Chris Mercer is the Co-Founder of Measurement Marketing and a sought after measurement marketing expert. Mercer and his team have been helping marketers, marketing teams, and agencies measure their marketing so they know what’s working, what’s not, and what’s coming next.
Mercer spends countless hours reading, practicing, adjusting, and innovating to improve his skill set. He has a knack for teaching and is known for his ability to simplify even the most complex ideas for his audience.
In addition to co-hosting MeasureSummit (the largest event in the world dedicated to digital measurement), he can be found speaking at conferences and events, such as Traffic & Conversion, Social Media Marketing World, Content Jam, TravelCon, Digital Elite Camp, Baby Bathwater Institute, and others.
On this episode, Mercer and I discuss Measurement Marketing Academy, how to keep up with the growing number of marketing channels, speed reading, and much more.
Sign up for a free membership of Measurement Marketing's Measurement Toolbox where you can get a suite of premium tools created and curated by the Measurement Marketing team.
Visit https://measurementmarketing.io/debutify for your free membership today.
What is Measurement Marketing
Chris Mercer: I love that. Tell us a little or a lot. My name is obviously Chris Mercer. I'm the co founder of a company called measurementmarketing.io, as you mentioned. And really, we're there to help agencies, marketers, marketing teams, companies try to figure out that elusive question that I think that was asked like 100 years ago when they said something like half my advertising works, I'm just not sure which half, right?
And ever since then, everyone's been trying to figure out how to measure stuff so they can answer that. And that's kind of what we do. So we help marketers that are doing, especially on the digital world, right? eCommerce, all that sort of stuff that, are selling things online to try to figure out what's working, what's not. Should I turn up the money on that Facebook campaign? Should I send more emails? Like those sort of questions.
Alex Bond: No, that's great. Because that covers a lot of what we're going to talk about in terms of especially kind of that omni channel marketing. So to my knowledge, part of your platform is this Academy. That's only one part, but it feels like kind of a foundational part of what measurement marketing does. Is this Academy that people can sign up for to learn some marketing skills. Would you like to just elaborate on that a little bit?
Chris Mercer: Sure. Like when we started, we actually started as an agency that was done for you. It's actually kind of good a little entrepreneurial lesson, because I think we started as an agency who would set up measurement for other people.
So, you know, you pay us, we'd handle your Google analytics, tag manager, looker studio reporting, you know, all the sort of stuff that went together so that you can figure out what's working, what's not and what actions you can take to make better results happen. Right. So we started doing that.
And at a certain point, people are going to say, well, listen, that's too much. Can you create a course? Right. Like that's sort of what happened. And we started hearing that a lot. Not that we have plenty of done for you clients. That wasn't the price point, but it's not everybody can afford that.
So we created the courses and that's what grew into the measurement marketing academy, which is the academy that you're referencing. So there is a DIY. It's kind of like for those people who don't have necessarily the money to hire somebody else to come on and do this for them full time, but they can, they have the time and they want to be able to learn the information.
So we have the membership platform that does that. And we still have, obviously the done for you stuff as well, but I am personally just flat out. Like I love teaching, love it. It is the thing that fuels me the most of turning on people's brains, right? And it just having those light bulb moments for them. I love being a part of that process.
So I am a firm believer in having skills like this in house. So I always try to encourage people to learn this skill rather than hiring somebody, whether it's us or somebody else, I always encourage that. Learn these skills, because if you have the skills in house, you're going to be able to get more from them. So I like the academy for that reason.
Alex Bond: Yeah. And that really appeals to kind of the surge of masterclass and this ability for people to learn something, whether they just want to, you know, people just like learning a new skill, whether they want it to be their bread and butter, their main source of income. Or they want some sort of addendum or addition to their skill set. I have always been akin to Jack of all trades, master of none. I'm okay with that. That's just kind of the way I am. I'd rather be able to be Swiss army knife than a really good meat cleaver.
Chris Mercer: But I'll tell you, man, that makes you a good strategist too, because while you might not know the tactical tools of all the different nuances of all the, what the tools can do, because you know, so much about. So let's say so little about so much, you can see a strategy that unites them all.
Whereas other people who only specialize in a certain tool, they can't create strategy, right? So I think that's the long winded way of saying like, there's a place for everybody like that. And I, and I think there's a lot of people who hear that sometimes and say, but I shouldn't be that jack of all trades. I should be the person who's specialized and everything.
