Are Your Metrics Measuring Up?

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Four challenges marketers face when measuring and optimizing their brand efforts.

The most important things in life often are difficult to achieve. Think about it: We exercise and eat right to maintain our health; we invest long hours to secure that coveted position at work; and we all know someone who's on that endless quest for love.

Put simply, achieving greatness takes work—and it's no different in marketing.

Marketers know that it's important to measure and optimize brand campaigns. In fact, Visual IQ's new report “Branding Measurement in Today's Accountable World: A Tale of Two Marketers” reveals that 75% of the more than 500 U.S. and U.K. marketers surveyed consider their branding metrics very or extremely important.

"Marketers need to fill the top of the marketing funnel by creating awareness and consideration," says Bill Muller, CMO of the attribution software company. "Once you've attracted new prospects, you can then leverage other lower-funnel tactics to nurture those audiences toward conversion."

For two thirds of marketers, branding efforts are measured through engagement metrics—such as online video completions, whitepaper downloads, or store locator visits. However, this tracking isn't always easy. Actually, 80% of respondents agree that it's more challenging to measure the impact of branding efforts than it is to measure the effectiveness of direct response initiatives. And while 85% of marketers are very or extremely confident in their organizations' abilities to quantify the impact of their direct response efforts against KPIs, only 64% feel the same way when it comes to their branding efforts.

"Direct response marketers can measure and optimize towards a single event, such as an online sale or completed application," Muller says. "Brand marketers, on the other hand, create multiple ways for prospects to engage with their brand, such as online video completions, rich media ad interactions, etcetera. As such, it's impossible to effectively optimize to each of these activities individually. What brand marketers need is a single currency or KPI metric for measurement and optimization."

Here are four common obstacles when trying to measure the effectiveness of branding.

1.  Digital disorganization

With today's consumer engaging in a variety of digital touch points, it can be difficult for marketers to attribute the right channel to the right result. In fact, more than three fourths (76%) of marketers say isolating and quantifying the impact of specific digital channels on branding metrics is challenging. In addition, only about a quarter (26%) of respondents would consider their companies very good at measuring which digital channels or tactics drive the greatest lift in branding metrics and just half would say their companies are good at this task.

2. TV attribution

Connecting the TV screen to the mobile screen isn't always easy. According to the study, segregating and quantifying the impact of TV advertising on brand metrics is a hurdle for 69% of respondents.

3. Lack of resources

Muller says investing in technologies that can accurately measure customer interactions and channel effectiveness can help marketers overcome the prior two challenges. However, many marketers seem to lack these resources. Nearly half (48%) of respondents say they don't have the advanced measurement tools or methodologies that they need, and 36% say they lack analytical expertise or resources.

When it does come time to select a vendor, Muller advises marketers to choose a solutions provider that can provide incremental proof of ROI. 

"The ability to demonstrate accountability for one's marketing budget goes a long way towards making the case for investment in the rights tools and technologies," he says.

4. No clear vision

A data point is simply a data point. It's not until marketers understand the bigger picture of what they're looking for and why that data turns into insight. However, this is a struggle for many respondents. According to the study, 40% of marketers say they're unable to link multiple brand engagement activities back to an overall metric or score.  In addition, nearly one third (32%) of respondents say they're unable to attribute brand engagement to business outcomes.

"Marketers need to be able to quantify the impact that each type of brand engagement activity has on their conversion metrics," Muller says. "Only then can they tie branding efforts to business outcomes."

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