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Last Thursday, we had an interesting monthly performance report (ROI) meeting with a client. In that process, we made several observations about traffic downturns on a particular program, which defied the historic trend data. At the same time, there seemed to be an across-the-board decline in leads, which also ran counter to seasonal data for this time of year. On one hand, one could consider the marketing activity to be a failure. But, with ROI analysis is always best to avoid a snap judgment, given the number of moving parts in any integrated campaign. Life in the marketing fast lane is more complex than ever. So, we began asking more questions. First, we queried the client to see if they had seen anything similar in their own sales reports. No joy. In fact, it was just the opposite. Sales (based on internal tracking) were generally up over the previous month. Que? Second, we asked about a recent in-house update to … Continue reading
As the oldest of six children, I’m a classic “first-born” with all the characteristics that come with that territory. And, because I was the eldest, I was frequently assigned special duties to help my mother run the household. Much of what is most important in ROI, I learned from her. Here are four “mom-isms” that apply to marketing ROI. Timing is everything. I learned early to shop on certain days for the best sale prices. The same is true for ROI. You can “shop” your metrics every day, but the price will be higher. You’ll sink more time into trying to make sense of micro-events that are often misleading. Don’t make yourself crazy. Instead, pull your data on the same day every month and monitor macro-trends. You’ll be on firmer ground for long-term decision making. Plan ahead. Do you find yourself down a different metrics rabbit hole everyday? Are your stakeholders making different requests each day/week/month for analytics reports? Like the … Continue reading
You’ve probably watched enough “Law and Order” episodes to be familiar with the phrase, “follow the money.” Usually the prosecutor is telling the detectives or a forensic accountant to “follow the money.” The same is true for smart CMOs. Right now, we’re being bombarded daily with talk of “Big Data.” And, while it’s easy (and often more convenient) to look at myriad data points on impressions, circulation, visits, postcards dropped, day parts, opens and other metrics, they are only leading indicators of the real question. “How much money did we generate?” So, in the spirit of April. Don’t be fooled. Focus on ROI.
Like a mythical search for a leprechaun’s pot of gold, marketers must often undertake a circuitous route to evaluating ROI. First, there’s the bravery test. Post-recession marketers now find themselves defending every penny in an otherwise tight budgetary environment. Those who can muster the courage to tie marketing and ROI together will always have a compelling and competitive edge. Second, there’s the wisdom test. One of the conundrums that we frequently see in analytics is the desire to measure everything. But that my friends is a quicksand from which there is no escape. While we can measure just about anything these days, the wiser question is “should we?” I’ll admit to the guilty, geeky pleasures of drilling down into the latest Google Analytics report, following one thread of a thought process, then mining further for other facets in search of an explanation. Who hasn’t? The point is that it’s way too easy to get distracted by those threads when you … Continue reading
Taken the dive into “Big Data” yet? If not, take heart. It’s not the amount of data that you accumulate that’s important. It’s more important to collect the right information. That takes thoughtful planning. Our tendency is to review performance data after we launch a campaign or blast an email broadcast out there. However, traffic metrics are a poor substitute for revenue analytics and conversion metrics. De facto data reporting isn’t a great long game though, if you’re trying to make a case for the next round of marketing investment. Most digital marketing agencies and in-house marketing teams know how much time they put into developing a major creative campaign. Do you know how much time you spend planning for ROI? Or is it merely an after-thought? Let’s be a bit more intentional and deliberate. Consider developing an ROI Strategy. And put your heart into it.
Since New Years is a traditionally a time to take stock, here are five thought-provoking thoughts on marketing ROI from a few of my favorite experts on the subject (not ranked in any particular order). 1. “Choose no more than five key metrics. It’s hard to put organizational focus on more than that, so choose wisely.” Paul Albright, Chief Revenue Officer, Marketo 2. “The proper use of marketing ROI measurements is capable of comparing investment options as diverse as a direct marketing campaign, a dedicated sales force, a retail distribution channel and an Internet marketing campaign. Marketing ROI analysis can scale from the incremental value of a tagline on an envelope to the implementation of a multimillion-dollar enterprise CRM marketing initiative.” Jim Lenskold, President and Founder, Lenskold Group 3. “A new breed of “Super-Quant” will emerge in the near future having both the necessary statistical acumen and the required knowledge of interactive marketing. They will accelerate the ability of … Continue reading
In 1990, economist David Breneman published an article, “Are we losing our liberal arts colleges?” and spoke to the decline in the number of liberal arts colleges. Yet in 2012, the U.S. Department of Education data showed that enrollment in private nonprofit colleges and universities increased 1.9%, while total post-secondary enrollment in the U.S. declined for the first time in 15 years. Since then, trade and consumer publications from The New York Times to The Chronicle of Higher Education to The Huffington Post have all conjectured on the topic of “why liberal arts?” from a variety of perspectives. In a contracting pool of graduating high school seniors, fierce competition for the best of that crop, and an increasing number of cross-apps by prospects, what’s an enrollment marketer to do? Embrace the Liberal Arts. Contrary to the public outcry that’s created a dangerous “show me the money” attitude, liberal arts education occupies a lustrous place in history dating back to Socrates. … Continue reading
On many of the nearly 5,000 colleges and universities across America, Admissions and Marketing staff often share a building and sometimes an office. Regardless of where the two teams sit, they always share an institutional charge — enhance the product/experience, engage a wide community of prospects, parents, alumni and partners, and build reputation. What’s much less clear on many campuses, is the working level of mutuality and respect. When I first took a job in Higher Education Marketing, I learned that it wasn’t the building of a budget, team or sophisticated toolkit from scratch that mattered. What was most important was building partnerships between Marketing and Admissions. Finding and cultivating champions in Admissions was essential to success on all fronts. Now, I’m not talking about “wowing” our colleagues with clever and fun marketing programs. No. I’m talking about face-to-face, heart-to-heart sharing of mutual business goals, insights and advice to develop a collaborative strategic plan. Learn their business from the inside … Continue reading
With Thanksgiving just behind us, like many nonprofits, colleges and universities, you’re probably getting ready to publish the annual “year-end giving” information on your website or send out an email appeal to prospective donors. If so, that’s great. If not… you’re missing a huge opportunity. Consider the following statistics: “The average person makes 24% of his/her annual donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.” Giving USA “One third (33%) of the donations made in the month of December occur on the 31st of the month.” Network for Good To get things going, here are my top 5 tips to jumpstart year-end giving… Plan ahead. Start your “ask” in November. Put that year-end giving information on your nonprofit website now. Thanksgiving starts the ball rolling. Don’t wait. Don’t hold it for December. Do it now. Mix it up. With everyone relying on email appeals, don’t forget to ask for a donation on social media, like Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Incorporate social links … Continue reading
Gift development officers and nonprofit fundraisers are masters of being responsive to donors. However, there’s a new type of responsive philanthropy that you might not be thinking about — responsive website design (RWD). Don’t worry. We’re not going to get technical here. What most nonprofit fundraisers recognize is the significant migration to mobile (smartphones, tablets, etc.) that’s been happening over the past five years. This migration cuts across all segments of the population from high school students and business owners to retired seniors and mega-givers. In the mGive Text Donation Study 2013, which surveyed nearly 1 million text donors, mobile donating was found to be one of the top 3 choices across all age groups when participants were asked for their preferred method of charitable giving. As a result, nonprofits and philanthropy teams need to pay close attention to how their fundraising and volunteer recruiting website(s) play on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Some of you may even be … Continue reading