When it comes to marketing, you've done everything right. You've hired a skilled creative team to produce a full set of slick, visually appealing marketing materials. You've purchased ad space in an array of industry—specific periodicals and media. You may have even ventured into the brave new world of social networking to stake your firm's claim in the virtual realm. But even after pouring a good deal of time and resources into your marketing message and brand identity, your firm still hasn't achieved the kind of growth that you've envisioned.
Even the best marketing efforts sometimes fall flat, and in tough economic times such as these, it can be very difficult to connect with new prospects and clients. But if you've put a lot of thought and consideration into designing your marketing campaign and you still haven't seen much in return, it may be the metrics you're using—rather than the marketing materials themselves—that are the real root of your problem.
You see, if you're using flawed methods to assess and identify your target market and the most effective ways to reach them, even the most compelling marketing message in the world is likely to fall flat. Are you ready to tune up your firm's marketing efforts? Use this checklist to help determine whether your marketing metrics are on track.
Gather solid "before and after" data. The most common mistake that firms make when it comes to marketing metrics is failing to keep detailed, long-term sales records. In order to gauge the efficacy of your marketing efforts, you need to be able to understand how your business tends to perform before, during, and after different types of campaigns.
Use a coupon code or specific discount offer to track the effectiveness of print ads. One of the most effective methods of tracking buyer behavior is also one of the simplest. In order to determine how many new prospects were influenced by a recent campaign, use a specific offer or discount code that's only referred to in a single advertisement. That way, you'll have a fairly effective way of assessing the reach and influence of each spot.
Solicit referral information from new prospects and clients. Wondering how new prospects and clients are finding their way to your door? Well, why not just ask them? Although it's a very basic technique, referral tracking is another great way to gain insight into the factors and variables that persuade customers to investigate your product offerings.
Develop concrete goals and desired outcomes for each campaign. Often, firms tend to fall back on somewhat vague objectives for their marketing efforts, such as "generate new referrals" or "increase market share." However, these nebulous goals do not provide enough detailed information to serve as effective marketing metrics. Instead, develop very specific goals for each campaign, such as "generate 100 new referrals" or "increase revenue by 10%." That way, the success or failure of each campaign will be much easier to define.
Assess the ROI of each campaign at regular intervals. Market analysis is an ongoing process, rather than a one-time event. Schedule a timeline for assessing the metrics of each campaign, such as three months, six months, nine months, and a year after kick-off. Remember to allow enough time for the campaign to begin to have an appreciable impact before running your first analysis.
How does your firm measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts? Which metric gives you the clearest picture of each campaign's success? Give us your feedback in the comments.