Six Marketing Metrics to Impress Your Boss

lead generation strategy


Let’s face it, we’re all accountable to our bosses. As a marketing professional, you want to look good in the eyes of your boss, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to figure out what the boss expects or how to build credibility. Fortunately, the following six marketing metrics can help you crack that code as well as provide you with the insights you need to do an even better job.

  • Customer Acquisition Costs – How much does it cost to acquire a new customer? This number is important! In order to determine customer acquisition costs, add up all sales and marketing costs for a given time period (month, quarter, or year) including advertising, overhead, salaries, bonuses, and commissions. Now, determine how many customers were acquired during that same time period. Divide your costs by the number of customers to come up with your customer acquisition cost.
  • The Marketing Percentage of Customer Acquisition Costs – How much of your marketing budget goes toward customer acquisition costs? Deduct sales from the equation and express marketing’s portion as a percentage. Once you have a baseline, you can watch the percentage for signals. For example, if your percentage increases or decreases dramatically, you may want to investigate.
  • Length of Time Required to Recoup Customer Acquisition Costs – In other words, how long until your newly acquired customer becomes profitable? For example, if it costs you $100 to acquire a new customer to a fitness center and the customer signs up for a $20 per month plan, it will take at least five full months before you recoup your costs. From that point forward, the customer will become profitable.
  • Customer Lifetime ValueHow much is each customer worth over time? For example, if the typical fitness center customer stays for an average of five years and spends $1,000 per year, the customer lifetime value would be $5,000 less acquisition costs. However, some customers will cancel which affects the entire customer pool’s CLV. To account for this, divide your initial figure by your customer churn rate. You can take this even further, and impress your boss even more, by calculating the ratio between customer lifetime value and customer acquisition costs. If you have a high customer lifetime value to customer acquisition cost ratio, this means that you have a higher return on your sales and marketing investments.
  • Number of Customers Directly Acquired by Marketing – This metric and the next one can be used to show your boss how many customers the marketing department was responsible for acquiring or nurturing. While you may have a friendly, or not-so-friendly, rivalry with the sales department, marketing is often undervalued. By showing your boss exactly how many customers your team has brought in, your department may get more respect. If this metric increases, it means that marketing is driving more sales or that the sales team has become less effective at prospecting.
  • Number of Customers Nurtured by Marketing – This metric shows the number of customers that your department helped at any point in the process. For example, the sales team may have been responsible for originating a lead; however, if that lead requests additional information by signing up for an autoresponder series, the marketing department becomes involved and helps nurture that lead from that point forward. Again, your department should be recognized for its contributions. If this metric increases, it means that marketing is influencing more leads.

Your boss may not know exactly what he or she expects as far as key marketing performance metrics go. By presenting these six marketing metrics, you can give your boss significant insights into your team’s productivity.

Lead Generation: Tips for Staying on Target

lead generation strategyEach year Beloit College publishes its annual College Mindset List detailing the cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives of incoming freshmen. It’s an eye-opener that reveals profound differences in the lives of the latest generation. For example, the class of 2016 has never needed an actual airline “ticket” and they prefer to watch television on anything but an actual TV set. To them, the Sistine Chapel has always been clean and bright.

What a difference a few years makes. While the College Mindset List is an interesting read, it provides professors with cultural context. It also has implications as far as lead generation goes. While you may not be targeting college students, all markets change, making it important to revisit your “ideal customer profile” frequently and modify it as needed.

Identifying your ideal customer is crucial. This allows you to target your marketing materials to the right people and ensure that your messages resonate with them. It also helps you understand and take advantage of opportunities. Here’s how to identify your ideal customer:

  • Create a list of five to ten of your best customers. Write down the qualities that make them your best customers. For example, do they have large budgets, are they profitable, do they send lots of referrals your way, or are they a joy to do business with?
  • Do the same for your five to ten worst customers. Write down the qualities that make them undesirable?
  • Analyze each group to see what qualities they have in common. In some cases, you may find that a single “persona” describes each group as a whole. Several personas may appear.
  • Classify the various customers by SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) codes detailing industry type, number of employees, annual revenue, and so on.
  • Identify why these customers chose to do business with your company. For example, was there a change that prompted them to switch providers? New regulations that required an investment in products like yours?
  • After looking at what each customer has in common within both groups, you should see distinct differences between your best and worst customers. Focusing on acquiring new customers with the same qualities as your best customers is a sure-fire way to attract more of the same and fewer of those with less desirable qualities.

Creating ideal customer profiles is an important initial step in any marketing endeavor, but marketers often fail to revisit their profiles and adjust as needed. Imagine marketing to this year’s crop of incoming college freshmen using the same messages you just used a few years ago. Not only could your products and services be irrelevant, the media that you use to deliver those messages could be completely wrong. Just a few years ago, social media was in its infancy. Today it’s the go-to destination for reaching many markets. Tomorrow may be a completely different story.

Not only must you continually revisit and refine your ideal customer, marketing messages, and marketing channels, it’s important to look for signs that your target market has shifted. For example, are your customers extremely loyal? As they age and their lifestyles change, they may still be attracted to your brand. However, the same ads that appealed to them as 20-somethings won’t be quite as appealing when they’re in their 30s and 40s. It’s important to recognize changes related to loyalty so that you can continue giving your most loyal customers a reason to return while attracting more of the same at the same time.

Lead generation is an ongoing process that requires your constant attention. Markets can change in as little as a few months, making it crucial that your campaigns reflect those changes.

