The Pillars of Measurement Marketing: Planning

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Measurement marketing is a framework that helps marketers make sure the marketing metrics they're tracking are useful. It's not about gathering data for the sake of gathering, but doing so with purpose and context.

There are five pillars of Measurement Marketing:

1. Planning

2. Building

3. Reporting

4. Forecasting

5. Optimizing

We're going to cover all of these pillars in a series of posts.

First up, we'll talk about the most critical part of any measurement marketing effort: Planning.

Why Is Planning the Most Important Step in Measurement Marketing?

Do this before building anything in Google Analytics

Imagine trying to build a building without a plan. You show up to a site with a bunch of tools in your hand. You have pieces of wood, nails, hammers, etc.

You may eventually end up with something livable. But you won't have any guarantee that your WiFi and network connections will be there. You won't know that the conference rooms or offices you need will be there.

When marketers start measuring digital assets, they might stick the code on their site and then jump into Google Analytics and start reading data. There's no planning or structure.

Having a plan before you begin building ensures the final product has the essential pieces to enable you to achieve your goals.

When you know where you are and where you're going, you can easily map out how to get there. That's what planning is all about. It's a unique skill that will save you from frustration and overwhelm when measuring your marketing.

But where do you start?

A Framework for Planning: The Q.I.A. Model

Planning can seem daunting at first. There are so many marketing metrics to track. How do you know which ones will provide actionable information?
Planning your measurement marketing can be confusing. But it doesn't have to be.

The Q.I.A. model is a framework you can use to narrow down all of the possible metrics to only the ones your business needs to grow. Start by asking these three questions:

What question do I want to answer?

What information will I need to get the answer?

What action will I take based on the answer I get?

Let's dive into each of these questions a little deeper.

Two Types of Questions

The “Q” in Q.I.A.

Have you ever created reports and functionality in Google Tag Manager and Analytics and then had to redo it? It's likely because you built using trial and error. Instead, think ahead of time and consider every detail of what you need before you begin building.

The first step is to find out what questions you want to answer. There are two types of questions.

“Results” Questions

First, you'll need to define “results” questions. These are questions like:

“How many sales did I make?”

“Which products did I sell?”

“How many leads came in?”

Google Analytics doesn't know the results you're trying to achieve. You have to define the outcomes that matter to you and tell Analytics what they are.

Different types of marketing have different goals. You might begin content marketing to raise awareness of your brand. In that case, measuring conversion rates or sales from blog posts don't make sense. Measure according to the purpose.

“How” Questions

The second type of question is “how” questions. The answer to these questions gives you insight into the behavior of your visitors and customers. Some examples of these are:

How many users saw my offer?

How many people started my checkout process?

Did anyone leave the checkout process before completing the purchase?

Asking both “results” and “how” questions will give you a complete picture of the strength of your marketing efforts. We won't tell you what to measure. It solely depends on the outcomes you need for your business. No one can define them except you.

Once your questions are defined, it's time to gather the correct information.

How to Find the Right Marketing Metrics

The “I” in Q.I.A.

Information overload can quickly occur in Google Analytics. It's not uncommon for marketers to go into Analytics and become overwhelmed with the amount of data and reports presented to them.

The information stage of the Q.I.A model is pivotal in breaking through the noise and gathering the information that matters. Don't over complicate it. Stick to the high-level data you need and gather nothing more.

There are two types of information:

Already Measured – This is the information that's already being stored somewhere, maybe even in Google Analytics. Find where the data is held and make a note of it for later.

Not Yet Measured – This information is necessary but isn't being measured or stored. Figure out where it should go and how to get it there. You may need to use tools such as Google Tag Manager to send the necessary data to Analytics for storage.

Make sure the information covers both the “results” questions and “how” questions. For example, you may already have your number of sales through a Shopify integration. Therefore, the information is easily attainable for your “results” question, “How many sales did I make?”

On the other hand, maybe you don't have the “how” questions covered. You may need to set up funnel tracking to know how many people started the checkout process and how many finished.

If you don't have funnel tracking enabled now, that's okay. Add it to your measurement marketing plan. It's like adding to a blueprint of a building that you need a conference room with Internet access. It doesn't exist yet, so you write down that you should build it in the future.

You've written down your most important “results” and “how” questions. You know where the information is to answer those questions. Now comes the most crucial part of planning.

Planning to Take Action

The critical piece, the “A” in Q.I.A.

Taking action is the part that many marketers skip. Questions and the information to answer those questions go hand-in-hand naturally. The actions part is more counter-intuitive.

However, what's the use of answering a question if no action is taken based on it? Questions and answers are the basis for making decisions that affect the outcome of your marketing efforts.

We encourage marketers to follow the “action before answers” methodology to figure out what actions they'll take before they build anything. Do a dress rehearsal.

Before you start building, answer these questions:

How will the answer be presented? How will the report look?

“What actions will I take if the answer is ‘X'?”

“What actions will I take if the answer is ‘Y'?”

Building A Plan of Action

The first step is to sketch out how the answers will be displayed. Whether you're building for a client or your boss, think about what format they prefer. Some people prefer pretty graphics; others want a spreadsheet full of numbers. Either can be useful, so use the best option for your audience.

A report for an executive will be different than one for the sales team. Deciding ahead of time, even if you're simply sketching it on a napkin, will save you from massive headaches down the line.

A good example is a blog designed to increase leads. You want a 5% opt-in rate from the blog into a lead magnet.

You measure the number of people who viewed the blog post, where they came from, and whether they went to the opt-in page and opted in after reading the blog post.

If the opt-in rate is 5% or higher, we're doing well. We'll stand pat. If it's lower than 5%, we'll re-evaluate the offer to make sure it matches the content of the post.

We'll also evaluate the placement and effectiveness of the call-to-action to see if we can improve it.

The previous two paragraphs are a solid plan for measuring the blog. It doesn't have to be a 20-page report or a long slide show. As long as it includes the questions you need to answer, the information you're gathering to answer those questions, and the actions you'll take when you get the answers, you have a measurement plan.

The Measurement Marketing Journey Begins

Planning your measurement doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. But it is necessary to build an analytics framework that drives smart decision-making.

Planning is the solid foundation of your building. But it's only the beginning of the process. Next time, we'll cover the Building pillar of measurement marketing.

In the meantime, practice planning using the Q.I.A. model. Share with us below your “results” and “how” questions to help each other grasp this new way of thinking.

We can't wait to see what you build next.

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