One of my clients asked me to comment on how small to medium businesses could know whether their marketing was working – how to measure the success of marketing. This is a big topic and not one I can cover in a few paragraphs. When you read some of the things you can be doing, they are not mind-blowing, but marketing often is about doing the simple things, being logical and analytical – but being rigorous. Here are some pointers that may help remind you what you can be doing. There are two different types of marketing activity in my view and people often think only of one:
1) Brand & Strategy: Long term strategy, branding, positioning your company so that people understand your value, creating new ways for people to interact with you and hear about you
2) Lead Generation: This is the activity you do, such as events, webinars, email or social campaigns that brings in names of people that are potential customers for your business
Both branding and strategy and lead generation need to be done in parallel – you cannot do one without the other – since there is no point in doing lots of activity and driving people to your website, if they get there and don’t understand what you do or why it helps them. Equally, if you create a great brand and message but no one hears about you, you will not get the leads you need to grow the business.
The first – branding and strategy – is often hard to measure. One easy thing you can do is ask customers about their perceptions. I find this immensely insightful and provides more information than you expected, if you ask the right questions. If you had large budgets, you could do focus groups to understand awareness etc – but most companies don’t have large marketing budgets – hence why it can be difficult to measure. Web stats can also give an insight here and how they change over time. People often think marketing is about advertising. This is one element that you may or may not get into, within your chosen markets, but again is difficult to measure, but can have a lasting effect in the background perceptions of your target audience.
For the second type – lead generation – this is something much easier to measure, but people often don’t. This happens in all sizes of businesses, so you are not alone if you don’t. Businesses are often busy doing things, but they don’t measure which activity worked and which didn’t. As I say, it’s a big topic as there are so many different areas you can measure. But look at the number of website visits after any campaign, how many people came to the specific landing page you set up and how many converted into real business. If you go to an event, measure the total number of contacts you made and how many of those transpire into business. Then the value of that business – and you can see whether the cost of attending that event was justified by the long or short term business you brought in. When it comes to assessing whether to do it next year, you have the stats at your fingertips.
Go through each marketing activity you have tried and pull together stats in a similar way, so you can compare activities against each other and that helps you see clearly what is and is not working. And it very importantly helps you prioritise where you marketing efforts and spend should go in the next year.
Ask yourself, are you measuring the success of the things you are doing? Could you easily say which activity is working and which is not? It’s worth doing so, for best results, impact and use of budget. As ever, I am always happy to discuss this if you want to get in touch.