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In today’s webinar that we co-presented with Internet Retailer, Cardinal Path experts, Nick Iyengar and Mary Andrews, explained how having a solid measurement framework in place will align your marketing initiatives toward a common business goal. A theme that came out of our introductory question to participants was the challenge of making sure their data is clean, accurate, and trustworthy.

A lot of organizations we see in the retail space think that analytics for retail is easy since the goal or end point is clear- drive customers to purchase. But by taking this approach and gathering data that will optimize on that one goal alone, many organizations end up missing the point. At Cardinal Path, we measure customers within the context of their entire customer journey. By bringing structure to our client’s KPIs, we can clearly map out priorities at the technical, business and strategic layers of their organization.

Judging by the questions posed by our audience, we can see that many are getting smart about the strategic aspect of data collection, and want to maximize the value that their data is bringing in. Below are some of the questions asked during the webinar, along with the answers.

Q: How many KPIs is too many, at what point is it too much to track?

A: Nick: Personally,  I am a firm believer that ‘less is more’. The whole point of having a framework is to bring order and structure to what might otherwise be a chaotic environment. When you’re not getting the clarity you should, think critically and ask yourself: “Is this really an indicator of performance?” It’s very tempting to want to invite all of the metrics to the party, but you should be more exclusive. If you were to tell me that you that every metric is important, I would tell you that none of them are. Err on the side of simplicity.
A: Mary: I would agree with Nick. KPIs should be few in number and actionable. Sure, you can include other measurement items, which  fits with what Nick was saying near the end of the presentation, that  this should be a phased approach. You’re not going to get them all in one fell swoop. As you come up with additional measures and figure out what your analysis questions are, you can use these to supplement your Measurement Framework and enhance your ongoing analysis. Only once your core KPIs are in place, can you then expand outward from there into deeper analysis and answer your ‘deep dive’ questions.

Q: How often should measurement frameworks be reviewed/audited to see if they’re still relevant?

A: Mary: When the state of the business remains relatively unchanged (no large shifts or project launches) it’s probably OK to refresh your framework once a year. However, if there is something that is going to happen mid year (for example, you might be planning to launch an entirely new platform for a social listening project), you should reassess your framework to be in line with the strategy of the new program.

Q: What’s the best way to get started with a framework and sell it to the C-suite?

A: Nick: If you are having trouble selling a Measurement Framework to your organization,  you’ll likely need to  have a conversation about how you are activating your data currently. If you are doing this satisfactorily, perhaps you don’t need one. But in many cases  you’re likely not getting the kind of value that you should. If this is the case and you can prove it, then that is the single most important case to make to your organization.

A: Mary:  Even just providing proof of an incorrect insight could be used as a key selling point. In a world where we have mass amounts of data, we need to agree in order to move the needle forward.

Q: How does the KPI framework differ between B2B and B2C companies?

A: Nick: I wouldn’t say that the actual framework itself would differ, however, the length of time needed go through the entire process could be much longer for a B2B company. The outcomes of a B2B framework are less likely to happen online. For example, there will be sales reps, phone calls, and many meetings involved in the process. Additionally, with B2B, you have to be prepared to obtain more information from different sources then you would have to in typical B2C framework. B2C tend to see more information becoming available earlier on the customer and carrying through until the end of the purchase cycle.

Q: What other tools might be needed when comparing B2B and B2C?

A: Nick: The biggest thing that springs to mind is the types of CRM (customer relationship management) tools that a B2B organization might need. When it comes to B2B, you may find yourself with a need for things like lead scoring, which B2C marketing organizations are less likely to need. You might also have account-based marketing tools to consider — tools, for example, that help you customize your web experience based on the visitor’s organization. But whether you’re B2B or B2C, your customers have a journey that you can map out — and upon which you can overlay your business objectives and KPIs.

Q: What are examples of quick wins?

A: Mary: I’ll use a client example from a previous project. In this case, we knew we wanted the customer to get to the shopping cart and convert, so that was the primary goal. In order to do this, we keyed in on only a few items that could lead to this action. We went ahead and looked into the data points that we had available to us at the time and realized pretty quickly from the data that there was a ‘learn’ button which was competing with a product purchase button.

We ignored a lot of the technical implementation pieces for the short term, keeping them in mind for deeper learning later on. We focused instead on our core select KPIs and on the task at hand — which was honing in on the product details and a handful of KPIs to get them to a quick win optimization.

This is a really good example of a first step or a quick win. Once they were at ease after seeing that the data supported  their actions,  it truly got the wind in their sails and allowed them to see quick results from taking a data driven approach. From there, we were able to move them along to larger, deeper insights because they realized the value that they were getting from it.

Q: How can I connect online and offline in the best way if I don’t sell online?

A: Nick: If you don’t sell anything online, you might want to consider whether you have any content online that would require a login- perhaps a customer portal. If you can do this, you will find it much easier to connect online and offline actions (by having that unique identifier tied to each customer). The important thing here is that we need some kind of bridge between online or offline actions, so that you can tie it back to an individual customer. If you don’t have this in place already, you should think about how you can create some kind of privileged content to get them to reveal themselves in terms of who they are, and then work from there.


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