Finding, analyzing, and using the right metrics effectively is crucial to a successful content marketing strategy.

Accountability and showing a solid return on investment is everything when it comes to ensuring that your business is allocating adequate resources to marketing. And let’s face it, too many executives think that marketing is, at best, about supporting sales or, at worst, a department that exists to paste logos onto coffee mugs.

Writing for Marketo, Content Marketing Specialist Bryson Runser points out that as an “informed marketer, it’s your duty to infuse credibility into your organization by way of meaningful metrics that tie directly to your top and bottom line.” While the C-suite famously cares nothing about internal marketing metrics like Facebook likes or click-through rate, metrics are crucial to the success of marketing the supply chain. Not only that, effective use of metrics is the best way to establish the function and importance of the marketing department within your organization.

Effective use of metrics is the best way to establish the function and importance of the marketing department within your organization. Click To Tweet

Numbers don’t lie

One of the main aspects of the “crisis of accountability” is a problematic view of what marketing is: “if marketing leaders insist that marketing is an art and not a science,” Runser writes,” then the department will remain isolated from other groups.” Establishing that content marketing is not only dependent upon data, but can also be measured, is key to changing that perception.

“Marketing must be able to justify their expenditures as investments in revenue and growth,” writes Runser. Of course, it’s partly a chicken-and-egg issue, since getting to the point of being able to talk about expenditures in this way does require investment from the top of your business.

We know that measuring the impact of content marketing can be tricky. But it’s not impossible. The first step is determining the right metrics to track. For more detailed ideas and analysis, check out this post, which details how to determine and use metrics to measure the impact of content marketing on brand awareness.

Why are you reporting?

Collecting and reporting on marketing ROI can feel like you’re spinning your wheels and collecting meaningless data. But it’s crucial to keep metrics focused on the main goal: to enable you and your business to make decisions that improve your marketing efforts. “This is the difference between backward-looking measurement and decision-focused management,” says Runser.

Data for the sake of data doesn’t do any good. Data should be used to shape insights, which in turn informs priorities and actions for your business. We’ve written before about the danger of vanity metrics, which have no bearing on your bottom line but can give you an inflated sense of success.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of meaningless data collection, especially when marketers are often struggling to prove their worthiness to the C-suite. But using metrics to improve marketing’s performance will go a long way towards winning over executives. “[B]y aligning data measurements with your company’s strategic objectives,” Runser writes, “it will be easier to allocate resources by revenue impact.”

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