Critical during COVID-19 and beyond: Making brand tangible through meaningful online metrics

April 24, 2020

Everything is measurable 

I’m a data nerd. And one of the beautiful things about digital is that everything is measurable. And that certainly extends to things like marketing and channel performance. But what metrics can digital marketers use to measure brand performance?

Tammy Begley is Senior Marketing Strategy and Automation Consultant at Destined, a platinum Salesforce partner that helps businesses digitally transform themselves. She says brand metrics have always been a hot debate.

‘I think brand has a part to play in everything we do as a business. But digital marketing helps to measure brand effectiveness a lot more accurately.’

When she used to place adverts for her clients in print magazines she had to guestimate: if x number of magazines are issued, how many people would actually see the ad, and of those how many will make an inquiry, and of those, how many will convert?

But with an online advert you can see everything the person’s done, right to the point of converting.

Marketing is marketing

Having worked in the business for over seventeen years, Tammy saw that digital was not going to be a subset of marketing only for big brands or startups, but the future of all marketing, representing about 80% of marketing spend.

You can no longer think of digital versus traditional marketing. Marketing is marketing. And digital marketing, changed the perception of marketing from a cost centre of businesses to a revenue-driving area.

Yet Tammy says she’s amazed that in the age of COVID-19 some people still haven’t seen the reality that if you cut marketing you’re actually stopping your business from thriving.

Or even surviving.

 

A 360 degree view of your customers

Most to every company now has a website, but how many are using Google Analytics or other tools – and effectively – to measure their brand?

‘Every marketing campaign should factor in a percentage of brand effectiveness, because everything we do has a brand element to it,’ Tammy says.

Her company, Destined, uses Pardot (a marketing automation platform) to gather data and create reports. For one customer she set up a website campaign that not only measured general metrics like unique monthly visits and bounce rate, but particular website areas that are key to brand engagement, like downloading brochures, interacting with blogs, and filling out forms.

One of the most important brand metrics is the NPS (net promoter score). This is determined through surveys on a scale of one to ten, with questions such as: How likely are you to refer us to a friend?

Anyone who scores you below seven is a detractor, and anyone who scores above seven is a promoter. Those who score 7 or 8 are called ‘passives.’ This is the key question Tammy looks at for brand metrics, and the easiest one to measure.

‘Every marketing campaign should factor in a percentage of brand effectiveness, because everything we do has a brand element to it.’

Size matters, but less than before

Only a few years ago only the big companies, like Telstra, were doing NPS surveys. But now with tools like Survey Monkey’s GetFeedback it’s easy and affordable for any size company.

Another great way to measure brand effectiveness is with social listening tools, such as Social Studio. These platforms track what media, bloggers and others are saying about your brand. And like the survey companies, they also offer affordable options, even for small business.

Where size still matters is in scope. While big companies can measure everything twice, SMEs have to focus on key metrics.

Another advantage of big companies is having a marketing budget for trade shows, exhibitions and conferences. Tammy loves these face-to-face opportunities for promoting your brand. But she says they can be hard to measure, and as a marketer she would get frustrated because she could never show return on investment as she’d like to.

But with COVID everything has gone online, and this presents an opportunity for SMEs to compete better, as they now only need a Zoom account among a few others in the toolkit.

 

Dividing the customer journey into phases

Tammy uses a model of ‘campaign objects’ to help set up measurement for her clients. These include four categories: Entice, Nurture, Close, and Growth, and each of these is relevant to brand and brand measurement.

Entice measures your ability to attract customers. Things like webpage visits and newsletter subscriptions.

Nurture measures how engaged existing customers are, measuring different points on the customer journey.

Close measures the number of deals closed and other metrics through post-purchase surveys.

Growth measures retention and is quite important to brand. Tammy says, ‘Today I was reading an article in the Journal of Marketing Research that said returning customers spend 67% more than new customers, and companies are 300% more likely to win back an old customer than to acquire a new one.’ A high NPS score can augur future growth, while a low NPS can be like a canary in a coal mine.

 

Three things your team can do today
  1. Decide what you most want to know about your customers. Even if you think you know your customers, or have done surveys in the past, COVID-19 has upended everything, and you need to understand your customers in this critical environment.

  2. Begin to research data platforms. Tammy mentioned Google Analytics, Pardot, GetFeedback, and Social Studio, but there are many other apps and platforms for tracking and analysing customer data as well. Even if you are already using platforms, there may be something different or better you aren’t aware of. Look at how many people are now using Zoom because of COVID.

  3. Commit to responding to the metrics. The world is full of companies that spend vast amounts of time and money on research and consultants and reports, only to ignore feedback they don’t want to hear and continue business as usual. The virus itself is the result of governments not responding to the metrics around wet markets, SARS and MERS and the risk of global pandemics.

 

Many of Tammy’s customers, as well as my own clients, initially find brand metrics quite challenging because data analysis and integration is inherently complex. But with free or affordable digital platforms and apps there is no longer any excuse not to get a handle on brand perception and customer sentiment. If you follow the three steps above you will almost certainly get a good return on your investment in brand metrics.

This blog post was inspired by an interview between Darren Taylor and Tammy Begley (Senior Marketing and Automation Consultant, Destined) on Rebranding Branding: The Podcast – Discover your brand mojo. If you would like to hear the interview, you can listen or subscribe here.

Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor

MD & Head of Strategy and Research

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