Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Making the Connection between Online and Offline Analytics

This is a guest post by Katleen Richardson of Marketing AdvantEdge

If you’ve been in business for a while and have only recently started to develop your online presence, the idea of having to measure your online marketing performance can be daunting. Even for those who have more experience in the world of conducting business online, trying to compare your online and offline measurements can seem tricky.  It’s important to remember, though, that these two aspects of your marketing strategy are fundamentally the same.  For both, ROI is the most important factor, and in both cases you’re going to be most interested in these core metrics:

  • response rate
  • lead conversion rate
  • sales conversion rate
  • average deal size
  • gross revenue
  • expenses

There is one aspect exclusive to online measurement that gets a little complicated, however – social media performance.  Calculating your social media influence, one of the core social media metrics, can be done in a number of ways.  Here’s one that works well:

volume of content x number of comments x number of shares x net reach = influence

When assessing your net reach, take the deduped audience you have across all social media channels.  In other words, a person who follows you on both Facebook and Twitter is only counted as one person.

In order to get meaningful measurements across online and offline channels while, at the same time, managing your work load, start by choosing a core of five metrics that you’re going to track from month to month consistently.  This creates a solid base from which to make comparisons, and will help to keep you from getting overwhelmed.  Keep in mind that whatever you decide to track needs to tie back to both your marketing objectives and your overall business objectives.

Here are a couple of principles to help you tie it all together:

  1. Make sure each offline component can be tied back to an online component.  Let’s take, for example, QR codes used on brochures.  If you embed QR codes with URLs created with a URL shortening service, you can then track the performance of the shortened URL.  Look at the number of hits on the URL against the total distribution run of the brochures to measure the overall response rate.
  2. Let KPI and media mix reports help steer you.  These reports should be reviewed every month, both within marketing and across the company, to help you make adjustments in the course of your marketing strategy.  The KPI report should include whatever metrics tie back to marketing and company goals.  For the media mix report, take the metrics listed above and apply them to each of your marketing channels, including SEO, advertising, direct mail campaigns, landing pages, and so forth.

If you really want to get strong analytics in place that will cover all your bases, your best bet is most likely going to be a marketing automation system.  These days, there’s no reason not to – there’s a variety of choices out there that cover a full spectrum of requirements, even if you’re on a tight budget.  All you need to do is find the system that gives you the most appropriate options for your situation, and you’ll be well on your way.

Kathleen RichardsonKatleen Richardson (marketing-advantedge.com) is an experienced leader who builds integrated strategies combining research, data analysis and creative thinking. She has delivered successful solutions for the publishing, financial and telecommunications industries, as well as for conference and training companies, and professional associations. Her approach is to design customer focused, cost-effective solutions based on cross functional collaboration and results-based metrics.

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