One of the most important steps of tactical marketing is tracking your results. I am amazed at how few businesses track the results of ads and marketing pieces. Collecting data on your ads is quite simple but often met with such resistance by those on the front lines of selling that it falls through the cracks and valuable metrics are lost.
It’s not good enough that you have a great ad that gets an initial good response. It’s also a waste of money to spend on ads that may not bring enough response to make the return on investment (ROI) positive.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of simple ways to track your ads. Let’s say you place an ad in the newspaper, another in a local magazine and one more in an email blast. When someone purchases you can ask where they found you — they will either tell you one of those places or that a friend recommended them or that they just “walked in.”
One way to track is to simply put a notepad with these choices next to the register and have your sales staff simply put a tick-mark next to the one answered. If you have a point of sale system you can often find a record where the answer can be entered as the sale is being made. Either way you will have metrics so you can soon find out which methods are the most effective. There is a chance they are all equally effective, but you may be surprised at how ineffective some are. You can then take action and move your advertising dollars to the method that is most effective — increasing your ROI.
If you’re like most companies, you change your ads periodically so it’s not good enough to rely on where the prospect/customer found you. Each ad should have a specific identification number or offer that is unique so that you can track the specific ad and find out which ones are more effective. Often just changing the headline can bring better results.
If you have response marketing pieces like brochures, fliers, CDs, DVDs, Web pages, reports, etc., you should track results from those as well. Make it a policy to track every marketing and advertising piece you create.
The hardest part is convincing your sales staff to collect the data consistently. It should be part of new and ongoing employee training, and either incentives given or enforcement through quarterly reviews as part of the job description. This data is worth as much to your business as the product or service that you sell. Without it you are shooting in the dark with your marketing and advertising.
Whether you use the marketing equation I have discussed in past articles, this is something you must do to bring better ROI in your marketing and advertising.
Also published in the Napa Register