And it's like, well, maybe if that appeals to you, great. But if it doesn't, the world's a big spot in a big place. We have people can fit in different areas and, and it allows you, it makes you a better strategist. I think in a lot of ways, because you're not tying yourself up with knowing all the nuances of all these different tools.
Strategic Decision-Making: When to Learn Marketing In-House and When to Outsource
Alex Bond: So in your opinion, Mercer, how do you think a company should determine whether they should learn marketing skills themselves and handle that department themselves or when they should outsource their marketing duties. So you offer both services. How do you determine if a company should do one or the other? Or how did they determine that?
Chris Mercer: Yeah, it's a great question. And, you know, specifically in our case, we handle the measurement. So we don't do like the marketing. We don't do the page builds and the traffic and all of that. But I think the formula is the same. The answer is the same regardless.
If you're looking for a vendor for anything, whether it's SEO, graphic design, like whatever the thing is, how do you know, right? So the way that I look at this is and this is what I would, I literally tell our you know students and clients when we're on talking to them in the beginning, if they have the time, they have the muscle on their team and that resource, right?
Whoever it is, if they have the time, then they just need training. And that's where I would say that's where you invest in training because they have the time. And you got the muscle already on your team and you already have that resource, then I would invest in training, right? Assuming that there's funds for that because it makes them a better player of the game.
You're improving their skills and obviously they have the time so they're not doing anything anyway. So why not train them so they can get more done. So that's the one angle. Now, if let's say you're an individual owner, solopreneur, you threw up a Shopify store and it's what we call the curse of a good offer, but it's like when it works right away is the curse of a good offer because you don't think about measurement when you're making money.
In fact, a lot of times people start going the most poisonous thought I think that happens in a marketer's brain is when they say, I don't care how it's working as long as it keeps working, right? I don't care as long as we keep making money. That's what they keep thinking. But they very much will care when things break. But the problem is when things break because you didn't follow with measurement.
Now you don't know how things are. Now you don't know what to fix, right? So you have this problem. So to avoid that in the beginning, you are busy, you are trying out a lot of stuff and maybe you don't have the time to be a specialist in this to actually have proper measurement or marketing or graphic design, whatever that thing is you're trying to hire for.
At that point, that's when you say, listen, I can't fulfill this role that our organization needs. Therefore, I need to fulfill it some other way. Sometimes it's going to be with a vendor, like in our case of measurement, it might be with us as a vendor. Sometimes that's going to be a platform. Right? Or software, right? Like AI is fulfilling a lot of those roles right now.
People that used to hire copywriters are now using chat GPT because that kind of helps with a, like a copy cup level, not, not a true copyright. It won't replace a true copywriter, but somebody, the basic copywriters, it kind of replaces a lot of that. So you can look to outsource to either a vendor, to a system.
Or to somebody else in your team is kind of how we look at it. But that's the short answer, I guess a longer answer. But the short answer to recap it is if you have the muscle on your team and they've got the time, for sure it's training no matter what. But if you don't have the muscle on your team to fill that role, you then have to look at it at another way to replace that.
Again, sometimes might be software that's coming in, you get some SaaS program that does that. Other times it'll be a vendor, depending upon the skill that you need.
Unlocking Marketing Mastery: A Quick Overview of Topics Covered in the Measurement Marketing Academy
Chris Mercer: I think the thing for us is it relates to back to the conversation you and I were having on the jack of all trades thing that helps you to become naturally good at strategy. And I'm that same way. Like I'm good at a few of these measurement tools.
Don't get me wrong, but I'm kind of like that. I got you. I have a wide variety of interest, but I am very good at strategy. In fact, I'm like that kid on the sixth sense where it's like, all I see is dead people, right? All I see are systems. Like I see systems everywhere, you know?
So when I'm in working with ourselves, our students or with our clients, when they're coming in, right, they're trying to learn a new skill set. They're coming in with a problem. Number one, they're trying to figure out what's working and what's not. In their marketing, right? They don't figure out the idea. Turn up the Facebook spend or turn it back down.
They need to buy a program that's going to be able to help them to build muscle. So we built the Academy for that, but the Academy, I'll say the worst part about the Academy is it's got everything you need, but I mean, it's got everything. And that's the problem because to your point, now you come in and you're like, where do I get started? Right.
