Marketing without measuring is money burned

  • If you're not measuring you're wasting..
    If you're not measuring you're wasting..

I recently consulted for a smallish firm that was spending £25,000 a year on Adwords. I had a quick look at the account during the initial meeting and asked why they had such broad matching switched on - they we're paying for lots of clearly irrelevant traffic...

The answer: because they hadn't been spending their budget they'd broadened the matching.

Face. Palm.

So I took a look at their Analytics to see what revenue they'd yielded from their ad-spend. None of their revenue was attributed to source. So in short - they had no idea and no way of knowing.


On top of all of this there was a barrage of display advertising, email marketing and other activity. All unmeasured.

What's wrong with this picture?

So here's a company (and I've met plenty more like this) spending perhaps £50k per year on digital marketing activities and they have not one clue whether it's working. How can they possibly improve or even measure performance if they're not measuring what they're doing?

What's so sad about this story is that these things are really so simple to fix and, at the very least, if you don't know how to fix them it's so simple to ask someone who does. Doing so - even if you have to pay for the advice - will improve your returns and your confidence in your investments no-end.

Analytics - Minimum Viable Setup

At the very least if you run any sort of business website - e-commerce, a simple brochure or anything in between - you must track all of your traffic sources and your business goals.

Define your business goals...

A goal is something you want a visitor to do; buy something, enquire about something, fill in a form, phone you, email you or simply watch your promo video.

If you didn't do it before you built the site (which, my God, you should have done) sit down with your colleagues and work out what the site is for and what its goals are.

Then with the help of your developers assign "Goals" in Analytics for each of those things.

Discover the source...

Just as important as knowing when you've scored a goal you need to know who passed you the ball - that's the "source" in analytics terms.

You should be able to tell with a high degree of accuracy ( 80-90% ) where every goal has come from. That is; you should know where every penny of revenue, where every lead and every enquiry has come from.

Each channel - web search, email marketing, SEO, print DM & social media - should be tracked as should each of your agencies or departments; PR, web, marketing etc.

Bricks & mortar, offline leads and sales...

Tracking offline sales, phone calls and sales leads & deals are each a little trickier but all of this is achievable. You should be moving your business to an place where all of this is tracked in one place.

I'll be covering how to track phone calls, sales leads and offline sales later in the year. Sign up to my weekly email to make sure you don't miss out on these stories at the time.

Getting your house in order

In the meantime I challenge you to audit your sales for the past six months and find out what proportion you can properly attribute to its original source.

If that number is below 80% there are big holes in your tracking and you're pouring marketing money down the drain without - if you're honest - really being able to know where it's going and what's working.

Stop spending for a month and invest the money instead in getting someone to get your tracking house in order. You'll double your investment.

Jim Morrison Rumsfeld's Law is written by Jim Morrison; founder of twiDAQ and owner of Deep Blue Sky Digital, a full service digital agency in Bath, UK.

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