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How to evaluate performance of my digital marketing team ?

First of all, I would like to thank you for your queries and insights on my previous write ups. It’s always a pleasure to interact with you all and learn more about your business challenges. I am happy that you find my articles helpful; it really motivates me to keep writing.

We discussed about 10 things to keep in mind before choosing your digital marketing company in my last article. One of the things people have been asking me regularly is, even if I hire a digital marketing company, and I start working with them, How would I judge their performance?

In this article I am going to highlight those important metrics across which you may judge the performance of your digital marketing company: current or future ones. Companies with focus on these factors have really given great outcomes for their clients across geographies and industries.

Time is of essence: the promise and the efforts

Every social media channel has a gestation period of its own. While some of them start to give        desirable outcomes within a short period of time, Others would give outcomes over a longer period of time. We should set the expectations right for whatever channel your digital marketing agency has started to work on. With the right expectations,one could get a grasp of the efforts that would be made by the digital marketing agency. While the promises and the efforts both depend on the scale at which the tasks are performed for the chosen channels which are further dependent on the money invested; there are qualitative and quantitative aspects that need to be kept in mind while evaluating the quality of work of your team.

The urgency and the agility factor

Your digital marketing team should always keep an eye on situational and seasonal cues in the  market to come up with marketing plans which remain meaningful to their targeted customers. Relatability is very important in the market and for that factor , the team needs to work with a sense of urgency and agility. While activities need to be timed precisely in line with these cues, one needs to be consistent in digital marketing for whatever channel they have chosen; of course nothing could outclass quality of work, but the above mentioned factors should always be a part of your marketing plan.

The game of qualitative and quantitative KPIs: the gaps, the strategies and the expected outcomes

For every marketing channel, we should focus on setting the business targets for the short term as  well as the long term. While business targets are very well defined; associated business KPIs and analytical KPIs both qualitative and quantitative need to be settled first. Every marketing channel has its own qualitative and quantitative KPIs, you must know them first. Any business should do an immediate situational analysis and understand how they are faring on these KPIs. It’s important to do a comparative analysis against your near competitors to understand the KPIs on which you are faring well and on which you need to scale up. Your digital marketing team should share a plan in line with your current KPI outcomes and you should be able to monitor your progress against these KPIs by yourself. A good digital marketing company would definitely share audit reports with you once a month , so that they may demonstrate both the activities and the outcomes they have achieved for you.

The build up of the right digital currency; from impressions to business

For a business, it is imperative to understand the sales funnel; the journey of a consumer from awareness to buy to rebuy. When you start representing your business through a digital channel, your customers start knowing you over a period of time. It is imperative to build up a brand before starting the process of selling.When your digital marketing company starts the initial reach out in the market, they need to focus on building important digital currency and digital assets in the online space. Many digital agencies would construct a “sales funnel strategy” which would help your customers to move from awareness to intention to buy. While every customer would not be at the same stage, it is advisable to devise a strategy such that each and every stage of the sales funnel is getting captured.

The holistic outcomes of marketing: A multi channel approach

While every channel of the digital market has its own demographics and potential, one needs to understand the synergy of marketing as observed across multiple channels. While multiple tools on the same social media channel shows significant synergistic associations, cross channel synergies are also observed. As a business entity, you need to focus on both active and passive buyers and that makes it very important that your digital marketing company suggest a holistic strategy to capture both the markets. There are proven case examples of leveraging the value of social signals for better SEO performance. While we say that, even google ads have added massive authority to the SEO of any website. A multi-channel multi tool approach not only helps in getting better outcomes for the entity but also ensures a massive outreach to current and future customer base by targeting different utilities as provided by different social media channels.

