and KPI’s

We struggled here in the beginning.  There were so many things that we could measure on, but we had to cut it down to the ones that really mattered.  Whatever you choose, you need to be able to consistently measure the effectiveness and the results.

The metrics also need to be consistent across the business.  Now that the whole Marketing Group is working towards one set of metrics, we can not only compare apples to apples, but easily see what result we achieved, why we didn’t achieve it and get the appropriate actions in place to make improvements.

Make sure to take a baseline number for each KPI before you start so that you will have something to compare to.

2.  Decide how you’ll get the data

Once you determine on what to measure, you’ll have to decide how to collect, store and manage it.  You can really drown in the amount of data that is available so the most important thing is to be organized and think ahead.

Keep an inventory of all your data like campaign costs, website performance data, results, etc . At SuperOffice, we create common projects in the CRM which track all our activities from DM’s to Contact me’s CTA’s to Downloads.   When it comes to data reporting, we just “grab” the data form the different sources.

3.  Assign Performance targets

For each marketing program or activity, assign performance targets prior to execution.   This will allow you to track your performance and help you to decide if you were successful or not.  Make sure that the targets are in line with the overall marketing KPI’s.


4.  Report

Thinking a little ahead about what you want to report is important. Develop a visual way to report via a dashboard. This dashboard will facilitate action and decisions and will also show you opportunities where you can optimize marketing efforts.


Remember, facts are your friends and will help you to make the right decisions.  Say good-bye to sticking your finger in the air and seeing which way the wind blows.

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