5 must-dos in B2B marketing measurement and metrics.

I just attended another fabulous live presentation by the San Diego Direct Marketing Association. The speakers, Randy Gerson of Gerson & Associates and Chris d’Eon of Deon Direct, knocked one out of the park — again.

ROI ChartLast time I saw Chris speak was when he was at ProFlowers. It was at that talk that I first realized he was a real direct marketing pro. This last presentation on “Collecting Marketing Metrics that Matter” didn’t change my mind about that. Randy, too, spilled out an impressive core of knowledge and advice.

Out of my pages of endless notes came a number of bits that every B2B marketer should brand on his or her brain. Here are five of those bits — from the experts’ mouths to my keyboard:

1. Keep your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) on a single page. Any more than that will lead only to a muddied understanding of the metrics. Remember, KPIs are NOT analysis. They are top-level trends only.

2. In B2B, never figure cost per sale on immediate sales revenue. Always calculate it using the average life-time value of a customer.

3. Always start with simple A/B split testing. If the company is new or starting testing for the first time, keep the test simple. There is an approach to testing (multi-variate) that allows for testing dozens of elements at one time. But getting the results from complex testing takes too long. When just starting out, keep it simple and always run a direct test of one time against the other. Test one online site against another, one piece of content against another, one mailing list against another, etc.

4. Test the call-to-action button on every landing page. Having discovered the dramatic difference this single item can make in conversion on a landing page, Chris and Randy advise testing the color and the copy on the call-to-action button every time a new landing page is run.

5. Don’t waste time measuring things based on pure vanity. Impressions, clicks, leads, and likes are numbers that make us feel good, but they have no value as metrics on which B2B marketing decisions should be based.

Last-ditch B2B marketing metric.

Recently I responded to an offer for a paper, “Getting Started with Marketing Measurement,” from Act-On Software. The paper opens with:

“The B2B marketing world has changed a lot over the past decade. One especially important new trend is the growing emphasis on measurement and analysis.”

MetricsComing from a direct marketing background in which measurement is everything, I say, “It’s about time.” Then the paper quotes, “Today, almost 70% of B2B marketers are turning to metrics to help them justify their budgets.” This spurs me to ask, “Why would anyone in demand generation marketing want to spend one dime in marketing (not branding) if they weren’t willing and able to measure what that marketing produced?”

The reason 100% of the B2B marketers in the study aren’t tracking metrics is because it’s hard. Marketers doing true integrated B2B marketing have a lot to keep track of.

Marketing automation helps, as most of those vendor systems include features for tracking response. However, not all responses to outbound campaigns end up on a landing page. Some generate incoming phone calls or emails and many end up as visits to the company Web site. Some traditional B2B direct mail efforts come back in reply devices.

Tracking that builds accurate B2B marketing metrics and measurement takes planning, processes and personnel. In many companies, those are all in short supply.

If limited or no tracking or measurement has been done, a last-ditch analysis can still provide the most important metric. This last-ditch option is to periodically run a match back data analysis by bumping the list of prospects or the customer file against the list of sales and identify matches.

Relevate Group briefly covers how this is done in “Driving Campaign Profitability Using Match Back Response Analysis in B to B Marketing.”

The Act-On Software paper includes a long list of revenue-related metrics a company should track. However, in the end, a match back can identify the most important metric of all. That is, “How many sales and how much revenue did the marketing generate?”