Leaders must balance a variety of responsibilities, and a regular, structured review process is critical. In this post, I share my dashboard-in-progress to demonstrate how I review our marketing efforts for P3 Inbound.
In order to keep a business moving forward, leaders need to alternate between four different modes of behavior. Getting stuck in any one mode for too long can cause a disconnect.
4 Modes of Leadership
The four modes that I see are learning, planning, acting, and reviewing.
Mind you, these four modes don’t have to move in a sequential action. Business leaders must be flexible enough to know when to jump from one to the other.
Learning, Planning, Acting
Peep Laja says that the “half-life of digital marketing know-how is about 2.5 years.” Without continuing to learn new skill sets and applying them to their overall approach, marketers run the risk of becoming quickly outdated.
In the process of learning, there may be some unlearning required that can make us feel very uncomfortable. I’ve written about Thomas J. DeLong’s book Flying without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success before, but it does such a good job of demonstrating that unlearning will require us to be worse at a skill set for a while before we can get better.
It’s dangerous to ignore learning, but there is also the risk of spending too much time in the learning phase and not having a “bias for action.” This risk, of course, could also be true for planning and reviewing. Basically, it is easy to get stuck and not have the confidence to continue acting. We get good at disguising it with what looks like helpful activity. All three of those phases are essential, but your business generates value by doing the work.
One interesting trend I’ve observed about my own efforts to get the work done is that I can often feel as though I’m supposed to be getting something else done at the same time. For instance, is my time spent better in writing this article or in answering an email?
This is where planning and evaluating my strategy gives me the peace of mind to be able to focus on the task at hand. If I’ve already planned time to answer my email, then I don’t have to worry about it nagging at me while I’m trying to get my article written. If I’ve evaluated my process using a proven framework, then I can feel more confident in what it is I’m trying to accomplish.
Okay, now let’s talk about the process of review. Action is critical, but action without review is foolish.
The Process of Marketing Review
In reviewing how an entire company is doing, you can use several different frameworks. I am a fan of the balanced scorecard, but there are other great ones, as well. We are currently using the scorecard to understand whether or not we are neglecting any area of our business.
Still, when I need to understand how all of our marketing efforts are coming together, I need a dashboard of sorts to understand all of the key metrics and to be able to identify where the process might be breaking down.
Depending on your full marketing mix, your dashboard could look very different from what I need to establish for my efforts. Conceptually, we are looking for stats that reflect the true health of what we’re trying to achieve.
I know that there are lots of reporting tools out there, and some of them may even be able to pull everything together for you. Despite working with several of these tools, I still go back to creating a Google sheet and listing all of the information there.
I can get good reports on various aspects of our marketing efforts, depending on the tool that we’re using for that particular effort (Raven Tools, SEMRush, Google Analytics, ActiveCampaign, and others). At the end of the day, I need a space where the restrictions of my reporting tools do not get in my way, and I can place information from various sources all in one spot.
Here are a few of the things that I look at on a regular basis. Again, anyone point of information in my dashboard is useful, but it is the full picture of all the stats together that helps me understand what it is I need to improve.
I look at our marketing efforts in different groupings. The first group would be the stuff that is external to our website. The next group would be all of the assets and materials available from our website. The last group is the sales results from all of this work.
My Marketing Dashboard (in progress)
In the External category, I want to know how people are hearing about us. This may include a few of the following stats:
- Social Media Engagement
- Podcast Downloads
- Keyword Ranking
Despite being a fan of digital marketing, I still find myself overlooking the potential reach of social media. All the news of social media’s decline in organic reach has made me reluctant to focus on social, but the stats make me pay attention.
Social media engagement is not just about getting a click to another website anymore, but the opportunity to build relationship is still just as strong.
In the Onsite category, I want to know if people are taking action once I get them to our site.
Depending on your customer relationship management system, you may be able to easily see how many impressions your forms are getting to be able to create a conversion percentage. If you have to go the more manual route, then you can use Analytics destination goals to see how many people viewed the page where your form lives and then follow through to the thank you screen in order to download their assets or subscribe to your newsletter (whatever your particular call to action is).
The few stats that I’m collecting for the second category of understanding how people behave once they get to us are not enough to truly diagnose what needs to happen to increase the number of conversions or to improve the quality. For that kind of work, will need more information both from Google Analytics and from Mouseflow (a session recording tool that includes heat maps). Still, these few stats will help me understand if I’m trending in the right direction.
Just to provide a little more clarity, here are the key stats I’m watching for Onsite:
- Total Traffic
- Traffic to Our Marketing Assets
- Number of Conversions per Key Asset
- Number of Leads in Our Drip Campaign
Lastly, I want to understand my Sales Results:
- Total Sales per Month
- Sales Leads per Pipeline Stage
Of course, I want to know how many sales we are completing and how much revenue we’re generating on a monthly basis. The other number I am interested in is the number of potential deals in the pipeline. We’ve gone through the hard work of improving our sales processes and personalizing those conversations enough, but we need to make sure that enough deals are in the works so that we can get some sort of idea of how many we can realistically win.
Please note, my purpose with this dashboard is not to have all of the stats in one place. With this dashboard, I am seeking to distill the information as much as possible to get down to the few things that really matter. I expect that the metrics I observed most will change as I begin to understand which components are truly most important, but we have to start somewhere.
I would love to hear what kind of information you use to tie marketing efforts to revenue.
Going back to the different modes of business that are necessary, I am finding that a good review process is helping propel the rest of the modes. I can identify what topics I need to learn or research. I can get plans in place to solve specific issues I’m noticing in the review process, and I can put those plans in action more quickly. Because I have a clear metric that I can show to others who may be working on the process with me, we have a very clear goal.