Marketing Feedback Loops – make actual sense of your data!

Katie Dryden

Marketing feedback loops are the best way to improve your results, but most marketers aren’t using them correctly.

Feedback Loops are the process of outputs being circled back to become inputs. A simple example of a feedback loop is this: you walk in to a door, it hurts, you don’t walk in to the door again. Or, alternatively, you eat a new kind of food, you enjoy it, you eat that kind of food many more times. A feedback loop is essentially just the process of taking a result and using it to feed into your future behaviours. A marketing feedback loop is exactly this process of looking at cause and effect to determine how you can improve your outcomes. What is causing the positive/negative effect? How can it be improved? What will the result be?

"I call them feedback loops instead of just feedback because they’re not a single campaign. Feedback loops are built into your marketing for you to use over and over."

Marketing feedback loops are essentially the process of using feedback to improve your results. To give an example, a positive marketing feedback loop would be: you are receiving a high number of impressions on Twitter, this is leading to higher clicks of your content, which is leading to more conversions on your website; so you know from this that improving your impressions leads to higher conversions. Conversely, a negative marketing feedback loop could look like this: your website is taking two or three minutes to load, most people are bouncing from the homepage before they’ve even seen it; so you take steps to make your webpage load faster.

Most marketers will already be using marketing feedback loops to some degree. No good marketing plan comes without KPIs against which we measure the return on our marketing investment. More than that, we want to adapt our efforts to optimise that return, to continuously improve our results, but are we using all of the information available to us to improve our processes in the first place?

The most obvious form of feedback is customer feedback; when you receive reviews or comments from your customers, it is key how you act upon that information. The importance of this feedback can never be underestimated, this feedback is your bread and butter for improving your product or service, but how do you turn it into that all-important marketing feedback loop?

First step is to think about how you’re receiving the feedback, are you actively going out there to get it by asking questions of your customers, requesting that they fill out forms and leave reviews, or are you just passively receiving it? Are you looking for your mentions on social media and getting a feel for what your general sentiment is amongst your customers? You need to establish how your customers can give you feedback, and if they can’t, you need to implement ways so that they can! The second step is then to listen to the feedback they’re giving you, whether that’s positive or negative. Take it on board, use it, if a customer is asking why a product is so expensive, investigate it, examine the cost and make sure you can justify it, and then respond to that customer and explain it to them. If your customer has given great feedback on a member of staff, take that feedback and share it with the wider team so that everyone knows how they can improve and get their own great feedback. Use the marketing feedback loop to consistently take information from your customers and channel it back into your business, so that you constantly improve.

One team that have more direct access to your customers than any other, are your sales team and they will play a key part in enforcing your marketing feedback loops. Marketing and sales must work together for marketing feedback loops to work for your business.

"Marketing requires heavy input from sales as they develop sales enablement materials such as videos, blog posts, and eBooks."

How does marketing know what content needs to be created, if they haven’t listened to sales?

Sales are the ones on the ground, asking your customers about their pain points, objections, and needs, and therefore, sales are the ones that need to feed this information back to marketing to ensure that they are producing the assets that answer your customers questions.

Constant conversations need to happen, did this asset/campaign work for our customers? Why or why not? How can it be improved and changed? After we’ve improved it and tried it again, did it work better? How? How can we use that information in our other campaigns? These are all questions that marketing, and sales should constantly be asking each other in order to join up the marketing feedback loops. Marketing also need to tell sales what information they need so that the sales team can go out there and get it for the customers, it’s a two-way conversation that will build your business.

The best piece of advice when it comes to marketing feedback loops is this – use the data that’s available. If you’re customers aren’t engaging with you directly, look to understand why not, and look to gain the information from other sources. Consider your website analytics, your social media analytics, your telesales results, your direct mailer reports, your email campaigns – any and all these sources of information can offer you insights in to why your customers are doing what they’re doing.

For example, if your emails are being opened but not clicked, try to understand why, does the button work? Is your call to action strong enough? Then, in your next campaign, make a change – did your CTR go up? Good! Why? What was better? How can you then implement that in your next email campaign and build on it? If this still isn’t working for you, it’s time to really get out there and talk to your customers – ask them for direct, honest feedback and be honest and direct with them in return, explain how you’re going to fix the issues they’re having and ask how you can win them as a customer.

At this point, you might be wondering how this is going to help you close more deals and make more sales. The answer to that is – slowly. It's never the answer anyone wants to hear but it’s the honest one. Marketing feedback loops are loops for a reason, because they need to run through a few circles before they will start to make a difference. If you’re not constantly looking to improve what you did before, you have no hope of building more sales.

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Following this simple model will help to ensure that your marketing feedback loops are always providing you with the most up to date recommendations for improving your activities. Just make sure you’re applying it at every stage of the journey.

Feedback is everything, and not just for marketing.

We’ve covered how sales can benefit from your marketing feedback loops, and when sales benefits, everyone benefits – because the whole point is to drive more sales and make your customers happy!

When it comes to your marketing feedback loops, listening is key! Listen to your customers, your sales teams, your marketing team, and your data. Once you understand what you're being told or shown, you can work to improve it. Implement changes based on the marketing feedback loops, try new things, then hone them, get them working perfectly, update and try them again, keep trying new things until you know what works for you – and then add another new thing!

Marketing feedback loops are all about taking the information that you’re given and using it to build your success. We understand how to do that, and all our campaigns use marketing feedback loops to successfully drive ever increasing results for our clients. Let us help you understand your data so that you can start getting the results you should have been getting all along.

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