Brother Andrew, a Ruler, and a Wad of Cash

Jim Bierfeldt

Jim Bierfeldt is the founder and chief strategist at Logistics Marketing Advisors, a marketing firm that helps logistics businesses define and communicate their value, and then translate that value into revenue.

It’s back to school time and all of us have memories of what that feels like.

For me, back to school conjures up a vivid image of Brother Andrew, a ruler, and a wad of cash.

Brother Andrew O'Gara, FSC Brother Andrew O'Gara, FSC

I went to St. Raymond’s High School for Boys in The Bronx, NY. Brother Andrew O’Gara, a Christian Brother, was the principal there at the time. On the first day of school, he would greet every single student at the door. For anyone whose hair looked like it broke school rules of no more than 1 inch below the collar (we wore dress shirts at St. Raymond’s), Brother Andrew would take out his ruler and measure. Offenders were logged in his notebook and given the cash to go immediately to a local barber (no hair salons back then) and trim their flowing locks.

At St. Raymond’s we had standards – for lots of things. The rules were clearly communicated and we were measured against that standard. Rulers were just one of the measurement tools that were used.

In marketing, we need to do a better job of establishing standards – marketing objectives against which we measure our performance. Luckily, we have high-tech tools that make it easier to measure marketing. For some, it may be a custom spreadsheet that tracks metrics and monitors trends. For others, it may be standard reports generated by a marketing automation tool.

Measure Marketing Results at a Macro Level

Here’s a chart that I love generated out of HubSpot. It shows if and how the marketing-generated leads at the top of the sales funnel move down that funnel, and how many actually become customers. Since it isolates the website leads, it’s a good ROI barometer on web/digital marketing investments.

hubspot sales funnel plain 1


Here is another chart that sheds light on what lead sources are driving your best leads and the prospects who become customers. This helps come budget time when you’re trying to determine where to invest marketing dollars.


Measure Marketing Results at a Micro Level

Achieving your core marketing and business objectives is, of course, dependent upon doing the little things well. A touchdown on the football field typically results from a series of good blocks by many different people. We need to measure the effectiveness of the blocks if we expect to improve and score a lot of touchdowns.

Zeroing in on just one example, how are you doing against your search optimization goals? Perhaps you’ve targeted certain phrases that you want to rank for. When you measure these marketing efforts, is it working? Has your performance improved over time?

Below is an example of how HubSpot helps to monitor and measure keyword ranking. Other tools can help you do the same thing. As you can see, the ranking for all “pick and pack” terms has increased since the last time they were measured. You can even determine the extent of the gain (the example shows that “pick and pack warehouse” moved from a ranking of #15 to #7 in search results – an increase of 11 spots).


Why Are Some Marketers Poor at Measurement?

I suppose it could be the same reason many people put off doctor’s visits: they’re afraid the doctors will find something wrong. But in marketing, as in personal health, early warning signs are the best triggers to change course and get back on track.

Marketing measurement can also be its own reward. It’s like checking the weigh scales when you’re dieting. One of the best motivators is seeing objective evidence that you’re losing weight. “Hey, I’m doing something right! That extra effort is actually working!” For marketers, that data-fueled reinforcement is encouragement to step on the gas pedal and generate more positive results.

How about you? Do you measure marketing results at a macro and micro level? Are you setting, measuring and meeting aggressive performance standards?

Don’t make me get out my ruler.

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