b2bento-icon-140725It was smashing (no pun intended) having Marcus Ho and Clement Wong, of SocialMetric Singapore, with us lately for some jib-jab about marketing – over booze!

We wasted (no, seriously!) no time getting down to a topic close to everybody’s heart – metrics. The APAC Digital Marketing Dashboard report for 2012 clearly shows a lack of alignment between marketing measurement and strategic business goals, and here’s what our guests had to say about it.

So why are marketers in Asia Pacific prioritizing rudimentary metrics, like website traffic, click-through rates, and response rates? Why isn’t critical data such as revenue per customer, cost per sale, return on ad spend, or channel ROI being measured?

Low-hanging metric fruit

Because rudimentary metrics are that – rudimentary. They’re obvious, and easily accessible, and measuring them has become almost “a vanity thing”. Fan numbers, Facebook’s ‘People Talking About This’, and especially the holy trinity of likes, comments, and shares – all these are good for starters, but fixating on them cultivates an arms-race mindset.

This can be dangerous. If fans can’t be converted, measuring success by how many of them you have is no better than plastic surgery – good-looking, but not genuine.

And what about reach, another often-discussed metric? All that measures is exposure – the number of people who have seen your post. It tells you nothing about the number of people who have actually read your post – that’s where engagement comes in. And that’s what we should be watching.

Metrics are not a silo

But metrics alone won’t tell the full story – they have to be paired with trend analysis. All those dips and spikes in metric levels take on new meaning when looked at from month to month, quarter to quarter.

In particular, with trending, the difference between big J-curves and gentle, upward slopes on the graph becomes evident. Sure, J-curves are great to have – they tell “sexy stories” and win awards. But a gentle slope tells another story – that of incremental growth, backed by a sustainable plan and a team to guide it. Which can be worth a lot more in the long run.

Why are metrics misunderstood?

Zooming out, we can see that low business ROI awareness is behind a lack of proper understanding of metrics in the Asian market. Tying marketing activities back to the sales funnel is all but nonexistent – even in B2C, where it should be easy.

Could this be willful ignorance? Are marketers overlooking the metrics that matter on purpose, because they don’t want to assume responsibility? Or does the problem lie with short-term KPIs, that are putting marketers off investing in things that will only mature further down the road? Either way, a change of attitude is called for, and for that to happen there must be a rise in awareness.

So there you have it: it’s good to measure metrics to take some of the guesswork out of the marketing equation, but the next step must be to understand the pros and cons of each.

This is just a snippet – check out the full conversation on Bento.TV!

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