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The Measurable Marketing Manifesto

When it comes to Internet Marketing, far too many marketers talk the talk but don't really walk the walk. The sad truth is the lion's share of many Internet Marketing campaigns go unmeasured.

The magic of Internet Marketing comes in knowing where your audience came from and where they're going. Understand people's intentions and set up a dialog that addresses those intentions directly. It is critical for any self-respecting marketer to stay on top of the Web Metrics and Analytics field in order to know what's really going on.

In order to do so, let me suggest you subscribe to my Web Digest For Marketers email newsletter since we cover this critical aspect of Internet Marketing with regularity. Other aspects of Internet Marketing we cover are (SEO) Search Engine Optimization, Advanced Email Marketing, (CRM) Customer Relationship Management, (PPC) Pay-Per-Click, RSS and Blog Marketing, et al.

Here now is my Measurable Marketing Manifesto.

Time was when traditional marketers pooh-poohed Internet marketing by saying it wouldn't be ready for prime time until full-motion video reached critical mass online. They figured full-motion video was needed to blast TV commercials down the throats of onliners. It didn't turn out that way.

Then traditional marketers pointed to the dot com crash and said that was the end of that, but it wasn't, of course. Internet marketing came back with a vengeance. Now it's taking big bites out of traditional media budgets.

Nothing is forever in media, not chemical-based photography, not newspaper classifieds, not anything. Media is an arm of high tech, and high tech changes. Some high tech changes overnight, while some—like groove recordings and radio—may take 60 or 100 years.

In the early days of Internet marketing, it was mostly high tech firms that included it in the marketing mix, because there was a built in affinity between the product or service being sold and the medium through which it was being marketed. But now large firms like Chrysler put more dollars and attention online. As well they should, given how many people research cars online. You might as well meet your customers where they live.

Below are my Top 10 Rules that make up this Measurable Marketing Manifesto. Enjoy.

Rule #1 - Get a Dashboard
The money you spend on your online media flights needs as good a control panel as you can afford. The more variables you can measure, the more you'll learn about your audience. Start simple if you have to, but always push the envelope and upgrade your understanding and the extent of your tracking. This is why you must always keep at least one eye on the field of Web metrics and analytics.

Rule #2 - Don't Overdo Rule #1
This is called "Analysis Paralysis", and you'll never get anything done. In other words, don't put too many wings on the plane or it will never get off the ground.

Rule #3 - Step Up
If you're a direct marketer, get your head out of the sand and stop dwelling on increased postal rates and decreasing response rates. Internet marketing is primarily based on direct marketing and more direct marketers could own leadership roles if they embraced it more thoroughly (some have). Forrester's Eric Schmidt sees direct mail as becoming a premium medium for those firms who can afford it.

Rule #4 - Don't Give It Away
If you're a traditional media outlet, think online sales lead campaigns. This means your sales people can't just give it away as a value-add for buying print ad space. The online campaign has to be conceived, written, packaged and—above all—it has to get results that cause the advertiser to return. It's hard work, but a definite competitive edge if you can do it. Profitably publishing Web Digest For Marketers as an ad-supported email newsletter for many years shows me what works and what doesn't, every time the newsletter goes out. How to successfully sell online ads and formulate targeted content is part of who I am, and I do consult in this capacity. If you need help on a consulting basis, email me at http://www.wdfm.com/contactlarry.htm

Rule #5 - Look for Unintended Consequences
Typically your online marketing efforts are calculated to achieve a particular outcome. For example, you're looking for a percentage of clickthroughs. If you're running a PPC campaign and you're paying top dollar for category keywords, you'll probably pay a lot to reach your clickthrough target. But if you perform a little side test whereby you buy less expensive keyword phrases you may well find far less traffic but a far greater percentage of conversions. Those conversions may well cost you substantially less than the more expensive keyword buys. The key is to follow each campaign through all the way to the back end, which many people miss because they're so fixated on the top line clickthrough.

Rule #6 - Brand Focus
Branding helps response rates. I see it and other publishers tell me of it as well. People are more likely to respond to an offer from a known commodity/company.

Rule #7 - Stats are People, Too
Each person is wired to seek out what's best for him or her. This programming goes right down to the cellular level. We have no choice in the matter. Web metrics & analytics is an online mirror of people operating in their own best interests. If your site stats are puzzling you, try to live in the shoes of your target audience. Coming at it from their perspective may help you understand what the raw numbers aren't saying.

Rule #8 - Work It
Web analytics is your competitive edge. More people know about it this year than last, and more than did the year before that, etc. But experience doesn't happen overnight. The greater the experience curve you have over your competition, the sharper that competitive edge is. This is why it's in your enlightened self-interest to push yourself in this area.

Rule #9 - Get Help
Since knowing more about Web metrics & analytics is a distinct competitive edge, it makes sense to put your learning curve on fast-forward to get that jump on your rivals. If you're a mide-sized to large firm needing that fast-forward learning curve, let me know and I'll refer the right person to you.

Rule #10 - Think Fast
Things change quickly in this field. Like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Marketing, Web Metrics & Analytics is a quickly evolving discipline. This is not like old-world marketing, where once you figured out how to make a good TV commercial or print ad you had your skill set for decades. No. The technology is getting more sophisticated all the time. Visualization tools are getting snazzier and make things easier to use. More exacting statistics for Search marketing campaigns are recent improvements. Make it your business to stay abreast of developments in this exciting field. I suggest you bookmark my Web Metrics & Analytics Resource Center at my Search Engine For Marketers.