When You Measure- More Important Than What You Measure?

September 27th, 2012 by Anthony Schneider

When and how you measure email marketing is more important (well, certainly  just as important) as what you measure.

If you’re not measuring on a timely basis, chances are you’re missing out on important metrics — and the ability to take action to impact engagement and improve results.

When and How You Measure Email ResultsRecently we discussed what email metrics matter. Once you know what metrics will determine email marketing success, it’s vital to plan a good (and constant) measurement process. A lot of marketers run into problems not because they don’t have any measurement tools, but because they cannot measure fast enough or often enough,  or they can’t figure out actionable items based on the data.

Here are six steps to help you measure more frequently, faster, better:

1. Get the data
What are the critical data elements and how do you get them in a concise, timely manner? Your email metrics should be part of your overall metrics, tied to the bottom line results or goals.

2. Understand the data
Make sure you have a wholistic view of customer and campaign.  Standardize measurement so that you are comparing apples to apples. If you’re measuring conversions, be very clear on what constitutes a conversion. And if you’re only measuring open rates or how many subscribers in your database, then you need to look at metrics that are more consequential to the bottom line.

3. Make the data actionable
Consolidate data sources, start building models and segmenting so that your metrics are fast, easy and transparent. Data should be quick – getting it, reviewing it, and taking action on it.

4. Figure out yardsticks
Establish your benchmarks and comparables, and develop your success metrics. Once the data starts streaming in, it should be easy to interpret and make actionable analyses.

5. Use the data, or lose the data
Figure out the costs (of conversion, unsubscribe, etc.) and figure out ROI.
Part of good measurement is figuring out what data you need, what are the vital metrics.
Use data to improve performance. Use today’s data to do stuff tomorrow.

6. Rinse and repeat
Measure, analyze, get it better next time. Apply the discipline of measuring. Look at results, use the results to improve your email and online marketing efforts. If you’re missing key indicators, figure out how to measure better next time.


Getting these six steps right is one of the tougher challenges for marketers. Ready, set, measure.

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