Are Your Marketing Metrics Causing You To Live In A World Of Pure Imagination?

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This weekend I introduced my children to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. The original movie with Gene Wilder, quite possibly the funniest man ever. There’s a scene when Willy Wonka first emerges from the factory. I always found this scene to be rather bizarre (much like the entire movie I guess), but as I was reading this weekend I learned something very interesting about this part of the movie.

In an interview, Wilder said he was initially hesitant about taking on the role, but finally accepted the role under one condition:

“ When I make my first entrance, I’d like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp. After the crowd sees Willy Wonka is a cripple, they all whisper to themselves and then become deathly quiet. As I walk toward them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I’m walking on and stands straight up, by itself… but I keep on walking, until I realize that I no longer have my cane. I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause.”

The interviewer asked why.

Wilder replied, “because from that time on, no one will know if I’m lying or telling the truth.”


And he was correct. Throughout the movie you’re never really certain what is real, and what is illusion.

This is also true when evaluating marketing performance. Numbers can be deceiving, and they require analysis and discussion to get to the truth. Below are steps I recommend taking when evaluating marketing campaign performance. Putting aside “leads” and revenue, these analytics provide some insight into your campaign engagement. These actions will allow you to better separate illusion from reality.

1. Define your goal metrics and expectations. Hypothesize. This allows you to compare the outcome against something, and then discuss why the output under/over performed against those expectations.

2. Review analytics daily. If you can catch issues, errors, and opportunities for improvement early, the more likely your campaign will be a success. All too often I see people evaluate the analytics once the campaign has concluded and by then it’s too late.

3. Think beyond campaign analysis overview reports. Those are certainly good high level gimpses, but I’d also suggest drilling down into campaign engagement reports. These analytics breaks down engagement activity by both inbound and outbound activities as well as defining the leads generated.

4. Review form submission data. Form submission data should show you the form entry for each individual contact who submitted that particular form. If it’s a longer campaign you also want to consider form submission trend reports. These allow you to look at changes in form submissions throughout the lifecycle of a campaign. This is especially relevant when there are multiple channels driving activity to the form, like using social media or if the form resides on a website.

5. Avoid email click-through link breakdown reports. Instead identify reports that will show you the email click-through with query strong breakdown. Email click-through link breakdown reports will show you overall clicks, but that can be deceiving because it counts clicks through to unsubscribe links. The click-though with query string breakdown will show you clicks against each link within the email. It’s more of an honest report.

6. View your marketing activity as a program. Set a standard that activity in your marketing department should be viewed as a holistic program, and less as siloed campaigns.

7. Identify, or build, dashboards around trend metrics, campaign activity performance, form performance, and benchmarks which allow you to understand your marketing performance as compared to others in your industry.

8. Understand the health of your database. Data quality affects how you perceive the performance of your communications. So many companies continuously include inactive contacts into their campaigns. Inaccurate data results in misleading performance. You could be performing better than you realize. You could be misdirected because inaccurate data is poisoning your metrics.

How do you choose to evaluate success and failure of marketing programs?


Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Director of Marketing for Second City Works - the B2B division of the famed Second City.

You know the buzzwords; inbound, outbound, content, demand gen, lead gen, martech, social media, account-based, advocacy, customer success, sales enablement, and analytics.She studies it, plans it, executes it, experiments with it, and loves it.

Through discovery, creation, and innovation she's learned to say "Yes, And".Like business, her career is one big improvisational act.

She leads all aspects of the brand and culture, developing and executing a clearly defined, integrated marketing communications strategy.Marilyn is responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, training, and managing all marketing functions to achieve objectives of growth, awareness, customer success and making work better.

Marilyn exists to empower sales and support the customer. When not geeking out over marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE.

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