I often stress the importance of identifying target audiences and conducting significant research to choose the best advertising mediums to reach these groups. But well-run marketing programs continue the analysis after an advertising plan has been implemented to ensure good performance and respond to changes in the market place.
Once you are in the field with an advertising program, tracking in-bound leads and sales activity is essential in measuring the program. While sales is the most important measurement of your success, you need to look at other indicators early on in your program. Moving the sales needle takes time. You should develop a way to ask new or potential customers how they heard of your company or product. Use this type of tracking as simply a barometer and not your sole success indicator, as lead tracking can produce phantom results.
For example, customers may hear of you first from a print or broadcast ad, but then go to your website. So it’s possible that many respondents with media lead tracking to give incomplete answers or just say they heard of you “from the web” and not mention your print ad or billboard – but then again, they are the customer, and this is not their job. Simply use this type of data as one of your measurement tools. Remember, I frequently write about the total media mix working together.
Another fantastic way to measure the success of your advertising program is to coupon your ads. Print, direct mail and even radio are mediums through which you can successfully ask customers to use a coupon code when placing an order. Just make sure to provide a meaningful offer that they will actually use.
And make no mistake, digital advertising, like Google AdWords and online display ads that target your select audiences, is the most trackable medium. This type of advertising is contextually relevant to people who are either looking for your product or service, or fit the profile of who you believe will most likely buy your product or service. If your website is set up right, you can even track sales conversions. Wow – that will keep the finance people in your company off your back!
In the end, do your research upfront, before you start an advertising campaign, but leverage tools to track how your media mix is working. Then amend your program as needed.