8 Steps Effectively Measure Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Developing a digital marketing measurement system is not simply about building a dashboard and sending out reports every week. Here's how to build the right strategy.

Measurement is at the core of effective digital marketing. Indeed, the power of measurement is what makes digital channels so alluring. But developing a measurement system is not simply about building a dashboard and sending out reports every week. With the right strategy in place — one that clearly defines the data you need to measure success — you’ll be able to show how marketing contributes to your organization’s bottom line. When developing your digital marketing and measurement strategy, here are eight steps you must take.

1. Define Your Business Objectives, Goals & Priorities

This may sound obvious, but you’d be shocked (or maybe you wouldn’t) by how many banks and credit unions skip this step. Consider what success means to your financial institution, and then be sure to collect the corresponding inputs from across your organization. Is one of your primary objectives to raise brand awareness? Or increase revenues? Is it to increase retention rates? Or to acquire net new accounts?

For most financial services organizations, one or more goals will revolve around building relationships with consumers. On the marketing side, look for increased engagement with your content — improvements in pages viewed, time-on-site, and utilization of helpful tools such as calculators or product-selection guides. On the service side, consider goals such as improving digital self-service with success metrics such as chat/call deflection rates, increased use of search, and improved responses within survey solutions such as Foresee that indicate successful first-contact resolution.

The important factor for success here is to engage with senior leadership to make sure all your critical business objectives have been crystallized.

2. Define Your Target Segments

Who are your customers and how do you segment them? Clearly document the needs of each segment. It’s critical not to over-complicate this process by defining dozens of profiles. If you are just starting out, begin with a few broader segments and build your measurement strategy around the needs of each one. As you collect and analyze data for your digital strategy, new segments will flow from data streams like conversion rates and transaction analytics.

Read More: Building Buyer Personas for Banking Websites

3. Understand Your Multi-Channel Customer Journey

How do consumers engage with your institution? Do they conduct initial research on a mobile device but finish applications and forms on your website while using a desktop unit? What role do social channels play in your digital/online strategy? Be sure you fully understand your customer’s “path to conversion” and how this may differ segment by segment.

In banking, personal contact remains a key component in how relationships are forged, grown and sustained. Your digital strategy needs to align with customer preferences for self-service versus the desire to engage with a human through online chat or call centers. Use segmentation to understand which channel ensures the best outcome for the customer and resist the temptation to simply drive your customer to the lowest-cost option if a higher cost channel will produce a more positive experience.

4. Map Your Business Objectives To KPIs

What are the KPIs needed to measure your customers’ interactions with your brand? These KPIs need to be tied in with the customer segments you’ve defined and the journeys they take.

Consider engagement versus conversion metrics. Ensure you understand the differences between one digital channel and another, and measure the metrics that make sense for each. For example, bounce rate may be immaterial for mobile applications, but it can be a vital measurement for your website.

Regardless of the KPIs you choose, ensure that the KPI is reflective of the people’s desires, not your own. People load a website or app with a specific goal in mind, and your KPIs should measure/reflect their ability to meet those goals, which will in turn should drive your digital strategy and its success.

5. Establish The Technical Infrastructure To Collect Necessary Metrics

How do you go about collecting the data you need? Investigate and invest in technologies that allow you to measure across different channels. Consider scale, performance and flexibility. It’s also critical to be able to collect data on any device and in any digital channel, and then be able to consolidate all of that collected data into a single unified place. This is necessary to see your business as a whole, and avoid those much-dreaded “measurement silos” where data is isolated to a single department or business line.

At some point, you will want to establish visitor profiles for your website that can help you understand the context in which to engage. For example, is this a new or existing visitor? Is the visitor an existing customer or potential prospect? What products do they have, and which ones might be of interest to them? Careful analysis and understanding of the data you collect — and how you integrate it with the data you have elsewhere (CRMs, EDWs, etc.) — allows you to determine how best to create relevant customer experiences.

6. Define The Reporting Needs Of Your Institution

Determine the most meaningful and consumable way to report back to the business stakeholders. Ensure that reporting is aligned to the business goals (which you defined in the first step), and that your reports are intuitive, accessible and timely.

Reporting should also align with your institution’s security and privacy policies. Look for solutions that allow you to restrict permission to access both reports and specific data within reports. In a highly regulated industry, what can’t be seen is as important as what can be seen.

7. Make It Actionable

Incorporate specific recommendations and actions as part of your reports and dashboards. Show how to take action on the insights, rather than just produce another report with more data. This builds credibility with leadership and ensures your measurement strategy is delivering actionable results.

For example, measuring visitor movement through an account application process can reveal friction on pages or even with specific, individual fields in a form. Thus, you can measure both the abandonment rate and identify where the experience breaks down. This creates an opportunity to test alternative designs that might remove friction and increase the application rate.

8. Initiate a Data Governance Process

Define a process for evolving and updating your measurement and data collection. Ensure that new measurement requirements are implemented in a coordinated way that does not step on existing processes. Plan for periodic tag audits to ensure data collection mechanisms are working as expected and are up to date. Be sure clear ownership is defined and processes documented.

Your governance process should also ensure you are not collecting data that might be private or customers consider to be private. For example, social security and account numbers are inappropriate for collection within any analytics solution unless you maintain the data behind your firewall. However, some customers may consider their email or phone numbers to be private as well, and you may want to make data collection optional based on preference despite its obvious utility.

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