And so the way that we handle that is, is multifold one. We always start with strategy. Because we believe strategy should dictate how you use the tools, not the other way around. A lot of people will start using a tool like Google Analytics because it's easy to use. You turn it on, you put code on your pages, it starts lighting up with all those interesting little numbers, and then you jump in trying to use them.
But that's actually a huge error because that tool hasn't been set up yet. So it looks like it's working, but it's not. It's not actually set up to tell you a story, which is why it looks like gibberish back there for a lot of people. Because they haven't learned the proper strategy That dictates how to use that tool. So in the Academy, we will always start with strategy first.
In fact, I think that is the most important course that we have. It's called the Metro marketing framework. We go through that strategy. Then once you understand the strategy, then it's okay, let's use these tools. Start off something simple, like with Google analytics, get good at that. Then you add in other tools on top of that as, as your skills improve. Right.
You can add those so that the academies there as you sort of make that journey up, but it always starts with strategy. I will say just kind of like a shameless plug for the academy. Something that separates us out apart is I think information is going to be, is commodified. Let's face it. You can find this stuff on YouTube of how to install Google analytics score, but what you don't have on YouTube is the support. You can't send somebody a video and say, Hey, I'm having a problem with my tech stack.
And here's what it looks like. So we have an entire instructor support system. That's back there with the instructors, a real live people who do this every day, who are answering those questions in videos and screenshots. So they build relationships with them. But part of that process, there's also a curriculum request back there.
So they will, you can send them a video and say, here's what, here's what my site is. Here's what I'm trying to do, blah, blah, blah. Here's my skillset is, here's what's currently set up. They will actually build your curriculum with the academy courses so that you can go through it step by step. And then they're right there with you. If you have questions, you know.
So we put a lot of the effort in the academy. Yes, the courses are substantial, but that's not what separates us out. I mean, it is this support that separates people out because I think that's the thing that people are going to run into, right? You're going to watch something on YouTube and you go, well, that's not quite what it looks like anymore.
Cause it happens all the time. It's hard to update. Right. In fact, it's impossible to update YouTube video right now because they, it all goes back down to zero and nobody wants to update the world YouTube videos. So you're sort of forced to keep old content out there, but that's the idea. So come in with strategy first and ask, keep building support, ask for help.
Keeping Pace with the Ever-Evolving Marketing Landscape: Ensuring Timely Updates in the Measurement Marketing Academy
Alex Bond: And that is one of the questions that I had for you. I don't ask every single interviewee this question, but I think there's certain times where it's appropriate, especially in this, and especially since you mentioned it, how do you stay updated in the academy with these different marketing channels that can just almost like happen overnight, you know.
Twitter had like a complete and total change over the last, like, six months to a year tick tock. It only took like 2 years. I mean, that's a change now, right? This stuff can change very quickly. How do you make sure that you are updating the academy correctly and promptly enough.
Chris Mercer: Yeah, that's that's a really great question. So part of part of the way that and I'm a big believer in building systems. Let's talk about strategy, right? I'm a big systems guy. I like building a system that automatically or better never chance. Let's say we'll produce the result you want to produce just by you going through the activities of the system.
So for example, we want to stay up with what's new, right? Keep stay up to date with new stuff. So what we did is we built as part of the academy. We have this whole section called the on demand workshop library once a month. In fact, it's always the first Wednesday of every month.
The instructors get on a call and they have it what they call the what's new workshop and they go through all the change logs of all the different text stuff that's going on and they catch everybody up. Now they're doing that as a as a service for the students. But at the same time, what are they also doing?
They're also, because they're teaching those changes, they had to already know those changes. They had to stay up to date already. So what we did just as, as a, you know, again, it's like a benefit because it's like one swing at bat and you get a, you know, two base hits is the idea is that the instructors have to stay up to date.
But if I just said, Hey, stay up to date, what are the odds of that? But if I say, listen, you're going to produce a workshop every month, that's going to be for the students where you're going to tell them all the newest stuff. They have to stay up to date in order to do that.
So I don't have to ask them to stay up to date anymore. They naturally stay up to date because we're teaching it all the time. And one of those things we teach is here's the latest stuff over the last nine or 30 days, you know, and that process is collaborative.
