Marketing’s Most Accessible and Undervalued Tool

In many ways, marketing is evolving from an art into a measurable science. Once reliant on abstract concepts like branding, marketing success can now be gauged with advanced reporting tools and measured by various metrics.

But when does a reliance on numbers go too far? In his presentation at last year’s Pardot User Conference, Scott Voigt talked about the value of a marketer’s most basic (and often undervalued) tool: gut instinct. Voigt suggested setting a variable amount of time (a week, a month, a quarter) and then manually auditing all of the the opportunities or closed deals that were acquired over that time period. Marketing automation tracks all of the interactions that a given prospect has with your brand, and by reviewing this information, the marketer can begin to get a gut sense of who the prospect is — something that a report can’t provide. Here are a couple of reasons why looking past the numbers and employing your gut instinct can be an invaluable tool.

Numbers only go so far.  Don’t be mistaken, the ability to pull a report and walk into your boss’ office with some hard numbers has countless benefits. When approaching upper management, where the first priority is keeping a business afloat in a struggling economy, how much revenue your marketing campaigns have generated in a given period of time is a good metric to have on hand — particularly when lobbying for a marketing budget increase. But as a marketer, if you’re only focusing on the numbers, you may not be getting the whole picture. By physically looking through all interactions in a few selected cases, you can recognize patterns (in wording or phrasing, for example) that wouldn’t be picked up in a report.

Build personas.  Remember that you’re marketing to people, and therefore one of your greatest tools is your own human intuition. By reading through a sampling of opportunities and taking note of all of their interactions with your brand, you can begin to get a sense of who the people are behind the numbers and build out personas for the different sects of your target audience. Gaining a better understanding of who you are talking to and shaping your content around your audience is a marketing tactic that will never become outdated.

One last point: don’t forget to perform the same audit on a few lost deals as well, particularly if you lost them to a competitor. It’s important to get a sense of who these people are too, so that you can gain a better understanding of why they decided not to go with your company and how you can better reach them and others like them.

What do you think about this method of determining campaign effectiveness? We’d love to hear your thoughts in our comment section.