Don’t allow a failing campaign strategy to play out. It comes down to having real-time data to drive informed and timely decisions. Sometimes that means pulling the plug or making adjustment before your promotions budget is history.
A campaign is a “series” of ads with a “unified theme” designed to lift brand recognition and, subsequently, increase sales and share. In the past, most large-cap companies put their budgets into “institutional branding.” Which is not intended to generate an immediate response; rather, it is expected to establish stronger brand recall. Now we’re seeing more of the big boys going the “direct response” route because direct response advertising is much easier to measure.
Even though we’re moving past the “great recession” advertising drought, “accountability” has become more vital than ever before. The big brands no longer tolerate failing campaigns; they’re now more quickly making adjustments?
Tracking sales back to each advertising channel, to determine return-on-investment (ROI), is essential for every enterprise…large and small. That may sound obvious; however, in my 33 years of working with small and midsize businesses, I can share with certainty that less than half consistently measure the results of their advertising investments.
Here is the key to applying more accountability in your advertising program. Identify measurement metrics and milestones before your campaign launches. Following is a simple four-step system.
1. Establish realistic objectives, timelines and budget. What are you trying to accomplish: an increase in awareness, sales, share, margin, your database?
2. Decide on what you’ll measure: inquiries, qualified leads, referrals, sales, gross margin? Eventually, it all boils down to results.
3. Determine key milestones. Decide where along the campaign timeline you’ll assess whether you need to change the message, media or pull out altogether.
4. With staff, set up a tracking system. Too many times, management comes up with a system that the frontline won’t or can’t implement.
- Do you have a measurement system in place that is consistently used?
- Who is charged with gathering, entering and analyzing the data?
- How often do you evaluate and act on that data?
If any of your answers to the questions above begin with and “N” (No, Nobody and Never), then follow the four steps outlined in this post. I assure you, measurement will improve your ROI.
Andrew Ballard is the president of Marketing Solutions, a Seattle area agency that developsresearch-based growth strategies for small to midsize businesses. He has over 30 years experience specializing in marketing research, strategic planning, brand development and revenue generation. Ballard has helped hundreds of organizations (from startups through Fortune 500 companies) realize significant growth.
Andrew is a graduate of the Ford Marketing Institute and Certified in Six Sigma. He is also a respected author and educator. His articles on marketing strategy have been published in business journals through all 50 States. His first book, entitled Your Opinion Doesn’t Matter, recently released to rave reviews in both corporate and academic circles. In addition, he is adjunct faculty at the University of Washington.
He can be reached at 425-337-1100 or www.mktg-solutions.com