Metrics that matter: Is your marketing strategy hitting business objectives?

In this interview with MarTechAsia, Dave Dabbah, Chief Marketing Officer at CleverTap, discusses how brands can evaluate their marketing strategies.

While metrics and campaign results like impressions, click-through rates, and conversions are great for comparing the performance of specific campaigns, they are not enough to measure the real impact of marketing on business growth. In other words, such vanity metrics are measurements designed to be impressive as opposed to being actionable or relevant to core business goals such as revenue or operating margins.

However, tracking metrics like retention rate, or frequency of app interactions by users acquired in the last month can help you get actionable insights on the users you just acquired. And unlike vanity metrics, these numbers are actionable. Ultimately, every metric serves a purpose – it is just about finding the right one.

Dave Dabbah, Chief Marketing Officer, CleverTap

In this interview with MartechAsia, Dave Dabbah, Chief Marketing Officer at CleverTap, an AI-powered customer lifecycle and user retention platform, discusses how brands can evaluate their marketing strategies, the value of using vanity and actionable analytics, and understanding key metrics that reflect the true performance of your marketing efforts.

Dave Dabbah has more than 20 years of experience building global marketing programmes that accelerate growth and catalyze business success within B2B technology and beyond. Prior to his role at CleverTap, Dave held the position of Vice President of Marketing at both Agora, a software company specializing in real-time communications, and Ephox, an in-application editing software platform. He’s also held tenure with the likes of EmailLabs and Lyris, making him an early adopter of Martech and a firsthand witness of how the industry has grown and evolved.

Dave has continually set and raised the bar in terms of what it means to be an accomplished business leader throughout his career. His ability to deliver the right message at the right time to customers has allowed him to develop highly successful brands and lead some of the world’s top companies to new heights. He has driven major brand exposure across a wide range of media outlets including Forbes, The New York Times, TechCrunch, CNBC, Fox Business, and more.

Are all metrics the same? How can marketers differentiate between vanity metrics and tracking metrics (actionable analytics) that provide actionable insights?

Every metric serves a purpose but not all are created equal. Statistics like impressions, click-through rates, or conversions are great for comparing the performance of specific campaigns but they are not enough to measure the real impact of your marketing efforts. These are vanity metrics: measurements designed to be impressive as opposed to being actionable or relevant to core business goals such as improving revenue or operating margins. Spending too much time and energy tracking vanity metrics can distract you from what truly matters to the business.

Instead, metrics like average revenue per user (ARPR), retention rate, and session frequency provide brands with actionable insights on the quality of users acquired. And unlike vanity metrics, these numbers are actionable and they usually cascade down from top-level business objectives.

Are there ways for brands to evaluate the efficacy of their marketing strategies? Can you cite one or two examples of such strategies that worked?

One way to understand the efficacy of your marketing campaigns is to isolate users from seeing campaigns using a control group. You can then measure the effectiveness by comparing this group with the target group that receives your campaigns.

A good example would be Eatigo. With the challenges brought about by COVID-19, Eatigo shifted its focus from user acquisition to user retention. This required a holistic platform with robust analytics, which led them to CleverTap. To ensure their retention objectives were reached, Eatigo’s metrics were measured using our Real Impact dashboard. In addition to using a control group to show them the consolidated impact of their conversion campaigns, we also tracked two key metrics:

  • Sticky quotient (DAU/MAU): Shows how often your audience engages with your product after receiving a campaign
  • Retention rate: Indicate how many users come back to your product to perform a set of actions based on your marketing efforts

Eatigo boosted their retention and sticky quotient by 5.49% and 4.58% respectively, and they could share these concrete results with senior management to demonstrate effectiveness.

What are the key martech technologies that are crucial for marketers to build effective campaigns?

Because retention tends to be a key objective for marketing campaigns, I’d urge businesses to adopt tech that transforms their martech stack into an engine for engagement via solutions such as the Awareness-Interest-Conversion framework. Do not be tempted by every shiny, new tool. It’s like buying a hammer when your faucet is leaking – not every tool will be useful to you.

Generate brand awareness and initial engagement – Use analytics tools to understand who your users are, what they do, and how best to communicate with them. A customer relationship management (CRM) or customer data platform (CDP) tool is also important to build rich profiles for every user as they engage with your app. Finally, customer segmentation tools enable you to better customise your communications, making them more relevant to each user.

Measure and gauge the level of interest in your product – Use engagement tools such as email, in-app notifications, and geolocation tools to continuously feed data back into your analytics software so you can improve your efforts or even pivot in real time when users aren’t reacting to your message.

Conversion – Use tools that enable continuous measurement and customer experience optimization so that each user is consistently given a customised, relevant experience across every digital touchpoint.

What are your thoughts on gamification as a marketing strategy? Does it work?

Gamification can be a powerful tool to acquire, engage, and retain users. In fact, one study found that if executed well, gamification can boost engagement by more than 30%. With millions of apps available to users, building an app that sticks requires more than just a great product – it needs a great user experience.

Gamification is effective because it triggers real, powerful human emotions. For instance, we enjoy the sense of achievement that these games bring regardless of the competitive nature of games. Even simple rewards from playing these in-app games like discount codes or digital badges can be effective motivators for users to complete a task, make a purchase, or share your app. These all culminate to create positive user experiences which eventually lead to improved engagement, loyalty, and increased sales.

What are your top 3 suggestions to CMOs in terms of do’s and don’ts of crafting an effective, measurable marketing campaign?

Stay on top of your target audience’s needs and behaviour

The golden rule of marketing is to ensure that the entire experience of your marketing campaign is customer-centric. To stand out and meet rising customer expectations, brands need to provide highly personalised customer experiences. This requires companies to leverage customer data and insights to gain a complete picture of who their customers are, what they are looking for in a product, and how they are navigating the platform.

Clearly define your goals and performance metrics

Ensure all teams are aligned on the campaign’s objectives as it sets the tone for the success of your campaign. Your goals determine your overall marketing campaign strategy as well as the type of martech tools you use.

It is also important that you establish the right performance metrics. Ultimately, your marketing efforts are only as good as your ability to assess their performance. Tracking the right metrics is the means to that end.

Make it Memorable

The number one rule in marketing is to design campaigns that are actually memorable.  As we all know there is tremendous competition in the marketplace and while your product may be better than your competitors you may struggle to separate your brand from the competition. Making sure your campaigns standout is the number one goal and challenge of every CMO. 

Oftentimes memorable campaigns require a certain degree of risk and those marketing organisations that take those risks are generally the teams that win.