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Measuring Marketing Effectiveness Beyond Data

Anyone can input data into a spreadsheet. 

But, according to Google Analytics, 95% of marketing leaders believe that KPIs must be part of big-picture business goals to truly matter.

The hard data only tells you a fraction of the story. Critical thinking with a broader perspective is essential to fully understand the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. 

Here’s how you can integrate more high-level analysis into your reporting. 

Ask the Right Questions

Knowing exactly which key performance indicators you should be tracking is essential to your marketing strategy. Tracking hard data in a spreadsheet enables you to clearly see failures and successes over a period of time. The only way to truly know if your marketing efforts are effective or not is to make sure you’re tracking the right metrics. 

So how can you know if you’re tracking the right data? Start by asking yourself and your team the right questions. Get to the bottom of what you really want from your marketing efforts. 

Example questions:

  • Do we want ideas for new content? New products? Service improvements?
  • Do we want to better understand our market? Our audience? 
  • Do we want to understand how people are finding us? 
  • Do we want to discover our niche? Or what distinguishes us in the eyes of our customers? 
  • Do we want to just sell products?
  • Do we want to understand what makes our customers come back?
  • Do we want to understand why we lose our customers?

If you present this list of questions to your team, they’ll likely say “yes” to all of the above. But, you’ll need to prioritize what your core intentions are.

A marketing strategy that attempts to accomplish too many goals at once simply can’t succeed. Unfocused strategies will likely only ever stay at a surface level and likely won’t get deep enough to reveal the transformative information your team seeks. 

Evaluate Your Personas

When you’re limited in resources and staff it can be difficult to sell the time it takes to develop personas to your team’s decision-makers (if they aren’t marketers). Most decision-makers just want to see the “numbers,” and the importance and impact of personas can’t be expressed with one or two hard metrics. Personas are a high-level tool that’s part of the bigger picture, not necessarily the daily tasks. 

But, tracking the behavior of your personas at different stages in the marketing journey over time can tell you a lot about how effective your marketing strategies really are.

For example, if your followers are growing month-to-month, you might perceive this as a success in your strategy. But, if you notice that this growth is actually pushing the personas that make up your target audience out, this isn’t so good. What’s the benefit of follower growth if it’s driving the people who you need to grow your business away?

Look for Patterns

If you notice a drop in impressions from one month to the next, you might be missing the actual, big-picture problem if you treat this decrease as an isolated issue. Evaluating the success of a marketing strategy is all about using data to see bigger patterns in consumer behavior. 

If systems thinking doesn’t come naturally to you, you can start by looking at the relationships between leading metrics and outcome metrics. Leading metrics measure the behaviors that lead people to you, like the number of visits to a profile or website. Outcome metrics measure the results of a leading metric, like sign-ups, downloads, or purchases. 

Calculating the relationship between leading and outcome metrics can reveal deeper trends by showing you patterns in behavior. For example, if you’re trying to measure if the launch of a new blog is successful or not, no singular metric will tell you that.

Looking at the number of visits to a blog doesn’t really provide you with anything actionable. But, comparing the days you had the most visits to your distribution strategy could help tell you what types of content are the most interesting to your audience.

Whereas looking at how many users clicked through to a calls-to-action from your blog versus other marketing assets could give you a comparative view of what’s successful for your unique organization.  

Experiment With Marketing 

The thought of “experimentation” either excites or scares marketers and decision-makers. Experimentation leads to an unknown outcome. You’re ultimately taking a risk with your time and resources when you choose to experiment. 

But, few things can show you more about your brand and “what works” than experimenting with your marketing strategy. This doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking, it can simply mean trying something new each month or quarter, and analyzing what you learned and how this can be used to improve your strategy, product, or business moving forward. 

For example, you might be interested in hosting a large-scale conference or festival with event marketing in the future. But, you could start by hosting something smaller, like a series of webinars, to gauge the interest of your audience first. This requires much less risk and effort, but can still provide you with enough insights to make decisions.  

Understanding Marketing Effectiveness

Reading data is different from analyzing data and turning it into an actionable asset. But, assessing your marketing strategy in this way isn’t easy. It takes time and a lot of know-how it is effective and worthwhile. 


So, does your organization need some help? Don’t spend another unnecessary dollar, contact us and we can help change your marketing game.