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Three lessons on effective marketing metrics

As every marketer knows, tracking performance metrics is key. If you’re not measuring it, you can’t manage it.

In a multichannel marketing (MCM) world that includes a sales force, online communication, direct mail, digital media and much more, measurement gets more complex.

MCM reporting tracks and measures the impact of tactics and campaigns across a multi-channel effort. It’s a critical factor in ensuring marketing impact and cost-effectiveness.

As your pharma brand team embraces multichannel marketing, MCM reporting becomes mandatory.

MCM reporting provides the joint marketing team—the brand and the agencies that are supporting that brand—with a consistent and reliable assessment of promotional performance. It tracks customer segments, marketing channels, key messages and their impact on market share and makes recommendations on ways to improve performance. If it’s done consistently, MCM reporting becomes a reliable input into decision-making and budget forecasting.

In the past three years since closerlook launched multichannel marketing reporting as an offering to our clients, we’ve learned three important lessons.

1. Align marketing metrics with the brand’s performance goals.

This might sound logical, but it’s easily overlooked.

For example, if a marketing manager is not measured or bonused on email click-throughs, sample requests or engagement scores, then he or she won’t be very invested in getting monthly or quarterly reports that track those metrics. Which makes sense. The lesson here is to find out how the brand team is measured and align your reporting accordingly.

There is also a good chance that the brand marketer may be focused on the wrong metrics to begin with. Providing expert counsel on which data points correlate most directly to business goals (awareness, market access, share growth, etc.) will align the entire team around the most important priorities.

Inevitably the success of reporting program will be directly related to the accuracy of the data, and this requires time and investment to build a scalable data foundation.

2. Don’t underestimate the challenge in getting the right data.

Getting the right data in the right place is not an insignificant challenge. Often even operational data for marketing campaigns resides in different databases. Sometimes it may not even be in a database; it could be in a brand manager’s spreadsheet. It’s rarely structured consistently across those databases or spreadsheets.

We’ve found that advertising agencies seldom collect good clean, structured data from their campaigns. It may be because they’ve never had to report on it at a detailed level or they’ve been reticent to report on it because it’s not always favorable. So your first project may be getting the data and getting it right. Data needs to be clean, structured and consistent every month. It needs to flow automatically into a single database.

Ideally, there will be a true multichannel marketing reporting platform that is collecting, organizing and reporting the data. This platform should be a data vortex, sucking information from every sales and marketing touch point, structuring it in a single database, aligning it around individual customers and then reporting the results.

It’s important to set expectations with senior management that an MCM reporting engagement will always take longer than they expect. Inevitably, the success of reporting program will be directly related to the accuracy of the data, and this requires time and investment to build a scalable data foundation.

3. The real value of MCM reporting occurs when it solves real marketing problems.

Everyone likes happy reports, but they aren’t very useful.

If all the trend lines are “green,” then it may mean you aren’t taking enough risks. Or you’re measuring the wrong activities. The highest value of reporting comes when marketers use it to address a specific problem or understand an anomaly.

The entire marketing team—the brand and its agencies—need to embark on MCM reporting in a legitimate and transparent way. They need to agree to look at the data openly and honestly. They need to partner together to understand root causes.

Out of this partnership will come decision rules on how to interpret trends, modify campaign strategy, redeploy resources or test new ideas.

Helping the brand make informed marketing decisions is where MCM reporting provides real value.

True MCM reporting can provide timely guidance on a monthly and quarterly basis by not only reporting on what’s happened in the past, but also helping to make recommendations on changes to the marketing plan going forward.

It’s the only way in a world of such media diversity to effectively manage a disparate portfolio of marketing channels and tactics.

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