More than ever, measurement, reporting and analysis are key to a successful marketing program. However, it’s important that this data is presented and interpreted in a way that marketers can effectively put to use. At the end of the day, we all think we want more data, but what we really want is good data that is designed to be actionable. Data that showcases success, provides insights into opportunities and helps guide your strategy.
For your data to do its job, it’s important to ask the right questions and set a solid foundation to get the most of your monthly or quarterly reports. This is why we love making measurement a key part of our quarterly client discussions – both in looking back at what’s worked and looking ahead at what might work even better.
We love when our clients have strong opinions on data and on what’s most important to them for measuring and showcasing success. When your team is presenting your latest report, you bring an important perspective as someone who hasn’t been ingrained in the data yet. Asking the right questions enables you to turn a conversation about results into a conversation about strategy.
Next time your team is presenting the latest report, here are some questions to consider:
- Do the metrics in this report align to my overarching marketing goals?
If the answer to this is no, then talk to your team about what metrics would be most valuable to you. Are there any stats that would help with internal reporting you’re required to share? Is there information about competitors that would be helpful to have in the next quarterly report so you can effectively plan a defensive and offensive approach to the next quarter? Reports are made specifically for you, so have a voice in shaping them to be something that will really bring value to your organization.
- What does this metric mean?
What good is a report you can’t understand? If you’re not clear on what a certain metric means or why it’s valuable, ask your team to explain the rationale behind including it. This not only helps you get on the same page as your team, but it encourages your team to think through the purpose of each slide and each chart as it relates to your specific business goals.
- Are there any external factors that could contribute to a spike or decrease over a certain timeframe?
If you know your top competitor has its user conference every November, take that into account when looking at metrics like share of voice (SOV) and social engagements in Q4. If there was a major scandal in your industry at the beginning of the quarter, message pull-through might look low. Metrics like SOV and engagement won’t increase every quarter. There will be fluctuations based on what is happening in the industry, so it’s important to remember what factors are contributing to this outside of PR and marketing activities.
- How do these metrics interact and impact each other?
A rising tide lifts all boats. That’s our approach to measurement. If PR is going well, then brand awareness should go up, which means web traffic should go up and social engagement should start to trend upwards. Teams responsible for brand awareness, media relations and revenue marketing are working off of the same results, forcing a disciplined review of critical, pre-funnel metrics. The data provides common ground for PR, product, demand and sales teams – and common ground leads to success. Think about how PR metrics tie into what you’re reporting on internally to help connect the dots between PR success and business success.
- How can I translate success in one area to another?
Brainstorm with your team around how you can take a big success and stretch it across your marketing landscape. For example, if message pull-through for a particular product, theme or line of business was really strong in Q3 and resonated well with the media, think about how to extend that across the marketing mix. People are starting to recognize you as a leader in that area, so make sure to build out resources on your website – blogs, eBooks, whitepapers – to capitalize on the opportunity. How can you extend that to social media and demand generation?
Data is not easy. There’s a reason demand for data scientists has increased 344 percent since 2013. However, knowing how to look at a report and ask the questions necessary to get the deep insight you need to drive further success is critical. Your team at PAN Communications is trained and eager to pull the insights for you and make the data digestible for you and your team. However, it’s up to you to put it into good use! Let us help you do that.
Also, if you’re looking to dig even deeper into data, you can learn more about our brand research tool, the Digital Visibility Audit (DiVA). Our DiVA is designed to help earned media professionals measure their digital footprint and work more effectively with other departments in the communications organization. Check it out here.