How do you quantify a marketing experience?


When marketing products and services, one of the most common questions you’re asked is, “Can you demonstrate a return on investment?”. Key performance indicators and metrics are embedded in businesses to assess the impact of individual functions. Finding meaning in data isn’t easy. Add in your marketing need to track qualitative data, and the process becomes much more difficult. That’s why setting goals and finding ways to quantify your impact is essential to justify an experiential marketing budget. But how do you quantify the elusive “experience?”

Goal setting

If action begets action, then you must first determine what reaction you need from the customer. Are you looking to generate more inbound leads for your sales department? Do you want to increase your social media exposure, which will increase brand awareness? Are you looking to sell more shirts this quarter? Whatever goal(s) you’re setting, it must be clearly identified and defined before you can even begin developing an experience, much less tracking and understanding its success. You are marketers, not pitchers. So, no throwing spaghetti at walls. Prioritizing strategy over tactics doesn’t always guarantee a win, but it gives you imperative benchmarks that empower you to correct or redirect as you implement your plan.

Identify your in-action metrics

These are your day-of or short-term metrics. Depending on your goals, these will vary. Think impressions, sign-ups, hashtag use and mentions all the way to purchase orders. If you rely on social media to drive sales, you’ll be looking at in-person social media interaction. If you’re a retailer, purchases will be a large indicator. If lead generation is your goal, program or mailing list sign-ups can be a great metric. Ultimately, you must ask yourself, “What immediate actions do we want our customers or prospects to take and in what form and degree do we want them to take such actions in?” It becomes a quantifiable question of, “How many of [FILL IN THE BLANK] constitutes success?”. How many more interactions did our Twitter get in the last six hours? How many negative comments did our customer service department receive? If something isn’t working, these immediate performance indicators will help you discern how, when and why. Don’t wait until it’s all over to discover your campaign was a flop.

Determine your consequential metrics

These will be your long-term results. They should include items like: 30% increase in web traffic from direct search over 2 quarters, 5% sales increase in one or two products/ services by the end of 2016, 10,000 more followers on Instagram in two weeks. Whatever these numbers are, they should be specific, quantifiable, and have an end-date. We do not work in rolling long-term goals. With a hard figure, and an expiration date, your team is held accountable for hitting those numbers. If the campaign isn’t a success, that’s okay. But, you need to know if you’re spending resources in the right avenues. These metrics are how you make those tough decisions and improve moving forward.

Derive meaning

Ultimately, no one is going to experience your brand or program in the same way. Finding a way to quantify the way you make your customers feel isn’t impossible, but is a very laborious and expensive process. Instead, marketers derive meaning and determine success based on the end results. Did they do what we wanted or not? Did something unexpected happen? How can you use that information to move your campaign or your business forward?

Data is the most valuable, cost effective, and readily available tool in a marketer’s pocket. Make sure you’re setting goals, determining metrics and applying derived meaning in your strategies to see the maximum impact.