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​Feedback Loops: The Key to Successful Marketing Campaigns

Marketing has changed significantly since the beginning of the shift to the Age of the Customer and in turn the way we measure success and productivity needs to adjust as well. Gathering feedback on marketing ventures and campaigns is a necessary, albeit tricky endeavor; however, with the utilization of the proper tools, such feedback can hold the key to continued success or failure. 

Docurated, a MarTech company based out of New York City, conducted a survey of 1,241 sales and marketing executives and found that only 12% were actively measuring marketing productivity. Fundamentally, this suggests that a good majority are missing opportunities to calibrate and properly adjust their marketing plans leading to a higher probability of continuous campaigns based on flawed premises or outlines. By applying a feedback loop to monitor such campaigns, statistics can be tracked and recorded to help fine tune campaigns to yield more favorable results.

What is a Feedback Loop?

Sometimes called a “failure feedback loop,” feedback loops measure and analyze a company’s marketing results to pinpoint key trends and figures. Essentially, it is a constantly functioning tool that allows a deeper look into the true effectiveness of marketing plays. This feedback can and should be based on both positive and negative results. Naturally, it’s always important to see what is working and what was successful, but it is also vital to review what didn’t work. Diagnosing what went wrong can help prevent a continuation of such errors, thus affording opportunities to turn failures into successes.

Determining Success with Metrics

With today’s advanced digital analytics, measuring feedback and overall productivity is easier than ever; however, the correlation between a marketing play and an uptick in sales is not always indicative of the effectiveness of that particular play. Although we now have the capability to access the largest array of statistics available for feedback, the proper interpretation of these numbers is crucial to correctly increase the quality of future campaigns.

According to Forbes, “Every contributor should know, and every staffer should know, how am I doing? I publish a post, how's it doing? Where's the traffic coming from? Do people care? Are they interested? How does it compare with the other posts that I've done? So we really strongly believe that data is a feedback loop that helps power what we do… The feedback loop had become so important to the people who were complaining about it, that they didn't want to publish unless they knew how they were doing.”

Before an analysis of the results of a campaign, post, or page can be implemented, an understanding of which particular metrics procured for feedback must be determined. There are many different options available for evaluation, from basic metrics such as impressions, engagements, and email opens to specific click-through rates (CTR). Such data can be extremely useful for determining what components drive traffic and which content works the best.

Setting Up a Reasonable Timeframe

Many businesses enact the fallacy of improbable expectation. They hire a new marketing company to help boost sales and after a short period without significant improvement, they opt out having felt ripped off. Sustainable results take time to build and hardly ever occur overnight. Despite a desire to grow immediately, many businesses do not often allot enough time for marketing campaigns to develop.

Once a campaign is abruptly halted, the marketing cycle defaults back to square one. Worse still, metrics can be heavily skewed within a small sample of time. Patience will result in a better understanding of metrics and the setup of an adequate timeframe will allow for the metrics to come full circle and actually mean something. This may take a few months and, sometimes, even longer.

Presenting Results

Once data and metrics have been determined within a reasonable timeframe, it’s time to sort and present the results in preparation for analysis. Results often come out looking like a cluster of numbers, resembling an incomprehensible cipher that can seemingly only be evaluated by a cryptanalyst. This can be a daunting challenge at first glance. Luckily, services such as Google Analytics can decrypt and organize such results, making them available in easy to read graphs and charts.

Google Data Studio, for instance, provides easy-to-build, visually appealing data reports and dashboards. Search Engine Land recently reviewed the service, describing it as a useful tool that “…gives you everything you need to turn your client’s analytics data into informational, easy-to-understand reports through data visualization. The reports are easy to read, easy to share and even customizable to each of your clients. You can select how you want to present the data — bar graphs, charts, line graphs, and so on. You can even change fonts and colors and brand the reports with your logo.”

Analysis, Perspective, and Recommendations

To best analyze results, the first step is to put them in perspective. What factors could have incited such performance? What could have been done better? Did something heavily influence the results? Putting results in perspective offers a powerful vantage point to different possibilities and outcomes. Looking at data from different angles can help a business interpret the effects and components of a campaign as a whole, shedding light to various paths that can possibly produce better results.

For example, if a business has embarked upon an email campaign that resulted in many opens but with a low CTR, what may have caused the disparity? A conclusion can be drawn that although the email was very successful in reaching the targets, the content within may not have been very compelling and is in need of adjustment for the next attempt.

On the other hand, many businesses, upon viewing the data, commit the fallacy of quick and rash decisions based on their impression of the feedback loop without seeking other opinions, thoughts, or options. Though this may sometimes work out, the smarter move would be to ask others for recommendations. Making a group oriented decision will almost always result in better, well-rounded choices as it involves multiple viewpoints and perspectives.

Success Looks Like Failure a Second Before It Happens

Few things in life sting worse than failure but with the appropriate application of a feedback loop, defeats can help direct towards the proper gateways for success – also known as “failing forward.” Some of the greatest achievements in history have risen from the metaphorical ashes. Success is exponential – one second you may see failure, but in another second you can go viral and rocket skywards.

Looping Around

The feedback loop evaluation is a process that never ends. Once adjustments are made to any campaign, an analysis of the next go-around is essential towards building a stronger marketing push. A constant, vigilant reassessment serves as a prime differentiator that allows a business to continue making calculated, strategic strides.

Here at Netsville, we implement the feedback loop for everything we do, thus ensuring marketing accountability. We are always looking for ways to improve with each step, enabling us to stay on the cutting edge and maintain relevancy in today’s Age of the Customer.

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