Marketing can be fun. Creating ads, attending events, giving talks at industry events and local venues can all be all fun. However, sometimes we get so involved in the fun of marketing that we don’t take the time to measure the effectiveness of our marketing.
It’s important to understand where your marketing is being successful and where it is not, so those resources may be reallocated. Instead of just hoping that someone will walk in the door, consider using one of these methods to better understand your results.
Analysts – There are plenty of analyst groups who will be happy to work with you to test the market, compare you to your competition and report the results.
These can be expensive. However, they have access to a variety of sources that may be inaccessible for someone outside of the field and they have the staff to do it. This is their business and they are good at it, and they will provide professional reports that can be shared with your management team.
Focus Groups – Although they might seem old-fashioned, focus groups are still successfully utilised by many companies. You can hire a research company with a database of people who are interested in attending a focus group (for a fee) or invite your own customers. Based on the information you give them, the a research company will send a survey to those on their database to qualify them and determine their availability.
You then work with the research company to develop a list of questions and they will help compile and analyse the results. This is also an expensive, but effective option.
Surveys – Surveys are still effective, but with the popularity of the Internet it’s getting harder to get people to respond. You might need to offer an incentive and the best surveys are short and can be sent, given and returned online.
Consider using a service such as Survey Monkey (www.surveymonkey.com) to reach out to the marketplace to determine the effectiveness of your marketing. Understand that only a small percentage of surveys may be returned, so it is important to send out a large enough sample to be able to make some clear decisions based on the results.
Blogging – There is nothing like reaching out to your market and asking them directly about the effectiveness of your tactics. Before starting the blog, be prepared with questions and response. People are always ready to offer an opinion. However, be prepared for the truth as they see it.
Keep Track and Pay Attention! – You may be the most effective person to measure the success of your marketing tactics. Ask people how they heard about you, and keep track of the answers. Find out how many people are viewing your website. Note how many people attend your presentations, teleconferences and blogs. At the end of each event, give a short survey to determine the effectiveness of the event. Of course, the bottom line of the results of marketing is an increase in sales, but which tactic made those sales increase? That is the question.
Too often, when asked, how effective is your marketing, the answer is, “um…good, I guess. I’m not really sure.”
Marketing is too expensive and too critical to your business to not understand its effectiveness.