Alex Bond: So one person's bringing something up that another didn't know, vice versa. And then that same exact process can happen with students. Honestly, I can imagine there's probably students who are even more up to date than in certain areas than some of the instructors of, Hey, I heard this thing 12 hours ago, you know?
Chris Mercer: Yeah, that's so true. In fact, that happens there's something for this exact reason, again, I build a product. Not just to help our students, but to help us, right? To your point too. But we have a thing called the measurement mastermind, which is like weekly group coaching, right?
That happens every Wednesday, that little group gets on there. So every week we start that with, here's what's changed over the last week. So that instructor who's going through one of those calls, they're definitely staying up to date because they're doing it each week. Other instructors are doing it once a month, but they're all communicating with each other. So they know what's coming up.
And to your point, On that Measurement Mastermind call, sometimes we're not the best people in the room to answer certain questions. Because at a certain point, you can't. You can't just keep up with every single text act that exists in mankind. It's impossible. There's always there's like 45 new a platforms that probably came out in the last hour of this podcast. Right?
So it's like, there's always new stuff coming out. So you rely on the community on the peers on the other people that are in the room. And so we'll have other students answer questions from other students, sometimes because they're better at it, right? Or perhaps late, maybe more like technical SEO or something like that.
And so and we're not SEO people, but Some of our students are, they have agencies that do that, so they're better able to answer that. So I think that's where that happens. But that's why I like building a system that automatically produces that result. Because two things. One, it's the system doing it. So as long as we keep teaching stuff, everyone keeps getting that result.
And then everyone stays future proof, right? Because that's, that's the hard part. To your point, staying up to date. It's so hard to stay up to date on anything in the digital marketing world, because it changes so fast. I mean, you mentioned all these social media platforms. Remember Clubhouse? That was a big thing for like a minute and a half.
And then everybody put in infrastructure for that was a waste of time. So it's like. You know, where do you, where do you bet, you know, where do you put your chips on the table? And that's where it's like, no one knows. So we're all sort of going through this journey, you know, in our own little like D& D adventure together through this world of marketing.
Empowering Entrepreneurs of All Levels: Tailoring the Measurement Marketing Academy for Newcomers and Seasoned Veterans
Alex Bond: So I'm curious how you tailor the academy to both newer entrepreneurs and seasoned veterans who might be looking for a leg up, but is that just merely trying to meet people where they're at or what does that kind of look like?
Chris Mercer: Yeah, it's a combination of the good question. So always, always, always start with strategy because that is the common language that ties all the tools together. Right. So we owe everybody has to go through the strategy. If you're not using that strategy, you're going to misuse the tools, right? Cause again, strategy should dictate your tools.
So once everybody goes through the strategy, then to your point, some are more on the technical, maybe implementation side, cause that's their role in the company. So they will have to learn how to set up, let's say Google analytics for, and then maybe the basics of using Google analytics for, but maybe somebody else in that organization, their particular role, maybe they're the strategy side of things.
So do they really need to learn how to set up Google Analytics for probably not, but they do need to understand that it has to be set up, right? They need to know that that's a thing. And so that's where the strategy courses that talk about how to use Google Analytics for, it'll mention that, Hey, make sure it's been set up.
If that's not you make sure some of your company did do that, but you as a strategist should now do that because if the strategist doesn't know what the tools are capable of, they won't know to ask. Right. And if the implementer doesn't know the strategy. Even though if the tool can do something, they won't know to do it.
And so that's why you need those two sides connected. Sometimes that's the same person, right? Especially in the beginning, if you're a freelancer, you're gonna do the strategy and maybe just Google Analytics for, but you don't have time for Tag Manager and everything else. Fine. You don't need to. The courses are lifetime.
So come back to it when you need them and you can grow it. You can take those skills later. You know, but I believe, especially in the strategy course, which is the again best course I would ever give to tell anybody to take if I had to choose one, it's that one. It's a framework course because the first thing it'll teach you the strategy, but also teaches you the levels and the first level to learn how to use that strategy is to keep things simple.
We call it getting out of the cave. And you have to learn that skill of simplicity because as marketers, it's really easy to complicate things. I mean, look at somebody's WordPress sites. I'm like, Oh, we're on WordPress. I'm like, well, you're kind of on WordPress, but there's also unbalanced lead pages, click funnels, deadline funnels, and a Shopify store embedded in all of that mess.
