Ask a room full of marketers how to measure marketing success, and you’ll get a variety of colorful ideas. That’s because there is more than one way to get the job done. Plus, success means different things to different people. If it’s not pinned down and assigned a metric, your success will escape you. 

Examples of Success in Marketing

Marketing success is growth. It can be identified as an increase in any one of the following…

  • sales
  • leads and referrals
  • website traffic and behavior
  • store visitors
  • newsletter subscribers
  • social media followers
  • social media engagement
  • reach
  • press mentions and links
  • employee engagement
  • brand recognition
  • and a number of other things

A Quick Step-by-Step Approach for Tracking Marketing Success

Before we give you some concrete examples of what and how to track, here’s a general process to follow.

Step 1 – Identify what success means to you.

Step 2 – Establish measurable goals and sub-goals, (e.g., Goal: increase online sales from website by 25% in 12 months. Sub-goal: Increase website traffic by 50% in 12 months.)

Step 3 – Start tracking using tools like Google Analytics.

Step 4 – Report every month on the metrics that matter. Don’t get lost in the mountains of data available to you.

Step 5 – Modify as you go, but stick to the guts of the marketing strategy for at least six months to get a clear view. Marketing takes time.

Step 6 – Keep track of your investment (hard costs and time), then do the math to see your return on investment. The formula is “profit / total investment * 100 = ROI.” This number might not mean anything the first time you calculate it, but over time, you’ll see what marketing efforts cost you and which ones benefit you.

What We Measure to Determine Marketing Success

The Condiment Marketing Co. measures three things for our clients.

1. Website traffic growth

2. Number of brand name mentions (as a result of PR/blogger outreach and social media)

3. Reach month over month (Reach is the number of people exposed to a message)

Keep in mind that every client has annual and quarterly marketing goals as well. For example, maybe the client wants to increase online food sales or grow an email list with prospective customers. We do the additional measurement to track growth toward those goals.

Other Ideas for Measuring Marketing Growth

Remember that room full of marketers with all those different ideas on what marketing metrics to track? Well, here are some of those other tracking ideas that we think are also solid.

Lacy Bogg’s Measures Content Upgrades

After sitting in on the Lean Content session at Denver Startup Week, Lacy Boggs introduced her position on content upgrades. (Side note: A content upgrade is when a website visitor gets an additional piece of content, like a white paper or a guide, in exchange for an email address.) Using this formula, “revenue / email addresses = value per lead,” Lacy determines how much every content upgrade is worth.

PS – We employ content upgrades, too. (Though it’s not something we choose to measure as closely as Lacy does.) Tool recommendation: If you’re on WordPress, try the Optin Monster plugin.

Spork Marketing’s Sales Tracking Expertise

Disclaimer! I’m married to Jason Lancaster, the head honcho at Spork Marketing, but I swear I’m not biased. Spork is an expert in sales and tracking. I’m not just saying that.

In addition to a brand name pay-per-click advertising campaign to measure interest, Spork also insists on call tracking. With call tracking, you will know with certainty which marketing campaigns are driving leads and sales.

No More Vanity Metrics Says Impact Branding

According to Impact Branding and Design, a vanity metric is a metric that proves nothing and simply makes you feel good. Ignore those. Impact outlines the key performance indicators that actually matter — engagement and reach — in this blog post.

Meghann Conter, Results-Driven Marketing

My friend Meghann is a Denver marketing coach, and one of her main focuses is on results. We dig that. Too many businesses carelessly market with little insight. It’s a waste of money, and it turns people off from marketing altogether. And that’s sad because it can work!

On Meghann’s blog, she gets into the dirty details of how to track. We especially like what she says about testing in marketing.

Now that you’ve gotten a few ideas, how will you measure marketing success?

Sara Lancaster

About Sara Lancaster

Sara is The Condiment Marketing Co.’s founder and creative director. She oversees client relationships, strategic marketing plans, as well as a bit of copywriting and social media management.