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How do you measure web marketing performance?

Last week, I summarized the case for measuring the performance of Web marketing. Today, I want to explain how. All of this information comes from a great conference that I presented at, MPM Forum in New York, focusing on Marketing Performance Metrics. The folks at the CMO Council put together a strong panel of experts that explained how to put performance metrics into action.


For some of you, measuring marketing performance is old hat—you’ve grown up in direct marketing and you don’t know how to do anything else. But for the rest of us traditional marketers, we have grown used to being divorced from sales, which is where the intensive metrics action is.
As you might expect, the strongest advice admonishes us to break down the walls between marketing and sales. Matt Preschern, IBM’s Vice President of Marketing for On Demand Business, puts it bluntly when he says, “Your best friend is someone in sales.” Because the only metrics that matter are the ones that show business impact for the company (not for the sales department or the marketing department), Matt urges us to “collaborate before you measure.” So, as important as the metrics are, choosing the right metrics—the ones based on value to the whole company—comes first.
But how do you pick those metrics? Some might be tempted to measure everything possible to make sure that nothing is missed. Don’t do it, Pete Krainik, Vice President of Marketing at Avaya, tells us. “Have fewer metrics if you have to, but make sure they are agreed on.” He cautions against overworking people to collect every number possible, and counsels that the meaning of each metric must be agreed to by all parties. Otherwise, “you spend your time arguing about what the numbers mean, instead of the implications they have.”
While many of the important measurements are traditional order and revenue numbers, softer marketing effectiveness counts, too. IBM’s Preschern discussed how IBM measures not just sales, but brand awareness, so that they can see how people progress from being unaware to being customers. Barabara Pellow, Chief Marketing Officer of Eastman Kodak Communications Group, measures brand awareness from the public relations campaigns. Preschern said that he still struggles with answering the critical question from the Sales General Manager: “Great, but how does that translate to higher sales?” That’s the holy grail of MPM and all of the panelists admitted that they are not there yet.
Preschern said that he was once greeted by the sales people with, “Here comes Matt from the ivory tower,” but that’s beginning to change. Avaya’s Krainik agreed that his reception with sales is improving as well—”We’ve had better conversations in the last six weeks than ever before.” Krainik admonishes those that would treat metrics as a new fad program that will fade away. “When you see everyone in the planning meeting showing measurements to the CEO, you know you are winning.”
CEOs are increasingly demanding that marketing prove its return on investment, just like everything else. Jarvis Cromwell, Thomson Financial’s Managing Director of Marketing, summed up why metrics are so crucial for marketing: “It’s hard to get organic growth and marketing is a fundamental tool to do that.” If CEOs and CFOs can see the payback of marketing investment, maybe marketing will get the funding needed to move the business. MPM seems like the best chance of persuading them.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide.

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