So no, you're not just a WordPress site, right? The tech source that can get really complicated. That makes it really hard to measure it. Keep things simple. It makes it easier to measure, you know? So in the strategy course, we teach that skillset as well.
Alex Bond: Cause that was your first foray, right? I mean, WordPress is your forte, if I recall correctly, right? That was the first company that kind of led to this.
Chris Mercer: That was the origin story of before I mentioned we were done for you agencies, which was true. But before that, the way we got into being done for you was WordPress. I was teaching WordPress training on a membership site, kind of like we do with measurement now.
But I was teaching WordPress and that led to people saying, Hey, this is a great, but could you just build my WordPress site? So I'm a freelancer at that point. I'm a single person, right? Doing my own thing just to get these cool courses, a company of one going, okay, well, let's figure this out. So I learned how to do outsourcing and buy some outsourcing courses.
And we built a little mini company. All of a sudden we were building WordPress sites. So what our thinking was is, okay, well, let's differentiate ourselves. So we'll build you the WordPress site and we will optimize it. So, cause that was new back. Believe it or not, this is. In early, you know, 2010, 2008, something like that in the U.S. Conversion optimization hadn't really hit its stride yet.
But it was in Europe everywhere. And I think it's mostly because the U.S. was so big that Europe ran out of traffic faster, so they had to optimize it faster. And we just had 300 million people to get through. So it took us a while, you know, to be like, okay, now we got to optimize. But we started optimizing.
Well, in order to optimize, you've got to measure. And this is where the difference was for us. And this is what really, this is a little bit of luck for sure. Like, I think when you look back at anyone's story, don't believe them if they say it's all skill, because it's not, there's a substantial amount of luck to every journey.
But in my case, my background was sales management throughout history of work. It's always been sales management. So I think of things of measuring a salesperson through the pipeline. And I'm always used to doing that. And I think very pipeline oriented, right?
How many phone calls you have to dial in order to get so many people on the phone in order to get so many appointments set and already make so many pitches, that sort of thing, and measuring that stuff out. So when we came into that conversion optimization, we were starting to set up Google analytics for people.
I set it up like a sales manager would not like a marketer would. And that was the difference. When I set it up like that, it made more sense to people. And when I, when we delivered the sites, the WordPress sites with the Google analytics installations at that point. That's what changed for us.
That's why we moved into measurement, because all of a sudden, again, it goes back to that. You have to listen to your market because your market will tell you what to do if you listen. But in our case, we started getting referrals. The referrals weren't anymore. Hey, I need a WordPress site, which is what they used to be. It was, Hey, was it Joe Polish's mastermind?
And some guy was showing me how you were doing, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh. Could you do that for our Google app? And I went, there's a pivot because no one, this tool had been out for 10 years at that point. But no one had learned to set it up in a way where it was easy to use and simple to understand how to get action out of it.
And that's what we were doing that was different. We were just setting up in a slightly different way, but it seemed to unlock a lot of the power. So we started doing just done for you setups and we stopped doing WordPress stuff. And then, as we said earlier, then we eventually created the training programs out of all that expertise that we learned doing all this done for you setups.
The Power of Comparison: Understanding its Impact in the Modern Consumer Decision-Making Process
Alex Bond: And one of those things that you, I don't want to say missed or skipped over, but there's another factor in there that is even more attentive or important nowadays than was, we'll say, 15 years ago.
And that's comparison, the ability to look at someone's offer. And then immediately open a new tab and compare it to someone else. Where does that kind of come in in that process? Is that a continual thing? Is that something that you account for? Is that something that can be measured? I mean, how much does that play as a factor?
Chris Mercer: Yeah, great question. It's built into the measurement strategy for us. So we call it forecasting, right? We call it forecasting, but the idea is exactly that. You're basically saying, instead of like. What happened to all the money we spent on paid ads last week, right? And which is what most marketers are asking. What happened last week to all that money we spent?
What we do is we say, what's going to happen to the money we're going to spend next? And then we have a forecast of how the marketing is supposed to happen, how the things are supposed to work down to the percentages, right? So I can tell you, for example, like of everybody that loads the page, 90 percent stick around 10 seconds.
