It’s Time To Stop Obsessing Over These 4 Marketing Metrics

It’s Time To Stop Obsessing Over These 4 Marketing Metrics

Marketers today rely on a plethora of tools, programs, and software systems that offer a wide variety of metrics. After all, a large part of marketing is being able to measure and report on the ROI (Return on Investment) of an initiative to the bottom line. The Internet has numerous ways to capture and analyze traffic, and for marketers, wading through these metrics to determine which ones are most relevant to them can be overwhelming. Some metrics that seemed important in the past have outlived their usefulness and should not be used as core KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for your objectives. Here are 4 marketing metrics it’s time to stop obsessing over.

Magnifying-Glass-Looking-At-Marketing-Metrics-SEO-Icons1. Keywords

Keywords are often the first thing people think of when it comes to SEO. In the early days of Internet marketing, clients would give an SEO company a list of keywords, and it was the company’s job to make sure the client showed up for those terms. This led to some unscrupulous tactics and gave SEOs a less than stellar reputation for gaming the system. But even today, many marketers and business owners are focusing too much on keywords and trying to “fit” as many as possible into the content of their posts, websites, and other pieces. The obsession with keywords has caused spammy, keyword-stuffed content, and keyword rankings have decreased in value as the search engines (like Google) have caught up. Location, personalization, search history, and other factors all influence search results now. Rankings fluctuate all the time and are in a near constant state of change, which is why the outdated practice of focusing on where a keyword or keyword phrase ranks as a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) should not be the main focus of your marketing strategy.

2. Facebook Likes & Follower Count

Just like the search engines adapted and changed based on what was happening with keywords, Facebook also changed the way content was delivered to its organic users. Last year, Facebook’s organic reach for brands began a trend toward zero. Marketers who report on fan count as a means of showing their worth to their clients are not focusing on the right metrics. Engagement metrics with a brand is a better strategy and a better indicator of value.

3. Ad Impressions

One major advantage that online advertising has over other forms of advertising – like billboards and flyers – is that it allows us to see how many times our ads are viewed. But while it sounds helpful to know how many people are seeing your ads, this metric doesn’t say much about behavior beyond the ad. Digital marketers who sell their services on putting an ad in front of as many people as possible are at best, behind the times, and at worst, deceiving uninformed clients. Ad impressions are best used in conjunction with other metrics – such as clicks, calls, and conversions – to gain deeper insight into the customer’s decision behavior.

4. Reputation Scores

As the Internet landscape has evolved for businesses, so too has the digital marketing space. Many such companies use a “free scan” to pare down a company’s online reputation to a single number, which they can then “fix” with their services. These scores often do not take into account search engine best practices, and many of these services are geared more towards brick and mortar businesses, not service area businesses. Taking something as complex as a company’s online reputation and whittling it down to a single number or grade should not be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. It’s more important to know the different facets that factor into the score, rather than aiming to get the number above an arbitrary threshold.

The Big Picture

Any metric used in isolation without any additional context will not provide much insight into how, and if, you are reaching your business objectives. The above metrics are just pieces in what comprises an online strategy. To truly know how well an online strategy is performing and get an accurate measure of KPIs, marketers need to take a look at several metrics in combination. Learning which metrics are relevant to your business or your client’s business and focusing on improving them will help you see the big picture and separate you from the competition.

Advertising & Marketing are Megaphones. So what are You Amplifying?

Advertising & Marketing are Megaphones. So what are You Amplifying?

Since the day the first group of enterprising cavemen got together and created the first business (let’s assume for the sake of this article that it was a fire pit sweeping service, shall we?), there has been a need to get the word out to potential consumers, to increase sales and sustain the business.

What Is Your Marketing Message? - Spark Marketer

I’ve often thought about these hypothetical primitive business owners, and how they might have tried to market themselves. Without the benefit of the internet, email, television, radio, postal service or even newspapers, what methods would they have found successful to build their customer base?  Would they have stood on the nearest hillside overlooking the village and beat their chests, shouting their offers to the villagers below? Would they have wrapped the company mastodon with a banner fashioned from tree bark, and paraded it through the community? After all, selling to hundreds of potential customers all at once has always been a lot more efficient and cost-effective than going door-to-door. Regardless of the era of history we examine, it would seem that wherever there is a marketer, there is a megaphone of some sort in his hand.

These early marketers soon discovered that mass marketing could cause their business to grow explosively, but it could just as quickly cause it to fail. Why? The answer is a simple one, but it may surprise you none the less.

Mass Marketing: The Impartial Megaphone

Most business owners think of marketing as an inherently positive activity. The logic goes that if you market your business, hire marketing experts and engage in marketing and advertising activities, then you will get more work, people will happily pay you for your products and services, and your business will grow. Maybe. But this is not an entirely complete way to think of marketing or advertising.

Marketing is an impartial, transparent amplifier of the best and the worst of any business. Market a business that has spent countless hours getting their standards of customer care as high as possible, and the results can be amazing. Take the same marketing budget and apply it to a business with deep internal management issues, and those issues become even louder, larger, and more apparent to the public.

Because of this transparency, it doesn’t really matter what you say in your marketing message, or even how you say it. Marketing isn’t a way of cosmetically hiding failing business models, or white washing lazy, unethical business practices using fancy language and tactics of misdirection. When it comes right down to it, you can spend thousands of dollars saying you are a clean, professional, timely and reasonably priced service, but if your customers experience something different, then you’ve just wasted a lot of money, and loudly announced to your potential customers that you would rather lie to them than serve them well.

Whatever the state of your business when you advertise it, THAT is what gets amplified.

Ineffective Marketing? No Such Thing.

Whatever you feed grows - Spark Marketer

You’ve heard the phrase, “Whatever you feed grows”. Marketing is an investment in your business. It’s like feeding and watering a garden. If you have weeds in your garden when you feed and water it, well guess what? Those weeds are going to grow, too, and may even rob the essential nutrients from the plants you really want to grow.

The broad tools of mass marketing are like garden sprinklers; you can’t feed and water just the best parts of your business. The whole garden gets watered, which means that marketing causes the good and the bad to grow. You cannot hope customers will ignore the sloppy, thuggish-looking techs at their door, and tell them to only focus on the good deal they are getting. You can’t market the beautiful masonry work you do, and expect them to overlook the huge mess you leave behind. And you certainly can’t keep selling the fact that you are prompt and courteous if you fail to call ahead or show up for the job on time. Just like feeding and watering a garden, marketing a business works indiscriminately, so make sure you are pulling your weeds out by the roots before they grow and overtake your business.

Marketing isn’t magic. It doesn’t allow you to hide your business weaknesses and only promote your business strengths. It’s a package deal. The magnifying glass of marketing will make everything look bigger, brighter and clearer. Through this lens, the public will be able to better see not only your many wonderful qualities and attractive offers, but at the same time, by becoming a customer, they will come into direct contact with the holes in your systems, the inefficiencies and the struggles of your organization. After all, people do not do business with marketing campaigns and strategies; they do business with businesses, and ultimately, with the people who run them. Your customers aren’t stupid. They know the difference between a well-run business and one that is trying to fool them with glitzy advertising and empty slogans.

Marketing works, every time. It will bring you new people, but every second a potential customer spends examining and evaluating your company before they hire you is a chance for you to either blow it or confirm that what you spent so much money marketing is, in fact, the real picture of your business.