The promise of measurement: Moving metrics to the bottom of the funnel

Peter Prodromou is president, Racepoint Global

After a decade of promising more precise metrics to take buyers to the bottom of the funnel, I’d argue that much of what we’re seeing in PR and marketing is simply a rehash of old metrics. Sure, there’s a new digital spin on it all. In addition to counting clips and headlines, we’re also now tallying likes, favorites, shares, downloads, visits and click-through rates. While all of these numbers highlight quantifiable digital touch points companies have with customers and prospective buyers, what they don’t deliver on is what the C-suite really wants: true conversation rates.

This is not to say our industry hasn’t made any progress in our quest to deliver better metrics. We’ve certainly come a long way from using AVEs and we’re now serving up more data-driven information that reflects quantifiable outcomes of our work. However, we need to acknowledge that although this is a big step in the right direction, we’re simply not there yet. The Holy Grail is still to produce hard numbers that directly link marketing to sales, giving us the seat at the table we’ve always wanted.

So, the question is how do we get there? I believe the winning measurement approach is one that illustrates a buyer taking a specific action based on prompts from the marketing campaign. The path involves following and engaging directly with customers similar to the way we do with influencers. It starts with creating digital profiles of target customers by following them on their social channels — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are good starts. From there, companies can better understand the interests and preferences of their customers. They can profile what their customers and prospects are all about by what they share, what they communicate, who they’re connected to, etc. It’s not all that different from the psychographic profiles advertising agencies have done for years, but it is done through digital platforms.

The real payoff comes in using this profile data and contact information to market messages directly to consumers where they live. For example, let’s say you are a beer company seeking to sell more product. Your best opportunity may be to link your beverage sales to football fans. Your choices are television, print and in-stadium collateral. You can deliver another level of precision by doing a series of banner ads on nlf.com and you might even go so far as to deliver sponsored tweets to a broad base profile of people on rotisserie league teams.

But imagine the enhanced efficiency you could deliver if you were able to profile the specific content interest of 10,000 Twitter users and then sponsor tweets tailored right to those interests, for example football fans who like NASCAR. This kind of precision, combined with a specific prompt, would allow you to measure buyer behavior nearly all the way to a sale. What’s essential to this approach is a level of precision analytics in advance of the campaign. It is my position that this is the kind of data all agencies and marketers need to provide to make a credible argument about the true power of social: advance metrics to which specific commitments and results can be linked.

While our industry is only part way there, this is the benchmark we should be using. Clients in the health IT space, for example, can use precision research software to manage this kind of individual targeting as part of its sales efforts. Armed with this profile data, sales reps are able to better appeal to and engage specific individuals around precise needs, enhancing their close rate. It is this kind of commitment that is fundamentally changing the face of marketing accountability.

This type of work illustrates the potential we have to finally deliver on the measurement ask executives have been making for years. Ultimately, it will demonstrate a real ROI, helping to finally illustrate our role as a truly strategic business function that delivers measurable business outcomes directly tied to the bottom line.

 

Image courtesy Shutterstock.com

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