Using Big Data to Enhance Internet Marketing Campaigns

Marketing strategy based on actionable intelligence from big dataBig data is a hot topic right now, and for good reason. Today’s business intelligence tools make mining massive databases for information a fairly simple process for end-users. In fact, business intelligence can be integrated into lead generation forms and used to standardize and clean the data – all in the blink of an eye. It gets even better. The leads can be segmented based on data and performance measured, monitored, and analyzed. As a big data-based Internet marketing campaign continues, it becomes possible to score leads based on quality and conversions. Thus, future leads can be prioritized or ignored based on reliable, performance-based metrics.

Using big data in Internet marketing campaigns begins at the lead capture point of the process. With traditional online lead generation strategies, marketers require leads to fill out a form and provide specific information in order to receive a free report, white paper, eBook, or other incentive. While most Internet users are accustomed to filling out basic forms with their names and email addresses, they balk at longer, more intrusive forms.

If you’re targeting business leads, you may want detailed data from each prospect such as the prospect’s job role (and, thus, the likelihood of being a decision maker), the size of the firm, number of employees, annual revenues, and other information. This information is helpful in determining if the firm is a good fit for your product or service. Using detailed information allows you to segment leads based on the company’s size, the prospect’s job role, the type of information requested, and so on.

However, a CEO searching for information contained in your white paper, online video series, newsletter, or other downloadable product may feel the effort isn’t worth the informational incentive. By integrating big data at the lead capture point, you can tap into external databases that match user supplied information with larger databases containing additional details.

For example, your lead capture form might require the individual’s name and job role as well as the company’s name. Technology exists that can cross-reference the company’s name to business databases that contain the firmographic data you require. Your prospects no longer need to fill out long forms, and you receive valuable data that you can use to segment and prioritize leads based on company data retrieved from external databases.

These big data technologies can also deliver standardized data as well as verify contact information. For example, individuals may be inclined to enter fake phone numbers in an attempt to avoid phone calls. Others may inadvertently transpose numbers in an address. Database service providers use technologies that can detect and correct errors like these using a process known as data “hygiene.”

Scoring leads is another benefit of using big data and business intelligence in your marketing campaigns. For example, analytical tools and reports can reveal which types and categories of leads actually convert. Depending on how far you want to take it, you can also include cost per lead, revenue per lead, and other metrics and compare results by segment. Using business intelligence, analytics, and input from your sales team allows you to rank leads based on quality. You can scorecards to identify the hottest leads for your sales team as well as discard leads that are likely to lead to nowhere or cost too much to pursue based on historical information.

By tapping into big data at the point of lead generation online, you can get the information you need without overly imposing on your prospects. Business intelligence tools allow you to clean, standardize, segment, and prioritize leads based on scorecards.

Content Marketing – Overcoming Common Challenges

Planning content marketing strategyAt first glance, content marketing sound easy, doesn’t it? After all, how hard is it to write a quick blog post and paste a link to it on Facebook or Twitter? Anyone who has dabbled in content marketing knows the truth: content marketing is challenging.

Some of the more common content marketing challenges can be broken down into just a handful of categories:

  • Generating relevant content
  • Timing content delivery to reach leads at the appropriate time in the buying process
  • Segmenting leads
  • Lack of resources

Generating and Creating Relevant Content
Content marketing requires a clear strategy and an understanding of what your leads are interested in. One of the first steps in any content marketing strategy is to identify several “personas.” This helps you to visualize the people you are targeting and get a deeper understanding of their own challenges, problems, desires, and interests.

Once you know who your personas are and their interests, the key is to focus on publishing optimized inbound resources that both capture their attention and provide useful, relevant information. While you may be full of great ideas for blog posts and targeted web content development, the next challenge involves getting it done. This is where it may make sense to bring in external writers or marketing consultants to create targeted content. Otherwise, other priorities may distract you from creating a continuous stream of relevant content or even finding worthwhile information to share via social networks.

Content Timing / Delivery
What if you have plenty of content available or a few in-house writers who can quickly generate content as needed? The next challenge involves delivering the right content to the right person at the right point in the buying cycle. For example, someone who is just beginning to research widgets may find articles about the benefits of widgets relevant and compelling. Meanwhile, someone further in the buying process already knows about the benefits and may be more interested in learning about the differences between solar-powered widgets, hybrid widgets, and battery-operated widgets. It’s helpful to map out the buying cycle of your products and services and create content that aligns with each major stage.

Creating Content for Segmented Markets
Prospects, leads, and existing customers will be in various stages of the sales funnel, making it important to segment communications based on where they are in the buying process. Not only that, they will be interested in different products and services or match different personas. In order to send the most relevant content possible, it’s vital to segment your prospects, leads, and existing customers as much as possible. For example, your “soccer moms” will have different interests, needs, and communications preferences than CEOs.

Once segmented, you’re back to the content creation and timing challenges mentioned earlier. However, once segmented, it becomes easier to create high quality, relevant content that guides prospects toward a buying decision.

Limited Resources
Finally, one of the biggest challenges of content marketing is this: getting it done with limited resources. For smaller companies, the sales and marketing team may already be stretched thin with little time or money to spare. While you may see the value of launching a content marketing campaign, having limited resources is a legitimate concern that could derail even the best of plans. It’s not uncommon for marketing personnel to find themselves supporting customers more often than expected, especially when marketing is responsible for interacting with customers on social media sites. To overcome this challenge, it’s smart to segment social media responsibilities as well. Train several customer service representatives in the art of providing customer service via social networks and allow your marketing team to focus on strategy and content development.

Lead generation and content marketing are important endeavors. It may be advantageous to work with marketing consultants to ensure that your inbound marketing efforts pay off.