It’s a simple question yet often met with a complicated answer. And it can be particularly challenging to really know if your marketing is working when your goal is brand awareness or behavioural change, a less immediate and tangible goal to achieve and measure. When it comes to finding out whether your marketing plan is working, well, data – qualitative or quantitative – is the key. There’s four quick and easy ways to check the data to find out if your marketing is hitting the mark.
1. Online analytics
There’s plenty of it and it’s built into your website and social media platforms. For your website, the most popular is Google Analytics and with this you can easily access key information such as traffic or visitors to your site, where they are coming from, who’s a new visitor versus a returning one and even the number of visitors who leave your website after only visiting one page.
2. Ask customers
This can be as simple as adding a customer question at the end of a call or sending a post service survey via email. The power of a simple yes/no answer or short rating scale response can provide a good base. The valuable information you can get by adding a ‘why’ question can’t be underestimated.
3. Ask your people
Hold a staff meeting or a small focus group. Even putting a poll on your intranet/yammer can help you get the information you need from your people quickly.
4. Sales figures
Look at your sales trends, number of inquiries versus proposals and closed business and review this against your recent marketing activity. If there’s been a big change, you may be able to see where your marketing is adding value and give yourself a pat on the back.
First things first
Before you can know if your marketing is working you need to set a measurable goal and know a way to measure that goal. For example, if your marketing goal is to increase sales by 10 percent, measure your sales before and after. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, things like social media engagement, mentions, web traffic and key attitudes have to be measured before and after. The key to measuring marketing success is having a benchmark. Other ways to set the benchmark is to determine, across your industry, what success looks like, or to align your marketing goal with the strategic plan.
What should you measure?
Combining both facts and figures (quantitative) and feelings and perceptions (qualitative) will give you a good holistic picture of how your marketing is performing. Qualitative data will help you get to the crux of the emotions, opinions, behaviours and attitudes – great for understanding your positioning and messaging. Quantitative data enables you to delve into those opinions or measure performance by providing numbers in order to benchmark success – good for understanding what piece of collateral or channels are performing over others.
It can be done
Of course, there are many variables that can affect your measure of success. However, if you put a goal in place, then take the time to gather data and undertake analysis, you should be able to make a well-informed call – is my marketing working or not?