Measuring Your Marketing Success

The vast majority of business owners know that they can’t just start marketing something and hope that it works. As I have told many of my clients before – and it is worth repeating – no good strategy ever includes the words “hope and pray”. Simply put, don’t do anything that you can’t measure. 

Some people in marketing will say your business needs to include a call to action message if you want to measure a media to see if it works. I say, “Wrong!” I say this because I believe that before you try to measure anything, you should define what exactly you are trying to accomplish to consider it successful. Perhaps success to you is opening a second location. If that is so, then what you want your success to be will determine a good part of your marketing message.

And that message to get your second location cannot just be about an immediate response. The marketing techniques that give you the most immediate response are a discount, coupon, or sale of some kind. Now while those can be beneficial, is that going to get you to your second location?  Probably not. But many business owners may purchase a large marketing campaign, run a sale, and then tell their marketing reps that it didn’t work. Why?  Because their success measurement was in opening a second location, not in generating an influx of customers.

Most business owners haven’t taken the appropriate time and thought about what success really looks and feels like to them, probably because no one has ever asked them.  Marketing has many different facets, but a good first step for business owners should be to start with the end result in mind in order to set your marketing plan up for success. 

If your vision of success looks like an increase of twenty percent in sales, then it is best to start with the end goal and work backwards. The “how” comes next. Will you do it through an increase in the amount of each sale your business incurs or through new, incremental business?  Once determined, you can then tailor a marketing message. Using traditional and social marketing to reach your existing customers can help your business increase its average ticket sale, however, you cannot accomplish an increase in new incremental customers by advertising to your existing clientele. Therefore, you should get very specific about your desired success and consult with a marketing professional about the best strategy to achieve that success. 

It is just as important that your vision of success must be realistic and something your staff can handle.  For instance, if your marketing strategy is to sell out of a certain item, do you have the staff to give customers a great experience and create a customer for life? Too many businesses run a sale or promotion because “business is slow” and they never see those new customers again after that promotion. Many times, this is due to poor staff planning. Having success after a promotion begins with having your staff ready for the promotion.

Think of it this way. What do you think success looks like to Apple? Is it every single person in the world using an Apple product? Probably not. I would venture to guess that success to Apple looks like a world where people view them as a brand that is visionary and the gold standard for everything else in their industry. At least that is what I think Steve Jobs would have called successful. Does their marketing reflect a message that everyone in the world needs to own an Apple product? Not even close. Quite simply their marketing message unquestionably emphasizes that the Apple brand is indeed visionary and that it really is the gold standard for their industry.

Two more important points of note on Apple: That message hasn’t changed over the years and they have never run a sale or promotion. Yet the success of Apple is the model of the computer, cell phone and MP3 worlds.  This vision of success is the result of Apple’s marketing message and the satisfied experiences of new and existing Apple owners. Jobs knew what success looked like to him and Apple didn’t waver from that vision.  Apple’s success was planned from the beginning of the marketing message, to the execution of the sale, and even after the sale. Why not use Apple’s model as a guide to your company’s vision of success?