5 Steps to Marketing Analytics for Education Companies
Companies frequently skip a critical step in marketing planning: measurement. Evaluating how your marketing is performing is vital to understanding what you're getting out of marketing investments. This practice is called marketing analytics.
What is Marketing Analytics?
Marketing analytics is the discipline of using data to measure the performance and effectiveness of marketing efforts. Data may include information collected from customer surveys, the website, advertising, your CRM, and more.
Marketing analytics for education companies is often overlooked because it can be overwhelming to figure out what data needs to be collected, how to collect it, and what it means.
Let's break down the process for using marketing analytics, so data isn't holding you back from understanding how you're marketing is doing.
Steps to Marketing Analytics for Education Companies
Step 1: Determine your measurement goals.
There are countless data points to collect and measure in marketing, from leads to email open rates to advertising click-through rates. Instead of looking at every piece of data, take a step back and determine your goals first. Review your marketing plan and strategies. How will you know that they were successful? What information would help you understand what is happening with your marketing?
For most companies, the primary measure of success is seeing an increase in revenue, so measurement goals will relate to revenue generation. In addition, many education companies want to understand which marketing activities contribute to revenue increases.
After you come up with your measurement goals, the next step is to identify what data will show you how you are achieving your goals.
Step 2: Identify what data you need to measure.
Identifying what you need to measure is one of the most challenging steps in marketing analytics for education companies. The best thing to do is focus on your measurement goals and come up with two to three data points that will give you sufficient information to help you judge your goals.
For example, let's review a measurement goal about how marketing contributes to revenue. The way you measure this will be different depending on the company type. A B2C company that sells directly to parents or professionals will be able to connect marketing efforts to revenue more closely than a B2B company. A B2B company selling to schools or universities relies on a sales team for much of the sales process, so marketing's contribution to sales will be less direct.
Here are some examples of data to measure to track marketing's success in driving revenue.
% of revenue from marketing
% opportunities generated from leads
customer acquisition cost
engagement with marketing activities
Another common measurement goal is determining which marketing activities contribute to increases in revenue. It's important to be aware that you will never be able to identify exactly which marketing activities contribute to revenue, but there is data you can measure to give you directional information.
People usually have multiple interactions with a company before purchasing, especially for expensive purchases or B2B purchases that involve committees. So in these cases, collect as much data as you can to track different touchpoints, whether someone attended an event, requested a demo, or clicked on an ad. Creating multi-touch attribution models helps track these touchpoints.
However, there are some touchpoints that are harder to track than others—for example, brand awareness marketing activities, like PR or radio ads. The best ways to track these activities are to ask people how they heard about you or include a customized URL or coupon code in your messages. But keep in mind that only some people are going to remember to use these.
For the past decade, digital marketing has been the most trackable marketing method; however that is now changing. Privacy policies, like government-enforced GDPR and Apple's latest software update, protect consumers from being tracked through cookies and other methods advertisers have relied on. Helpful data is still available for marketers, but it's not as accurate or thorough as it used to be. Examples of data to measure your digital marketing performance include:
Now that you know what you want to measure, you will need to determine how to get that data.
Step 3: Determine your data collection process.
Ideally, you want to get to a point where you track as much data as possible within one system. That may be in your CRM or a tool like Looker Studio or even an excel sheet to start. Look back at the data you are collecting against your measurement goals. Your data will likely come from many areas, including:
Social media platforms
In your data collection process, you will also want to determine how often you need to collect the data. Longer-term measurement goals, like marketing's impact on revenue, will take a while to see results, so collecting that data monthly or quarterly is sufficient. For goals that involve improving your marketing activities, like advertising conversions, you should collect those results bi-weekly or monthly.
Step 4: Create reports for stakeholders.
Once you have the data you want to collect and you're reviewing results, don't keep the information to yourself! Many people within a company will benefit from knowing what marketing is doing and how it's performing, including leadership teams, sales, and the marketing team contributing to the work.
Remember that the data you are collecting will be overwhelming for people to review, especially if they are outside the marketing team. For these situations, create executive summary results that give your stakeholders an informed pulse on what is happening. These reports should be presented each quarter or each month, depending on the volume and velocity of your sales.
Here are some tips when it comes to sharing your education company's marketing analytics:
Incorporate charts and graphs where you can, instead of tables with numbers, to help people interpret the data.
Include benchmarks, so people know if the numbers are good or bad. The benchmarks can be based on your historical data or goals.
Tell a story with the data. Include insights to explain how you're interpreting the data and making improvements.
Step 5: Optimize your marketing.
Marketing is always evolving, especially with trends like new social media platforms that gain popularity, changes in consumer preferences, or updates in privacy policies. So it's critical to your marketing success that you use marketing analytics for your education company to understand the meaning behind data and determine what you can do to optimize your marketing.
As we reviewed, you will collect data from many sources to help you measure multiple goals. You will need to look at trends in your data over periods. When you notice a change, good or bad, you will want to dive in to see if you can find out what contributed to the change so that you can start or stop what you were doing. As you do this detective work, keep in mind that marketing analytics won't always answer your questions because marketing activities are not all tracked equally. Combine data, best practices, and your gut when reporting and optimizing your marketing.
The worst outcome in marketing is to spend your time and money, and when someone asks you how you're marketing is doing, your response is, "I'm not sure." Marketing is a learning process and what will be successful is unique to each organization. However, implementing marketing analytics for education companies contributes to smarter marketing. Use data to help you better understand your marketing investments' success and better choose the marketing activities that are best for your education company.