5 Tips on Using Analytics to Optimize Your Partner Marketing Strategy
Having access to performance metrics and making decisions based on analytics can seem daunting for many Brands that run marketing campaigns through large networks of independent Partners. This is because most of the critical data on the success or failure of campaigns is dispersed across hundreds of local vendors. Without real metrics to analyze, Brands turn to other indicators as a proxy. In fact, according to SproutLoud’s 2017 Channel Marketing Retrospective:
- 67% of Brands say they use historical adoption as the primary source to guide their investment in local marketing
- 27% of Brands say they use surveys as the primary source
- Only 6% of Brands say they use performance metrics as the primary source guiding their local marketing investments
With a robust and comprehensive Channel Marketing Automation platform, using analytics doesn’t have to be difficult. The key lies in being well prepared in advance. Before ever pulling a report or perusing metrics, it’s important to ensure the data you’ll be looking at is structured to deliver relevant and timely insight. Here are 5 essential tips on how to use analytics to help your Brand drive better Partner Marketing results:
Tip No. 1: Move your local marketing execution into a measurable environment.
Brands are investing millions of dollars in Co-Op or MDF campaigns. But unfortunately, most of that investment is not measurable because it is spent by Local Partners with Local Marketing Vendors. Pulling intelligence out of hundreds or thousands of Local Marketing Vendors is frankly impossible.
The future of Partner Marketing is moving all that local execution into a secure and measurable environment. This means using a Though-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) platform that creates an ecosystem of campaigns pre-integrated with world-class vendors for local execution. Funding used in this environment eliminates fraud and misuse, but more importantly, it makes it possible to measure the performance of every campaign launched.
The transition to this innovative model is surprisingly simple. The Brand adopts a SaaS TCMA Platform and then works with the provider to customize the experience for their Partners. When all local execution is handled by vendors integrated into a TCMA platform, every campaign can be tracked and measured. This gives Brand marketers the ability to really see what is happening with the Co-Op Advertising budgets they invest.
Tip No. 2: Get more out of your data by investing time in attribution.
Tagging is essential when you’re making local marketing assets and campaigns available to your Partner network. It’s important not only to attribute tags to local marketing assets, but to also tag the components that compose an asset — such as themes, headlines and descriptions. This creates layers of detail within an analytics report. Beyond determining whether a particular marketing piece or campaign is successful or not, tagging can also show whether a specific theme, or message, or offer actually resonates with the target audience in a given market.
Tip No. 3: To understand how tactics are performing in market, use a tracking mechanism.
If you want to quantify the success of a marketing tactic, you need to choose the right tracking mechanism.
For paid digital media, such as websites or pay-per-click (PPC) ads, metrics such as impressions, click-through-rates and time on page are typically embedded into the process to help evaluate success. For industries that inherently invite potential customers to call in to set appointments, request quotes or ask for more information, then call tracking numbers are essential. With a leading Channel Marketing Automation platform, Brands can tap into advanced technology that allows tracking mechanisms to follow a consumer throughout their online session, so the analytics will show which ad or message triggered a given response.
Tip No. 4: Know the in-market and out-of-market dates for every local marketing campaign and tactic you’re tracking.
In-market and out-of-market dates may be dictated by the type of tactic deployed or by the length of time an offer is valid. The lifecycle of any given marketing piece may vary. Understanding that a Media Buy may be relevant to its target audience for a different length of time than perhaps a Direct Mail piece is important.
For Media Buys (radio, TV, newspaper and outdoor ads), in-market dates are typically very clear: You only need to refer to the run dates, when a given ad begins and ends its run. However, with a Direct Mail piece, shelf life can vary dramatically depending on the type of industry and the offer. For instance, in the cruise industry, consumers can refer to Direct Mail piece offers for several months, whereas in the medical device industry such as hearing aids, shelf life can be as low as a week to a month depending on the offer or the event. The average shelf life for a Direct Mail piece, as reported over the years, hovers around four weeks.
Tip No. 5: Timing is critical when pulling analytics reports.
When you’re pulling reports, knowing when to look at data is as important as knowing what to look for.
So, if you pull a report on a Direct Mail piece only one week after its initial distribution in a particular zip code or by a specific Partner or within a given region, then — depending on your industry — you may want to consider it a preliminary report if the data is likely to change significantly from Week 1 to Week 4. And if you were asked to pull another report on that same Direct Mail piece after, let’s say, six or eight weeks, then that would be a waste of time and resources for industries where the data is not likely to change significantly after Week 4.
Once you’ve invested time in attribution, deployed the right tracking mechanism, understand the in-market dates and pull the reports at the optimal time, then you’re poised to use your data strategically. Understanding the difference between the industry average acquisition cost per sale and what your data reveals to be the actual acquisition cost per sale is one factor in determining how well a tactic or campaign performed in market. Once you’ve identified the most relevant factors for a campaign’s success, the analytics will reveal what’s working and what’s not. Measuring the performance of tactics, campaigns and Partners can help you determine what recommendations to make to your Partner network. And those recommendations may vary by geographic region, Partner tier or campaign. Whatever the data reveals, the point is to replicate successes and quickly course correct when goals aren’t being achieved.
This level of in-depth insight allows Brands to help their Partner networks invest only in what works — to drive more traffic, leads and sales.
Kristen Krissel is a Senior Manager in Client Services at SproutLoud. She began her career at SproutLoud more than six years ago, first serving Channel Marketing Partners who use SproutLoud’s SaaS Platform to execute Local Marketing initiatives. As a senior manager, Kristen manages relationships with Brand clients for all things from launch to on-going platform enhancements. Kristen earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida.