You’re confident that all the elements of your marketing campaign are aligned: the target audience, the branded message, a compelling offer, the engaging creative, and the right multi-channel outreach plan.  Now that the campaign is in market, you are waiting anxiously for the weekly reports on measurement to understand how effective it is in driving results. But are you looking at the right metrics?  And, more importantly, how are you using that information?

Getting to the heart of the campaign, marketers need to identify key metrics that lead to the quantitative and qualitative assessment of campaign effectiveness. Is my campaign working, and what can we learn to make improvements now and in future campaigns? What’s not working, and how can we validate and shift dollars accordingly? Bottom-line results are critical from an ROI perspective, but longer-term learning and insight gathering will make the marketing organization smarter, more agile, and effective in the long run, campaign after campaign.  

Tracking 20+ metrics may make for a robust measurement plan—but does each metric lead to valued learning and more informed decision-making that will support achievement of the end goal, be it sales, leads, referrals, or softer endpoints like awareness and engagement? To ensure you get the most actionable data and insights from your campaign, develop your plan by working backward through the customer journey. Instead of starting with initial observation points, such as impressions, clicks, and pageviews—all of which are viable to prove that the campaign is live and drawing attention—start with the end goal.  

This “end-goal first” approach puts the hard metrics front and center and keeps decision-making focused on achievement of the real end goal that will impact your business. Other metrics are waypoints that, when interpreted correctly, can enable you to quickly fine-tune a campaign and optimize how and where the marketing dollars are spent in order to make a larger impact over time. Rather than celebrate 5 million impressions, 34 shares, or a surge in new unique visitors to a site, marketers should be asking how effectively those impressions, shares, and unique visits are empowering prospective customers or buyers to find value and solutions they need and desire based on the content presented. What are the most telling indications for this activity, and at what point can that data fuel a reasoned decision? Clear identification of actionable metrics, not just waypoints, will set the course for near- and long-term campaign learning and success, which is what really matters when seeking to drive ROI.