If it's lower than that, I have a problem. If it's higher than that, I probably You know, I might not have a problem, but it's probably not gonna be much higher than that. You sort of have some attrition. So it's about 90% of those, about 50 to 60 will, if it's a long form copy, are going to scroll down to the middle and really start investigating and showing interest in that copy messaging.
And then of those, by the time it's all said and done, let's say 8 to 12 percent make it to the cart. So I start to see sort of a breakdown of how the pipeline is supposed to be working on that page. And I'm measuring against that forecast. Right? So that's that's kind of the idea. And then what we're doing is if we have three or four different offers that are all being measured that way, they all have their forecasts, but one of them is doing really well and it's making it's hitting its forecast.
Maybe the other, the other one's not. That is where you can do your back to back comparison and say, well, listen, they're both getting Facebook traffic. Why is one doing better than the other? And you're like, well, let's run. Oh, maybe one's using words that and I've seen this a lot with our copyright. We've done this as an experiment with a copyrighted, which has worked out great.
Which is when they write, they write very complicated words because they're writing, right? It's like writing feels like formal. And so they accidentally write these words. So what we did is we noticed this. It was one of these comparison things. We noticed there was a much simpler copy and we did this at the ad level. One of these ads had very simple copy.
The other ad had more complicated syllables, right? It was like longer words for the same thing. They were just bigger words. So what I did is I started having him read the copy. out loud as opposed to writing it.
So he would write it, but then he would read it. As he was reading it, he would realize he would hear now the complicated word and go like, wait, I'm never going to say that word in real life. So he would simplify the copy. That technique came from measurement because we measured, we saw that that comparison went, Oh, okay. Well, simple cells, right?
That's a cliche, but it's true. So it's like, what's, how do we make it simpler? Let's come up with a tactic. To help our copywriting team make simpler copy. That's more likely to sell and move the needle. And that's just one example of how we did that to your point, using that comparisons, but it's because we had the initial idea first of how it was supposed to work.
Unlocking Marketing Excellence: Exploring the Free Membership Toolbox
Alex Bond: Now, you know, you offer this academy and all these tools. I think I read for about a 20, 000 value, like really a 2, 000 price tag, something, something to that effect. But you also offer a free membership. Toolbox, right? Can you kind of expound on that a little bit?
Chris Mercer: Yeah, so the toolbox itself it is that strategy course So no matter what even if you're not interested in buying the academy doesn't matter get that strategy course because that's going to help you So that's what the toolbox is.
It'll cover the Metro marketing framework, give or take. It's about three and a half hours. It's a substantial course. All of our courses are like that. Some of them are larger, but that one's about three and a half hours. It's going to take some time to go through, but it will be so worth it. Cause it's going to help you think about measurement in a completely different way.
So you have that course, but the reason we call it the toolbox is because we also unlock. The members toolbox for those even the free members as well. So it's got a bunch of proprietary tools that we've built for our members and the other tools that we use back there and recommend.
Right now it's about 40 different tools, but there's ones back to like traffic tracking toolkit for how to track your traffic. There's one for building dashboards and how to make a really good dashboard template. There's one for, if you do a lot of split test optimism, optimizing or conversion rate optimization, a way to sort of measure and track all of that.
There's all sorts of stuff based on different tools for how to set up anything from a beginner's guide and setting up Google Analytics for, to using BigQuery for companies that are moving into creating data lakes and warehouses and all the other fun stuff that a lot of marketers have no ideas coming their way in a few short years.
So we're trying to keep things ahead. We wanted to make a resource that everybody could kind of. You know, essentially by once to get access to the courses and then continue to purchase if they want access to all of the support and the personal contact, but even if they didn't keep that, they at least have these resources that we're constantly improving.
You know, as best we can, you know, given the nature of how fast things change cause sometimes it does feel like an uphill battle, but that's what we do the toolbox membership for it. And honestly, it obviously from a marketing standpoint, give somebody a way in to the academy so they can see what's back there with just having access to certain parts, but if there are very, very valuable parts.
Alex Bond: Yeah. And once these businesses implement these tools and operations strategies and they work, then they'll see that it probably behooves pay for even better and more, you know?
Chris Mercer: That's the idea, right? You get an appetizer, you start realizing, oh, it's a pretty good restaurant. Maybe I want to go ahead and get a meal to, you know, so that is part of the absolutely right.