Achieving successful marketing measurement is no easy task. While the concept is one most marketing leaders can understand, actually putting a marketing measurement plan into place poses the greatest challenge. After creating successful approaches for clients over the past several years, we want to share some of our insights with you. Here are the 5 elements you need to support successful marketing measurement.

1. A marketing measurement plan

What seems like an obvious first step isn’t such a no-brainer. We’re often surprised by the number of organizations we meet with who haven’t yet established a plan. Make it a priority. Even if it’s not perfect, a thoughtful measurement plan will give you something to benchmark against and improve upon as your marketing efforts evolve. Without a solid plan, the rest falls apart.

Tip: Use tools to create an easy-to-update analytics dashboard that is customized to your specific measurement plan. Many tools are a bit too generic. We like working with Google Data Studio which has numerous integrations and options to help your reports sync up to your organization’s exact needs.

2. Google Analytics (and preferably, Google Tag Manager, too)

Without reliable tracking, it’s impossible to get many of the insights you need to make your campaigns actionable. Whether paid or organic, these tools can help you organize your data and dig into which tactics lead to which results. If you’re unfamiliar, Google Tag Manager is a free tool offered by Google that allows your marketing team or agency the ability to add and edit your own website tags without involving “the website guy.” Its benefits include ease of use, better organization, and more freedom to add and track events and conversions. Tools like this allow your organization to set up your dashboards according to your marketing measurement plan, when historically bottlenecks with development teams may have prevented you.

Tip: The ability to add tags with ease also makes conversion tracking on social media platforms simpler. In addition to easily creating remarketing audiences across various vendors.

3. An understanding of attribution

Attribution is the process of assigning credit for a conversion to a marketing touch-point. Understanding which way you want to approach attribution modeling is important so you can make measured adjustments to your marketing and media strategy throughout your campaign. For example, you might practice First-Touch Attribution. This type of attribution gives all the credit to that very first interaction. The first one that kicks things off, grabs your lead’s attention and gets the prospect moving through the funnel towards conversion. Another marketing measurement attribution model is Linear Attribution. This model takes the “there’s no I in team” approach. It looks at the big picture, considering every interaction the user has with your digital presence and gives equal credit to all touch-points no matter where they fall in the buyer’s journey. As you can see, the attribution model you choose can have a big impact on how you determine each of your tactics are working toward your goals and objectives. Choosing this strategically can lead to stronger results overall.

4. Consistency in reporting

Digging into the data every 5 months isn’t going to help you make the most of your media budget, or better allocate resources to high performing content and other Inbound approaches. The best way to make an impact is to evaluate your progress consistently. This doesn’t mean you need to switch up your approach every week, but make analyzing your activity at least a monthly habit. Maybe there’s nothing to change. But maybe you realize you’re experiencing a drop-off at a key conversion point you could optimize. Long story short, the more you review, the more familiar you are with trends, attribution, conversion rates, and what you can expect from your efforts.

5. Integration with key information

While technically you can still measure your campaigns and marketing efforts without this, it is almost always necessary to understand KPIs like Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), or Return on Investment (ROI). Aligning with a CRM or other technology often poses a challenge for organizations. But making the investment in integration could save you thousands (or more, depending on your media budgets) over time. How do you do this? Sometimes it’s as simple as a plugin. Other times it may require custom development, or even switching to a different CRM. While these things can be a hassle and tend to be costly, they can provide important information that can lead to greater efficiencies that pay for themselves.

Successful marketing measurement takes time, know-how, attention to detail, and a few foundational elements that help you better understand and organize information. The most important step is getting started. Once measurement is a priority, the other elements tend to fall into place, and you can more easily inform leadership about marketing results. While the old adage “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” may still have some truth to it today, techniques in marketing analytics and marketing measurement help us understand results more effectively than ever before.