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April 2, 2012

The One Question You Need to Ask to Improve Your Marketing

On our website, we write about the Marketing Loop.  The Marketing Loop is the foundation for the process we follow in all of our marketing & sales plan development and coaching work with clients.

The idea of the Loop means that your marketing is planned and executed, results are measured, recommendations are made from what is learned and it’s done a little better the next time.  That is, it’s a process of continual improvement.

And the part of the process that seems the most difficult for nearly all organizations is ‘measurement.’  Why?  I think measurement is perceived as difficult because it requires nearly as much discipline as the execution of the marketing tactics themselves.

Think about it… in your marketing program, you could be utilizing print & online advertising, email marketing, a sales team, 2 or 3 social media sites and trade show exhibiting – all at the same time.  That’s a lot to keep up with.

But there is an easy way to “cover your bases” if managing the measurement of each of your marketing tactics becomes a bit too much too handle.

Try this… every time someone calls to request information or an RFP, ask, “How did you hear about us?”  That’s it!  That’s the magic question!  Then make sure to track the responses.  You should even have it as a drop-down question on any online forms that you use.

No, this is not nearly as detailed and accurate as some of the technology solutions (marketing automation software) available today… but if you’re not ready or willing to make that kind of financial or operational commitment, this is a no-cost way to get some pretty decent estimates as to how your marketing initiatives are performing.  Just make sure that everyone at your firm who might answer the phone is prepared to do this.

Note: At times, you may need to ask a follow-on question.  Let’s say that you have banner ads running on four different websites simultaneously and the response to the magic question is “I saw your ad online.”  The follow-on question might be, “Do you remember which website?”

This simple marketing process is an easy way to gain a competitive advantage because there’s a very good chance that your competitors aren’t doing anything at all when it comes to marketing measurement.

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