Get Your Outcomes Right and the Metrics will Follow

In order to measure campaigns successfully, organisations must make sure they choose the right set of outcomes

Measuring the success of a marketing or sales campaign is notoriously tricky. The plethora of metrics that can be used to track progress means that it’s hard to work out which will provide a truly accurate picture of success or failure.

As brands place more emphasis on selling, marketing and providing customer service through digital platforms, the sheer amount of data they can access is overwhelming. The danger of relying exclusively on data is that it is open to interpretation and different people within the same organisation can draw different conclusions from the same set of data or be convinced of success or failure by reviewing certain data points in isolation.

In addition, the elevated expectation of digital customers for excellent, immediate service as a standard means validation and recognition is hard to come by. The growing preference for online self-service to resolve questions or issues cuts out the human interaction that would have given a brand’s service teams the opportunity to get direct feedback.

Similarly, the occasions of brands being able to exceed individuals’ expectations enough to spark spontaneous praise on social media is rare and qualitative, meaning it won’t always be present in campaign data reports.

The challenge for today’s sales and marketing teams is not in sourcing the data and insights to measure campaigns, but to make sure they are setting outcomes that result in delivering an improved experience for their customers and finding the metrics that need to be tracked to achieve that.

The perils of wrong metrics

The challenge of choosing the right metrics was a discussion point at Forrester’s CX Europe event in London.

The major issue on the agenda was that using wrong metrics will provide an inaccurate picture of a campaign’s impact, giving little insight into how they must adapt strategies to engage customers. For example, a high engagement rate for a campaign means very little if conversion rates remain unchanged.

Added to this, some metrics are susceptible to variation so it’s important to have other ways of measuring the progress of a campaign to provide the necessary context. This requires organisations to differentiate between elements of a campaign that aren’t working and more cyclical issues, such as seasonality.

For example, open rates for travel companies are likely to go down at the end of summer as people return from holidays and aren’t yet thinking of their next trip. However, by winter, people are starting to think about their next getaway, meaning open rates rise. In this case, combining open rates with seasonal data would provide a more accurate picture of what is going on.

Put outcomes first

Speaking at CX Europe, Roxie Strohmenger, vice president, CX Index at Forrester, said the best way to address metrics challenges is to set up campaigns with clear outcomes. It may sound simple, but organisations often get bogged down meeting metrics without really establishing what they’re trying to achieve.

When choosing these outcomes it’s important that they truly drive change. Harvard Business Review recently noted that one of the main reasons for customer experience programmes failing is that companies take tracking metrics at face value. If a score rises, it is seen as evidence of improvement, without it necessarily contributing to the intended outcome.

For example, customer satisfaction scores can be made to appear high if looked at in a certain way, but aiming to reduce the volume of customer service calls by 15 percent or resolve all service requests in less than one minute will have a more concrete and measurable impact.

Get the full picture

It’s also important that organisations consider all data at their disposal to add context that provides a better understanding of individual customers, customer segments and the customer base as a whole. Businesses should invest in technology that pools metrics data together and applies the relevant analytics.

Access for everyone

It’s important that this data is accessible to marketing, sales and service teams so they can align strategies and ensure that the different needs and activities of each department are taken into account. Our research found that 44 percent of brands admit that lead conversion is more successful when sales and marketing are aligned.

Ultimately the companies that deliver the best experiences to their customers are the ones that have a clear idea of the outcomes they want to achieve. Insurance giant Aviva, for example, doesn’t look to nudge discrete metrics, but is instead focused on engaging its customers through new platforms, from psychological tests to games.

By using a set of questions based on the Myers Briggs model of psychological preferences, Aviva’s Save Smarter website enables users to find out which ‘Superhero’ they are. These include the ‘Dark Striver’, who tries to stay on top of bills but is often hindered by spending on extras they don’t allow for, or the ‘Turbo Saver’ who is good with their money but may be missing out on opportunities. People can then access tips for managing their finances based on these personas and directed to products that may be of interest.

By making customer engagement a major outcome, Aviva has been able to successfully reinvent its customer experience to significantly boost engagement. This demonstrates how putting outcomes above metrics can free you to pursue campaigns that have a real impact.

By Daryn Mason, Oracle CX Evangelist

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