We’re big advocates of setting SMART marketing goals at the beginning of the year.
If you happen to work with HubSpot, or a HubSpot agency, setting goals can be even more lucrative due to the platform’s extensive set of tools for setting and tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The tools let you set KPI benchmarks when your company first dreams up its marketing goals at the beginning of the year and measure their progress in real-time.
In this post, we’re exploring the critical importance of setting the right KPIs and what to do if your check-in reveals that your marketing program is, or isn’t, working.
- Tracking KPIs is the only real way to monitor your progress towards business goals.
- Marketers can perform a mid-year check on KPIs to ensure that all campaigns are working well.
- If you achieve your goals to easily, reflect hard on them.
- Constantly revisit your marketing tactics.
What KPI Data Can Tell You
Monitoring KPIs is vital because it’s the only real way to track progress toward your marketing goals. Ideally, you’ll have benchmarked your KPIs at the beginning of Q1 so you can monitor improvement and set some objective numbers that reflect appropriate progress towards your goals for each quarter. If you weren’t able to get an original measurement of your KPI before launching your marketing program, it’s not too late! This can be a chance for you to set new goals and to monitor the progress that your marketing efforts have made in the time between when you started implementing new tactics and now.
Six-month KPI data is useful because it reveals:
- What marketing tactics are working and not working
- What marketing tactics are generating the highest quality leads
- Correlations between tactics such as SEO and website traffic
- Which tactics didn’t get as much attention throughout the last few months
- Tactics that may have been affected by industry factors outside of your control
- The ROI of new tools and techniques you’ve invested in to reach your objectives
Depending on your focus for the next six months, what you look for and discuss as you check in on KPI data at the end of Q2 will vary, but we’ve determined the most important components of any mid-year marketing check-in, so that you don’t leave out any important observations.
Reflect on the Objectives You Set
Typically, reviewing marketing KPIs reveal a blend of successes and failures. Some goals will have been easier to meet than others, while unforeseen circumstances could have caused your company to move away from certain efforts or tactics you thought would be important at the start of the year. Even if your company hit all the numbers it aspired to, some goals had to be easier to meet than others.
If you not only met, but far surpassed all of the goals you set at the beginning of Q1, pause before you celebrate. Too easily reaching and surpassing goals means that they may not have been enough of a stretch in the first place. In order to really achieve growth and move forward, the goals you set need to present a formidable challenge. If you’re a Jim Collins fan, like me, you’re likely aware of BHAGs, otherwise known as “big hairy audacious goals” that are proven to motivate, unify and engage teams in ways that no highly attainable goal ever can.
So, as you set your goals for the next quarter and for the end of the year, take a lesson from the BHAG concept and set them beyond what feels like a reasonable reach. You’ll find that even if you don’t reach them, your company will rise to the challenge in unexpectedly beneficial ways.
Reset & Refocus
As we alluded to above, the events of the last six months may have influenced the way you think about the goals you’ve set and the tactics you’re using. It may be tempting to just reset your goals with higher KPI numbers and keep moving forward, but if you do that, you risk missing out on one of the important purposes of performing a six-month check-in to begin with: resetting and refocusing.
As you check in on your marketing KPIs, think about if the tactics you’re using are still taking your company to where it needs to go. Ask yourself…
- Do our tactics appeal to the right audiences and industries?
- Do our tactics bring in the right kind of qualified leads?
- Do our tactics support marketing and sales alignment?
- Do our tactics align with our brand’s strategy and personality?
New platforms and tools may have emerged that can help you change your approach and do more to build relationships with prospects and customers and support company-wide objectives.
Take Your KPI Data to the Next Level
Your KPI data not only lets you know how your marketing efforts are performing, but let’s you know if there are next steps you haven’t worked into your marketing plan but need to take to maximize results.
Here’s some guidance on how to take your KPI data to the next level:
- If visits and lead conversions from content offers are up, then it’s time to sharpen your email marketing to ensure those contacts are nurtured and converted to customers
- If blog post and webpage visits are up, but lead conversions don’t reflect the influx of traffic, then it’s time for more gated content to generate the form fills you need
- If your website visits are down, then it’s time to create and promote more content
A year of efforts towards driving up the same KPI can be squandered if you never take the next step, so the six-month mark is the perfect time to shift into high gear. For instance, if you set a goal to raise form fills and lead conversions in Q1, you won’t make the most of those leads if you don’t put effort towards the next step of expanding and improving upon your email marketing campaigns.
Think of your six-month check-in of your marketing KPIs as being as much about re-orienting your plans as it is about monitoring the progress you’ve made. You want to make changes to your plans and objectives so that the hard work you and your team have put in over the last six months doesn’t go to waste, and that involves using KPI data to direct your next moves. With the right objectives, there’s no marketing goal you can’t meet.