The source, the medium and the campaigns: Active against Passive

Now, we are getting into the business end of discussing digital marketing value. While the above may look intimidating and confusing at the same time; these are easy and fundamental concepts to understand for a business owner. Source identifies the social media channel through which you are getting the traffic or the expected conversion. The medium could be paid, organic or referral depending upon the tools , the digital marketing company would be using. The most important aspect is the “campaign”, the communication which is driving the business forward. The fight is to get the best mix of source, medium and campaign to give you the optimum marketing value. You need to get a hang of this and your digital marketing company should be able to support you with all the required information as and when needed.

Google has the biggest support system for evaluating digital value

As business value gets captured around your digital footprints, the biggest footprint would always be your website. Google has been rather magnamious in offering a suite of services for free which helps you understand your digital marketing performance both in a nutshell and in an elaborate manner. If one has to demystify the value through analytics around digital marketing; they just need to answer two most important questions. First of these would be, how are my clients searching for me and second would be, once located, how are they engaging with me and through what source, medium and campaign. The first question gets answered by the google search console, which we also call the google webmaster. They not only answer our first query but also let us know multiple areas of improvement which we may do to perform better on both search and other social media platforms. The second question gets elaborately answered by the google analytics tool. It is one of the most elaborate tools, which, once mastered, may help you scale your digital presence in a massive manner. A very good understanding of how to use these tools and what information to look into; is imperative to evaluate the performance of your digital marketing exercise.

The tools you must know about

While Google has blessed you with multiple tools to make your journey of digital marketing very smooth, other companies have also done their bit to really help you scale your business, keeping the competitor in mind. While these google tools help you understand more about your digital presence, these tools from other companies have made it easier to learn more about the digital strategies of your competitor. These tools not only help you understand the business focus of your competitor but also support you with insights with the activities and the strategies that have worked wonders for them. As I have mentioned in my earlier blogs, it’s important to understand your near digital competitors, before going for these tools. These are keyword research tools, backlinks analysis tools , content gap analysis tools, ads analysis tools , authority analysis tools and many more. All these tools not only help you spot the working areas but also help you with insights for the way forward. Ofcourse, most of these tools have freemium and premium features but they are really worth the money. A business entity should maintain that your digital marketing company is using these tools for their competitive work and also share these insights as and when asked for your website and competitors analysis.

Outcomes do vary for organic and inorganic routes: The ROI ( Return on Investment) Panel

When we start doing digital for our business, we need to keep in mind exactly what is our cost of goods or service sold and how much we could expense in our marketing/digital marketing to achieve a desirable profitability. Once this understanding is achieved, it helps us put a ceiling on our marketing expenses. While these marketing expenses would be pretty steep with inorganic channels, the outcomes would be immediate and may help in harnessing the extra fuel for the future business generation. In the case of an organic route, the fuel would be utilized to create digital assets; which generally start giving outcomes over a gestation period as mentioned above. These digital assets give us an ever improving return on our investment over a period of time once it achieves the tipping point. It is always smart to set a smart ROI panel keeping both organic and inorganic channels in use. This ROI panel would be the benchmark against which all your marketing strategies should be evaluated. It is very important to get a clear understanding of the ROI Panel from your digital marketing company and keep monitoring them over a period of time.

The unit economies of scale and scope in digital marketing

As we have mentioned above, both synergies in social media channels and ROI panels play an important role to decide the digital marketing mix for your business. While some channels do provide advantage from the perspective of unit economies of scale and scope, over a period of time, they stop giving returns at the same rate, with increasing investment of time and money. It’s a sort of digital fatigue which is observed with some of the channels in digital marketing. Trying a new channel may open a new door altogether but it would also come up with an added cost of learning , which the business would definitely incur , once they start with a new channel. While finding channels and tools with synergies may always help you get the optimum outcomes, you need to have a long term vision with the channel to make it work for you. The best thing to do in this scenario would be to make your ROI panel a bit elaborate where it could also capture the future value of the analytics and business KPIs. Every impression and engagement; every recall and recognition, also has a direct or an indirect effect on the business outcomes connected with your digital marketing effort. We should always keep this factor in mind.

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