Focusing on Outcomes
Measuring outcomes is a hot-box issue that stands between Marketers and Measurers that track marketing effectiveness. Today’s article in the Wall Street Journal, Some Marketers Want More Ad Testing, Less Debating About Metrics explores this issue and the brands that are taking action.
What are you measuring?
On one side, many Marketers (and particularly Brand Marketers) are fighting for attention online. They attempt to prove value by racking up viewable impressions and time spent with digital media. But, the other camp is fighting for A little less conversation, a little more action. This latter group is focused on using digital media to drive specific outcomes. These outcomes include: an online purchase, a download, or signing up online. Even sites without specific conversion events contain outcomes. For these sites, objectives are often to engage visitors and to have them return for more information or content. Yet, Marketer’s spend too much time second-guessing the value of time on page or how many ad units equal currency. Not enough energy focuses on desired outcomes. My colleagues and I have written and preached about the fallacy of time spent in the past and simply put, there’s a better way.
Let’s skip the nuance
I won’t slip down the partisan path to debate brand marketing versus direct. However, I will argue that the multitude of dollars spent on digital media is still largely questionable. Now is the time to look between the fuzzy marketing tactics to focus on outcomes. I advocate for using Measurement Plans to identify outcomes with digital analytics and counsel my clients to take this approach. Now, don’t mistake this focus on outcomes as a recommendation to place a magnifying glass on just the conversion event itself. It’s extremely important to understand the customer journeys and pathways that lead up to the event. This enables you to replicate journeys and to produce more desired outcomes. It’s the same with attempting to measure every nuanced action on your website. Taking this approach results in lots of data and a lack of clear information on what to do about it. Instead, focus on outcomes that matter most to your business.
Experimentation drives innovation
But getting back to the WSJ article, the disruptive companies mentioned like Dollar Shave Club, Netflix, and Wayfair are migrating away from the swirling conversations about viewable impressions and placing bets on marketing tactics that drive actions. These companies are experimenting with their digital initiatives to see what works in our ever-evolving world of online consumers. By testing ideas and non-traditional advertising, innovative brands can pivot quickly to tactics that produce their desired outcomes and leave those that don’t in the dust.
Connect outcomes to experiences
This starts with examining your customer experience and creating beginning and end points for distinct phases throughout the customer journey. If it’s the advertising piece of the puzzle you’re spending money on, this exercise should focus on your acquisition efforts and the desired outcomes at the end of that part of the journey. But remember, acquisition isn’t the end of the experience. Pulling those customers through the desired outcomes for each lifecycle stage: from acquisition, to consideration, to purchase (or your digital equivalent), and then keeping them as valued customers must be the perspective you take. Today’s digital world isn’t about the bite-sized ad your prospective customer viewed and consumed; it’s about the entire diet of the prospect, and their peers, and how they eat as a whole. By clearly defining your desired outcomes and tracking how digital customers arrive at those points, you can ultimately create better digital experiences.
To learn more about how Analytics Demystified helps organizations build Measurement Plans to capture outcomes across the entire customer lifecycle, or how we can help your company focus less on the noisy metrics and more on the outcomes that matter, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.