The cost of neglecting marketing performance

 There have been some truly memorable marketing campaigns in the past. I bet there are several that you could think of that have stuck with you over the years. But there are probably thousands of campaigns that have gone live and not had any impact on a large, or small, scale. 

Often – the missing ingredient is the data. Data makes a campaign strong, memorable and profitable. But why is it that so many companies don’t create data driven marketing? Companies often neglect marketing performance when they are looking at past and present campaigns.

Why marketing performance is often neglected

Lack of resources/budget dedicated to marketing analytics

Ah budget. The marketer’s vicious cycle. Often budget isn’t allocated because marketers cannot justify the spend, however without resource and analytic review, then marketers waste money on under performing campaigns. 

So many businesses don’t have employees with strong data analysis skills or formal training in areas like statistics, data mining, predictive modelling, etc. Add in understanding marketing principles and the expertise gap widens, making it difficult to extract any meaningful insights from raw data. 

Overemphasis on the wrong metrics and results

It is so easy for marketing teams get caught up in simply executing a high volume of campaigns, tactics, and activities – things like launching new ads, sending emails, creating content pieces, running promotions, etc. The focus becomes on checking boxes and appearing to be driving high volumes of marketing activity. 

However, what gets overlooked is closely measuring and analysing the actual results and performance of those activities. There is insufficient emphasis on tracking meaningful metrics, studying attribution data, running reports, and optimising based on which efforts are truly driving business impact.  

Wasted ad spend on underperforming channels

Campaigns are devised but if channels aren’t performing as expected, there is often a reluctance to be agile and change direction. Or, worse still, once a campaign is live, it is just left to run without proper analysis and optimisation. In short, marketing performance just isn’t being considered as part of the business decision making.

Lack of accountability for marketing ROI

Without rigorously measuring returns and tying efforts back to leads, revenue, and bottom-line business results, marketing has no quantifiable way to justify its budgets and investments.  

This leads to the credibility of the marketing function being damaged when its impact cannot be demonstrated through hard data. This lack of accountability makes marketing an obvious target when budget cuts loom – if you can’t measure it, leadership can’t value it. Unmeasured and unaccountable marketing spends operate in a perpetual state of vulnerability without data to back it up. 

Lack of strategic autonomy and thinking

When the effectiveness of your marketing isn’t being measured properly, there is no data-driven basis for decision-making. As a result, marketing efforts can easily become misaligned with core business objectives and disconnected from real impact.

Without having a strategic benchmark of what every aspect of the campaign is supposed to do, and how it fits together in the bigger picture, there will be a continual loss of message, brand trust, and a decline in performance. 

How to make marketing more effective through analysis

It is often for marketing teams to know where to start when wanting to drive more effective marketing efforts. While we appreciate that not every marketing team is equipped to do in-depth analysis before, during and after a campaign, our top tips in building out your analysis are as follows:  

  • Commit sufficient time/resources to marketing analytics – in the beginning taking time to see what has worked and what hasn’t is a great starting point. Then, when planning your next campaign, take that analysis and apply it to what your new campaign needs to do, an adjust accordingly 
  • Implement robust tracking and attribution models – easier said than done if you don’t have in house analyst support, but even by using a free UTM tracking code onto your different channels will help you start to identify areas of strength and weakness in your marketing activity 
  • Break down silos – encourage data sharing across teams. This can often cause conflict between creative, digital and even finance, however following the data will help harmonise the planning and delivery of campaigns in the future 
  • Focus on KPIs that matter most to the business such as conversion data and not vanity metrics. Metrics of large numbers such as impressions and reach can give a false sense of success and should be avoided. 
  • Test and iterate based on performance data. Don’t put your campaign live and just leave it – make small changes all the time and monitor the results. This may take you away from the ‘signed off’ brief, however will take you closer to better marketing engagement and conversion. 
  • Be patient – meaningful insights take time to surface. 

Benefits of optimising campaigns with data learnings

It feels obvious to point out the benefits of bridging the gaps between marketing performance and data, but there are some huge advantages of becoming more data-literate 

  • Increased marketing ROI and efficiency 
  • Better audience targeting and engagement 
  • Ability to amplify on what’s working and dial back the areas of wasted budget 
  • Agility to quickly adapt to changing conditions 
  • Credibility by tying marketing to business results 
  • Getting more value for money from your marketing spend 

Final considerations

Even if you address the cost of neglecting marketing performance, there may still be challenges ahead. 

Utilising data will expose any ‘gut feel’ campaigns and audiences very quickly, which can lead to re-evaluating who ideal customers are and what great campaigns look like in your organisation.  

And even if a company can conduct analysis, there may be lack of in-house skill who can communicate insights in ways that influence strategy and decision making – especially is data insights have been previously lacking. 

However, there is hope. By using your marketing budget in a better way that drives more learnings and (hopefully!) conversions into the business, it will build the marketing teams credibility with senior leadership and especially with finance.  

Your marketing performance journey may be at the beginning, and it’s a road that constantly twists, turns and evolves. But the benefits are huge if data embraced. 

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