Performance marketing: Trust your gut or trust your data?


As a business owner, you make decisions every day, which can lead to decision-making fatigue. You may even find yourself making decisions based on feelings and intuition rather than using the intelligence of data to make informed decisions. This is common in areas of marketing, which can lead to reduced effectiveness of campaigns, and limits business growth overall.

The good(ish) news? You’re not alone. 

99% of businesses struggle with at least one of the following marketing problems:

Obsession with leads

Your solution to generate more leads is to pump more money into advertising. Whilst you might see an influx in leads, without careful consideration into the type of campaign to run, you’re more than likely to bring in the wrong type of leads, have a high cost per lead, and have a low chance of converting these leads.

Fluffy branding activities

Is your branding strategy assisting in reaching your overarching marketing and business goals? Or are you simply boasting about your business to anyone who will listen?

Conflict between sales and marketing

You probably hear it multiple times a week. Your sales team complains about the lack of leads or the quality of them, but your marketing team thinks the sales team can’t close the deals they are sending through.

Lack of clarity around ROI

Lack of reporting around return on investment (ROI) makes it difficult to know the true cost per sale, or attribute sales to marketing efforts.

Do these issues sound familiar? 

Our recommendation? Continue to trust your gut, but use data to confirm your decisions.

This is what the term data-driven refers to. Being a data-driven marketer helps to keep your sales pipeline flowing with qualified leads, ultimately driving your business performance.

Step 1: Determine your business goals
In order to know if your marketing strategy is helping you to achieve your business goals, you first need to determine what your business goals are. This will help to ensure your marketing efforts are contributing to your goals, and not simply because you feel you should or your competitors are.

Clearly define your short, medium, and long-term goals before jumping into marketing activities, and refer back to them whenever it’s time to make a decision. Otherwise, you risk wasting effort, money and opportunities.

Step 2: Determine your lead funnel
It’s often the case that the last touch point of a conversion is given all the glory. There are usually multiple channels used in a marketing campaign, and it’s rarely only one of them that has led to an opportunity.

Instead, lead attribution gives credit to all channels that have influenced the final conversion. This is important data to know, since it tells you which channels are working, and should therefore be used in future campaigns.

You’ll be surprised to find out the importance of having a range of channels in your marketing campaigns.

Step 3: Determine your marketing to sales journey mapping
The key to a successful marketing campaign is to understand the marketing to sales journey. What stages do your leads go through, from the very first contact all the way to conversion.

Make a list of all the channels and systems that the lead goes through, as they move from the top of the funnel (TOFU - the first stage of bringing opportunities to your website) through to the middle of the funnel (MOFU - increasing their engagement with your business) and finally the bottom of the funnel, i.e. the conversion. Then, determine the drop off rates at each stage, i.e. how many opportunities do you lose along the way? This helps to identify which areas of the funnel require attention in order to increase your conversion rate.

The key is to fully understand the journey, allocating real numbers from top to bottom, in order to minimise opportunities from slipping away from the funnel before they reach the conversion stage.

Step 4: Measurements of success
Using a CRM to connect all systems together can reduce the time it takes for marketing professionals to pull through all the data they need to have an accurate, complete picture of what success looks like. It eliminates the need to cross check spreadsheets, reports and more, which is often a tedious and time-consuming process.

Take the time to consider a range of CRMs to find the right one for your business. Not all CRMs are created equal, and many businesses end up with one that lacks integration functionality with their systems, resulting in messy data, and therefore minimal use across the business.

This is where knowing your business goals, and how a CRM can help you achieve the goals, is crucial.

From here, you can build a custom dashboard that consists of reports on what you determine to be important metrics for your business, that will present the information you need to make data-driven decisions that may confirm your gut feelings. Metrics include:

  • New contacts created from marketing campaigns
  • Page views per contact
  • Attribution to all channels that led to the final conversion
  • Call recording through third party software
  • Event registrations and attendance
  • Plus much more

You can find out more about how to track the ROI of your marketing spend here.

Data-driven decision making

Seeing tangible results from your marketing campaigns will make it easy for you to know the success of your marketing efforts, whilst helping to drive future strategy. It will be clear to see that marketing efforts are playing a part in driving real business performance.

Use your gut, but ultimately, let data be the decision maker when it comes to marketing activities.