Patrick King has published a worthy blog posting, where he outlines the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you can measure to determine if your architectural, engineering and construction marketing is on track.
This list is exhaustive — and if you try to measure all of these things — might be exhausting. There is a challenge in determining the right KPI — it may not be the obvious, and in fact, for a competitive advantage, it could be something quite unique to your business. Nevertheless, here is his list, which I’ll follow with a few observations:
Top of Funnel: These are the numbers on the outskirts of brand awareness, and typically where you start to find first-time prospects.
- Unique site visitors (including geographic location and time/length of visit)
- Opt-ins to your newsletter, social media accounts (likes, follows, etc).
- Most popular pages/posts/news items, and their traffic source.
Middle of Funnel: Following a site visit or initial engagement, you get to see who is more interested, and what content is attracting them.
- Downloaded content (white papers, checklists, recorded webinars).
- Scheduling a free trial/consultation.
- Social media shares (which are far more important than likes).
Bottom of Funnel: When they’re ready to make a purchasing decision, there’s a series of behavior leads tend to follow that’s just as trackable as the rest.
- Conversion rate (number of legitimate contacts out of total traffic).
- Revenue per customer (a key item of any marketing meeting’s agenda).
- Cost per lead (total spend divided by total revenue).
Ongoing KPIs: While not necessarily part of your sales funnel, there are some numbers that you should always have on hand for those C-level meetings.
- Search engine ranking (you should have a list of keywords you’re ranking for).
- Social networking presence (followers/fans, percentage of engagement).
- Position in relation to sales quotas.
- Market share (how big is your piece of the pie in your service area?).
That’s quite a handful, eh.
Ultimately, I think the “Bottom of Funnel” KPIs are always the most important. In the end, if all of your marketing doesn’t convert to profitable and sustainable sales — at a reasonable cost — you are wasting your time.
The challenge, of course, within the AEC community, is that the sales cycle can be relatively long and multi-staged. And that means associating your end results with initial marketing activity KPIs (top of the funnel) may prove to be challenging and difficult to differentiate.
As an example, you have an ongoing relationship with a company and your vice-president speaks at a conference where both a client company representative and the prospective new client attend. After your presentation, the potential client, armed with solid word-of-mouth references and impressed with your vice-president’s technical knowledge, writes an internal memo suggesting you be considered for an upcoming RFP. Then an administrator in the marketing department visits your site and downloads your white papers and documentation, before, “out of the blue” you receive a call inviting your RFP submittal.
So, which part of your marketing “worked”? Maybe everything!
Still, the importance of KPIs should not be underestimated. If you cannot measure it, you should question whether you should do it.
I put these attitudes to the test recently when, working with a non-profit, we reviewed its decision to operate a small AdWords campaign to draw site traffic. “What are the numbers,” I asked. Then I learned for technical reasons — the site isn’t under the organization’s direct control — the non-profit could not really track the site traffic. I suggested the campaign be put on hold until that core information, at least, is available.
Competent marketing agency such as King’s Imagine will provide you with guidance and metrics systems so you can truly determine your marketing effectiveness. If they decline, run for the hills, or at least for another agency. However, in the end you need to set the KPIs that work best for your business.