The late, great Yankee, Yogi Berra was a prophetic quote machine. One of my favorites has always been,

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

As silly as it sounds, it’s powerful advice.

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When it comes to measuring marketing performance, it’s imperative to plan your path to success. With that, until you know where you’re starting (setting the benchmark), how do you know where that path will go?

Setting the benchmark is important in data-driven marketing campaigns. If you have a program that measures against specific KPI (Key Performance Indicators), but have no benchmark to measure from, you haven’t given the campaign a proper starting point. PPC, SEO, etc. require data to show performance. A strategic marketing program will start showing actionable data only after a benchmark has been established and performance tracking is able to show data against that baseline – or “Apples-to-apples.”

If your product or service is seasonal and you start the campaign at the end of a full cycle, when do you think you’ll see comparative performance numbers? Answer: At the end of the next full cycle . Then, you can compare the success (or failure) to the previous – the benchmark – and adjust accordingly.

If your product or service is general (not impacted by seasonal changes or industry ebb and flow), when do you think you’ll see comparative performance numbers? Answer: After a comparable sales / business cycle has been completed (the benchmark). That will often be 90-days (a fiscal quarter) – shorter, if you’ve been tracking inbound properly – but measuring and expecting actionable results any sooner is simply reactionary and short-sighted.

So, when you come to your marketing partners after a week (or less, who are we fooling) and demand answers to why conversions (sales) aren’t spiking or traffic is slow, savvy and strategic marketers will ask, “Compared to what?”

Be prepared to cite your work.

Food for thought. 😉
Until next time,

Andrew B. Clark