The Gist

  • Multichannel struggles. Marketing leaders face difficulties identifying common metrics and methods for measuring multichannel marketing effectiveness.
  • Sweet spot discovered. Using three-to-four metric types helps marketing organizations exceed performance objectives and outperform competitors.
  • Simplified approach. To reframe multichannel marketing performance measurement, marketers must simplify their approach, limit metric types, and build consensus gradually.

Multichannel marketing’s rapid evolution has proved to be both a source of excitement and headache for marketing leaders.

Excitement because it has provided new opportunities to reach and engage customers, through a greater number of channels and newer content formats. Headache because measuring the impact of these — whether in terms of the user experience and the commercial returns or ROI — is tough and getting tougher.

Related Article: 4 Ways Brands Go Wrong With Digital Marketing Metrics

Identifying the Sweet Spot for Multichannel Marketing Success

Marketing leaders responsible for tracking emerging channels and evolving customer behaviors must also sort out what the most relevant metric types are, how many metrics should be used and how to illustrate the thread between all multichannel marketing activities and business performance.

My colleague Alex de Fursac Gash and I learned through Gartner’s 2023 Multichannel Marketing survey that 80% of all marketing leaders say they struggle to identify a common set of metrics and methods to measure and attribute multichannel marketing’s effectiveness. Difficulty managing internal consensus and aligning key performance indicators (KPIs) with business outcomes were two reasons cited for this struggle.

The same survey data also found that less is more when it comes to metric types that measure multichannel marketing impact; there is a “sweet spot” to the number of metric types used to measure and understand multichannel marketing’s impact.

The question then becomes, “How do digital marketers find that sweet spot?”

Related Article: The State of Digital Customer Experience: Where We're Headed

The Goldilocks Approach — the 'Just Right' Amount of Marketing Metrics?

The marketing organizations that use three-to-four metric types are able to exceed their marketing performance objectives. In fact, companies that use three-to four-metric types are 49% more likely to exceed their marketing performance targets than those using one-to-two types, and 24% more likely than those using more than five.

Compare this with their peers who use too many metrics — they are unable to optimize their multichannel marketing programs and are left spread thin. Same goes for brands using too few metrics because they are not able to provide the full value to customers and can miss key opportunities.

Learning Opportunities

Research suggests that metric types used should include a combination of transactional, engagement and perceptual metrics. This reality has two core implications:

  1. Limiting the number of metric types used — and thus, the number of overall individual KPIs — helps marketing’s holistic understanding and assessment of what multichannel marketing can do to meet customer needs and ultimately satisfy business outcomes.
  2. The fewer but relevant metric types also helps teams better communicate marketing’s impact internally — especially with stakeholders seated outside of marketing.

With these key takeaways in mind, marketers should take the following steps to make the necessary shift:

Simplify the Multichannel Marketing Approach

Marketers must clarify and identify the most relevant multichannel key performance indicators KPIs that clearly connect to business outcomes. Applying a return on objectives approach to performance measurement is a quick but effective method of identifying metrics that clearly connect to broader business goals.

Limit the Mix of Marketing Metric Types

Use of metric types should strictly be limited to a maximum of four so that marketing teams can take action from the data. Although transactional metrics are necessary to demonstrate performance, other metrics types are needed to provide a more holistic view of marketing’s impact.

Build Your Multichannel Marketing Incrementally

Plan to build consensus on metrics gradually, starting with other functions directly involved in multichannel marketing and moving quickly to include finance for the attribution to revenue. Use a “think big, start small and learn fast” approach by engaging only one or two additional groups at each step, and adjusting your approach to engagement and communication throughout the process. Consensus-building takes time, collaboration and socialization.

Marketing leaders who follow these key steps will be well on their way to reframing multichannel marketing performance measurement and illustrating true return on investment.

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