Lauren Carlson over at Marketing Automation Software Guide recently sent me a link to an  article entitled "Going Beyond Opens and Clicks – Metrics to Measure" by Lisa Cramer. The article positions itself as a vote to move from less valuable metrics of measuring marketing success to more measurable and more valuable metrics tied to actual lead and revenue generation. The posture is that it is time to wake up to the need for more measurable marketing. I agree, in premise - and have some thoughts of my own. Surprise.

Let me state my bias. I work with a digital marketing agency, so my experience and focus is almost totally on online marketing. More than perhaps any other type of marketing, digital marketing is expected to be measurable. With all those technologies and codes, surely we can track the success of digital marketing. Lisa Cramer's title appears to be about the digital world - however her advice (and graphic) skews to the larger, more traditional world of marketing. I'm more focused on the digital end of things - what happens before it turns into a lead or a sale.

It is my experience that business owners (small and large), and marketing executives are already very aware of the need to measure the success of their marketing. I have never had a business leader tell me that they wanted to spend money in order to get more clicks or opens. They always want more revenue. If anyone is guilty of skewing the graph to talk about clicks and opens to measure the results of digital marketing - it is those of us who are in the industry and those who create the tools that measure that way.

What we need to be figuring out - and what businesses need to demand - is how we can best track the results of our digital marketing efforts across all platforms. Each platform or tool has it's built in analytics to measure it's results within the isolation of that particular platform. Email marketing tools will tell you delivery, opens and clicks. Social Media campaigns will report growth in fans and followers. Search Marketing will gladly calculate the number of visits to your websites. Then, your website analytics will track what happens on every page and link. The trick, and it is a bit tricky, is to practice the art and discipline of connecting each of the platforms so a cohesive line can be draw from each marketing tactic to lead generation. It is my opinion that this ability is what truly separates the few greats from the many in our industry. If you're interested in more about this, drop by and listen to a recent webinar I led for the folks over at Vortx.

Additionally, while we digital marketers are often guilty of measuring the trees (face it - tree counting is such fun) without considering the forest, companies are sometimes guilty of demanding measurement from us while failing to put in place the kinds of system integration of which Lisa Cramer speaks. The sword does have two edges. The best solution comes when both company and marketer can implement full integration to track and measure the activity and results directly related to their marketing efforts. Ms. Cramer gives several thought provoking examples of what needs to be measured once a lead enters the funnel. I would add that we need to be sure we are tracking exactly how those leads enter the funnel and the best digital marketing folks can deliver just that information.

A final nod of thanks to Lauren Carlson for sharing the article with me - now go read it if you haven't already!