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June 7, 2012

The One Thing you Must Do to Measure your Marketing

There are three primary parts to executing your marketing & sales initiative.

The first is planning… all of that research, thinking, strategy and the details.

Next comes the execution… actually doing all of the things you set out to do in the plan – on time and on budget.

Some firms (but not nearly enough) go through the planning process.  Most firms handle the execution reasonably well.  And almost no one does the third part – measurement.

In marketing, you must measure your results.  Why?  Simple… to see what’s working and what’s not.  If it’s working, do more of it.  If it’s not working – stop doing it.  Years ago, the founder of a large department store was quoted as saying, “50% of my advertising dollars are wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which 50%.”  That is a situation you do not want to find yourself in.

Measuring your marketing isn’t always easy… it takes time and effort and, in many cases, is a hard thing to do.  Under the assumption that you don’t want to invest in Marketing Automation Software (MAS), here are a few easy things you should always be doing to measure your marketing:

  • Use Google Analytics to track website activity
  • Use a third-party e-mail platform to not only measure how many of your emails were opened, but actually WHO opened them
  • Use a CRM platform to track sales activity and manage your sales funnel
  • Use lead capture forms when exhibiting at a conference
  • Track your social media numbers daily: Facebook ‘likes’, Twitter ‘followers’, etc.

And when all else fails… when you just don’t get around to doing any of those other things… or when you invest in  marketing that’s difficult to measure (prints ads, for example), the one thing you MUST do is ask the HYHAU question…

How’d you hear about us?

Foolproof?  No.  But if everyone in your company who talks to prospective clients (particular in sales, marketing and senior management) were to ask that question and track the responses (on a simple ‘tick’ sheet), within a month or two, you’d have a pretty good understanding of which of your marketing efforts were paying off.

Easy.  No Cost.  Effective.

The Bonus info: Asking, ‘How’d you hear about us?’ is a great way to begin to get your arms around the efficacy of your marketing.  But to get even more useful information, you might need to ask a second question…

Suppose a prospective client answers the HYHAU question with, “I saw your ad in a magazine.”  Great start.  But what if you had ads running in three magazines at the same time?  If that’s the case, simply ask a quick follow-up question, “Do you remember in which magazine?”  Then record the answer and move on.  Asking both questions will not only show you which marketing channel is most effective, but within that channel, which specific vehicle worked the best.

Marketing is simple… but it ain’t easy.  And in this case, the hard part is simply getting into the habit of asking the HYHAU question and recording the results.  But once you do, you’ll have a distinct competitive advantage over 90% of the firms who simply don’t take the time to measure their efforts.

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