Twelve marketing metrics every life science marketer should know about

07 June 2016| by Paul Avery


When marketing budgets are under pressure, you need to be able to demonstrate that your activity is working, while also being able to understand what is less effective and needs to be altered. Therefore, it's vital to know the best metrics to set in place to help you do this. Evaluating your activities needn't be expensive and it can save you money in the long-term. Here are our top 12 marketing metrics that every life science marketer needs to be aware of – many of which are easy and cost-effective to put in place.



Website traffic-based marketing metrics

1. Website visits

Your website is your shop front.  It’s the primary place your customers and prospects will be visiting to learn more about you before they take any other action. Keeping track of the total number of visits to your website each month will help you to keep a finger on the pulse of how many new (and existing people) are interested enough to learn more about you. It's also often a proxy for general market awareness and can be a good metric for assessing the quality of your digital marketing campaigns (e.g. SEO, email marketing etc.). In a healthy campaign, your total number of visits should grow steadily. If you notice your numbers are dropping month by month, you should start investigating your marketing channels to work out why.

2. First timers (new sessions)

Building on the visitors theme, with tools like Google analytics you can see which visitors are first timers and which ones are old visitors making a recurring trip. This can help understand how effective your efforts have been at pulling in new customers.

3. Visitor sources

Tools such as Google Analytics and HubSpot also make it possible to identify where your website visitors are coming from, whether it be search engines like Google, social media sites like LinkedIn or referrals from other websites. What’s more, using specific tracking URLs in your digital marketing campaigns will allow you to get really granular and identify exactly which activities are driving the most visitors. This data can be very useful in showing you which campaigns and channels are driving the most traffic, allowing you to experiment to see which channels will provide the highest return on effort spent.

4. Click-through-rate (CTR)

This measures how many people have clicked on your ads, blogs, social media posts and emails. There are industry standards for life science banner ads and email marketing CTRs that can be used to benchmark the success of your activity. These will help you to understand which ads/emails appeal most to your audiences and can help to shape future media plans and creative. You can also assess the success of product-centric vs content-centric scientific marketing campaigns, as well as the performance of content across different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Website stickiness and conversion metrics

5. Average time on site

This is a great way of gauging how relevant and appealing your content is, which is crucial for encouraging people to convert. If people are spending very little time on your site before moving on, you know that your content is missing the mark and you need to readjust.

6. Bounce rate

Similar to average time on site above, if people are bouncing off your website as soon as they land on it then they didn’t accurately understand your offering or felt that your solution is not for them. Either way, your aim is to keep bounce rate as low as possible, by ensuring relevant people visit your site and can easily find the information they need with just a glance.

7. Conversion rate (CVR)

How many of your visitors become leads is one of the most valuable metrics you can assess. It literally defines your marketing success. A falling CVR should sound alarm bells whenever you introduce new tactics and it means your visitors and prospects are either losing interest in your offering or your communications are not engaging with them in the right way.

8. Lead-to-close ratio

This is where it is important for the marketing and sales team to be working closely together and communicating regularly.  This is how we can determine the success of the sales team in following-up and closing the leads provided to them by the marketing activity. To arrive at this figure, divide the total number of sales by the total number of leads. This ratio defines your sales success, but often somewhat independently of your marketing efforts.

9. Cost per lead (CPL)

At the end of all this, you need to be converting leads into paying customers without breaking the bank! Your CPL can help determine how much you are spending on attracting each lead.  It can also help you to work out the most cost-effective marketing channels for attracting leads.

Revenue-based marketing metrics

10. Return on investment

This is the metric everyone wants to hear about at internal presentations and meetings: the return on investment. In addition to assessing how profitable a campaign is, it helps to identify particular sections of your sales and marketing activities that perhaps warrant a little improvement or are performing so well that they should have increased focus within your marketing mix.

11. Cost to acquire a customer (CAC)

Unlike just CPL, the CAC measures the total marketing and advertising costs over a particular time divided by the number of paying customers generated in that period. This is another broad metric but can be a very useful indicator for looking at general marketing campaign success.

12. Customer lifetime value

This a metric for those businesses that have been established for a while – start-ups will struggle to do this. Determining the average customer lifetime value, you have to look at all sales the average customer is likely to make over the course of your relationship. While your customer value may be difficult to calculate, it can be a great addition to assessing the overall ROI associated with your marketing, sales and customer support budgets.


Getting started with defining your marketing plan and metrics

So there we have it: 12 marketing metrics that life science marketing professionals should pay close attention to. These can provide you with the solid data and quantification needed to make an accurate assessment of your marketing and communications activities, and help you hone and improve your plans in the future. To learn more about optimising your marketing efforts, download our free ebook, ‘Your 7 Stage Guide to Developing a Comprehensive Life Science Marketing Plan’.

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