Hard Metrics vs Soft Metrics

16Jun09

Business Metrics: Hard Metrics vs Soft Metrics

Marketing Prof’s recently posted an article from Ardath Albee discusses an ongoing debate between “Hard” and “Soft” marketing proponents on the best way to measure ROI.

The Hard Marketing Camp, she says, “wants to tie everything to sales metrics saying anything that doesn’t result in a revenue measurement doesn’t count.”
The Soft Marketing Camp, on the other hand, “is focused on initiatives that drive engagement, conversations, interactions, awareness and brand.”

Albee argues that you need both. “In [any sale] you can’t get to revenue without Soft Camp initiatives,” she says. “In fact, the more ’social’ marketing becomes, the higher a degree of Soft will be needed to generate Hard results.”

The trick is using hard evidence to demonstrate its importance. “With marketing measurement becoming more sophisticated,” she continues, “imagine the ability for marketers to know the factors that cause buyers in specific segments to become sales ready.” She envisions, for example, the ability to show that Persona A has a 70% probability of making a purchase if their history includes these actions:

  • Downloading a whitepaper.
  • Engaging in three personal interactions—for instance, a comment left at a blog or a Twitter exchange.
  • Opting into an email program, and having a click-through rate of 60% or more.
  • Viewing an on-demand video for their vertical.

“What [marketers] ultimately [need] are progressive metrics that help them prove Soft initiatives drive Hard results,” says Albee. “That’s what creates solid ROI.”

Source: Marketing Interactions. Click here for the full post.

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