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Avoid Marketing for Marketing’s Sake: Using KPIs to Drive Your Strategy

Gone are the days of throwing print and TV ads at the wall and hoping they drive customers to your company. More and more marketers are utilizing digital communications as their primary tactic – and for good reason. 

The ability to see exactly how many people opened your email, liked your social post, or visited your website is far more valuable than hoping a consumer opens up that newspaper where you placed an ad. 

But once we get those metrics, how do we know if a campaign was successful? Measuring the performance after the fact is difficult if we didn’t set marketing goals upfront. Here’s how to start your campaign off on the right foot:

Step 1: Determine what you are trying to accomplish

This seems simple at first, but each campaign is going to have different goals. It’s important that you determine at the start what your marketing goals are. 

Ask yourself, “What am I trying to achieve through this campaign?” It could be as simple as building brand awareness or complex as moving your leads through the funnel into customers. Once you know what you want, it’s time to figure out how you will know if you have achieved it.

Step 2: Identify how you can measure it

marketing goalsOpen rates, landing page visits, retweets, likes, click-to-calls – there are so many metrics available these days, it’s challenging to know which ones to take into account. And while it’s easy to export a few pieces of data into a PowerPoint slide and call it a day, that doesn’t tell you – or your stakeholders – if the campaign actually was a success.

Let’s say you determined you want to achieve brand awareness in your campaign. Which key performance indicators (KPIs) will show you that? Social impressions and engagements, email open rates, and landing page visits are a few examples, but you should determine what makes the most sense for your campaign.

Now that we’ve established which KPIs we want to measure, let’s figure out how we’ll know if we’ve achieved success.

Step 3: Establish marketing goals for the identified KPIs

Setting marketing goals for your KPIs can be a difficult process. Don’t fall into the trap of only looking at your data compared to industry benchmarks. Success is much more than “we’re doing slightly worse/the same/slightly better than everyone else.” 

So if we aren’t looking at industry benchmarks, how do we know what our goals should be? That’s the scary part; it’s up to you! 

If you are having trouble setting targets, start with an extreme number, and work your way up or down. Have we achieved success if we get one engagement on a social post? How about 1.2 billion? Neither of those is both successful and realistic. Take the two extremes and find the middle ground.

marketing goalsStep 4: Adapt

As marketers, we’re sometimes afraid of setting goals for fear of not reaching them. If you don’t reach your KPI target, don’t see it as a failure, but a way to adjust your goals moving forward. 

By asking ourselves what we are trying to achieve and how we’ll know if we’ve achieved it, we can more accurately measure the performance of our campaigns and make data-informed decisions. 

About Anna Daniels

Anna Daniels is a marketing and communications specialist who currently writes for Ride the Sail Marketing. Her main focus is email marketing, social media campaigns, and web content, but loves the opportunity to write. When she’s not dreaming about KPIs, Anna enjoys hiking, teaching Zumba fitness classes, and hanging out with her cat.