Q: I want to know a way of quantifying how effective my marketing budget and spend is and whether my business is benefiting from it. What's your advice?
A: Your strategy is the most important part to making the most of your budget. The right way forward looks different for every industry, but there's a process to it.
If you are a startup or small business, be very conscious of the prevalence of new media in marketing. If you're not there, you're way behind. Social media, online advertising, video blogging and so on are all parts of the new way of getting your message out there.
Know what you want to measure, set a strategy, establish expectations and measure it as you go. Return to beginning and repeat.
Start by listing your objectives. These might indicate your key profit drivers or other outcomes you are looking to achieve. Understand what behaviours you need to drive in your target audience to get these.
This will be more detailed than "buy our stuff" and should reflect what your customers want to hear. If you don't have these insights into what constitutes value to your market, your messaging could be missing the mark completely.
Identify a strategy to promote the behaviour you want to see in customers, linking it to metrics you can capture. This might be web traffic, customer enquiries, social media stats, or simply cash through the till. Vary your core strategy to provide insights into what works.
Set expectations for the project. Break it down so you know what return on investment looks like and how it might behave as you improve the effectiveness of your marketing mix.
This can be correlated into a marketing dashboard, an easy format to combine and view the metrics that drive performance, enabling measurement and analysis as you go. How does a change in metrics impact the bottom line? It's all very well improving eyeballs if you don't know what that does to sales.
The role of technology cannot be overstated in this. Delivering, measuring and analysing marketing efforts is becoming much lower cost, easier and more fathomable with off-the-shelf software and online solutions. Professional advice can be money well spent, but these days you can go a long way on your own first.
- Steve O'Connor is CEO of Creative HQ, Wellington's entrepreneurship and startup incubator.
A: There are a number of ways to measure the success of promotional activities. Either have a trace component in the campaign or simply ask clients at the time of purchase how they found out about you.
An example of a trace component in the online world is using specific campaign landing pages or use one of the myriad of web analytic tools available today. Or you could use a coupon or txt number to link the campaign source and the customer.
Measuring marketing in the more complete sense, beyond promotional, activities will come from your long term profitability and return on investment.
- Mark Robotham is an SME business adviser. Website: growthmanagement.co.nz
If you want to ask a question of either of our experts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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