This article was written by Tom O’Regan & originally appeared in AdAge
How to Develop the Right Metrics for Account-Based Marketing Programs
If you’re a marketer, you’re surrounded by numbers. Website visitor counts, page views, video views, impressions and click-through rates are everyday currency to you, and are often the best way to understand the success — or failure — of specific elements of your programs. But when it comes to taking these numbers to your CEO, know this — just because something can be counted, doesn’t mean it counts.
In marketing, the journey is not the destination
If you’re a traveler, you know that the journey is often as rewarding as your eventual destination. You can meet new people, have new experiences and see vistas you’ve never before seen. That way, when you get to your end point your reward is that much greater.
Legacy metrics measure tactics that apply to a specific stage of the buying cycle and can be measured on their own. They’re the excellent burger you had at a roadhouse, the trucker who told great stories at a diner on Route 66, that time you saw the sun dipping into the ocean as you made your way to your Santa Barbara holiday.
But to a b-to-b marketer, they’re just pieces of your account-based marketing machine. Each bit does its job, but it’s the final result that matters.
Don’t measure to the tactic, measure to the strategy
One key reason for account-based marketing’s rise is that it provides a framework for measuring the impact of programs directly to the pipeline. Done the right way, you can bring together the impact of your programs at the account level. In that context, it is helpful to think of marketing metrics as a rising scale:
At the bottom left are the metrics that provide low attribution to the pipeline and are less valuable. When it comes to display, you don’t want to measure these metrics at all. Targeted advertising can still be effectively deployed at the top of the funnel where brand awareness is essential. But here you need to monitor views, impressions, uniques, etc. Keep in mind, however, that your objectives and measurements must be tied to the account list for your program.
The measurement is the marketing
As you rise up the scale of performance measurement tactics, you find the increasing convergence of both attribution and value. After all, it’s more valuable to know that your message was served to the right audience than it is to know a click.
When you can tie the impact of multiple programs/channels all to your target accounts, you’re beginning to demonstrate real ROI. Account-based marketing, when it runs as an always-on program, can depict display impressions, ad engagement, website visits, leads generated, topical intent and asset performance by giving you a 360-degree view of an account.
When you can see what an account is doing, when you see an account move toward conversion, you can see how a metric like CTR is a tactic in an overall strategy. The throughput of always-on ABM makes it possible to understand what these tactics are actually accomplishing, which is the most holistic view of the impact of your marketing programs down to each account that your sales team should care about.
Your CEO and you: the marketing metrics that matter
CEOs are notoriously short on time. Their primary concern is revenue and growth.
Those legacy stats you’ve been sending your CEO? They might be important to you, but to them, they’re just pretty picture postcards that don’t mean much to their job. An always-on account-based marketing program ties all your efforts to pipeline and conversion. These are the numbers you want to send.
To achieve this, your lead generation program must combine targeted advertising with content syndication. If you keep an account-level view of all metrics through the funnel, you will have tied all your marketing efforts directly to the metric that matters to your CEO: the company’s growth.
As a marketer, the journey is yours. It’s up to you to appreciate each stop along the way, to understand if that detour made good time or led you into interminable delays. Ultimately, the metrics that are useful in the pipeline can be connected to revenue. Essentially, what you are constructing for your CEO is a travel guide that hits only the highlights, so your CEO can get to his or her destination as efficiently as possible.