Measuring Marketing Initiatives

  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |

Last week, I got a call from my uncle! It was a call that made me smile. He had been reading my articles and he wanted me to help him with the site he is trying to put together for his business. It made me smile, because I wasnt exactly sure who he was one of those that read my articles.

Today, a good number of businesses are not sure how effective their marketing campaigns are. Yes we know that TV works, Radio Works, and it pays to advertise in the papers. But the role of marketing has moved from just advertising on any/all of these media to identifying which ones are the most effective for which campaigns. Businesses are cutting costs. And marketing costs get affected too. So your Chief Marketing Officer of today is usaully asked to tell the owners of the business which media work and which ones don't. Sadly (and it doesn't have to be this way), a good number of CMOs have not woken up the the reality of measuring which media work the best. And for those who are measuring, a lot of the tools they use are relatively qualitative (than quantitative). In this article, we shall look at two tools that do give marketing professionals today a good view of what works best:

  • Your company website: it is becoming the standard, today, for a company to include its site address in marketing communications. Then it progressed to including the specific address of the page that the advert is talking about (e.g. yourcompanysite.com/theproductyouareadvertising). The current trend is to have page addresses setup such that track what media is getting the most reach.
  • SMS: with the proliferation of mobile devices and the ability of a good number of people texting to all sorts of shortcodes, its no wonder that SMS is fast becoming a useful method to capture customer feedback.

So how does this work? Let's put our imaginative hats on (all characters in this story are fictituous and do not resemble anyone in real life and ...) : You own a company (THECOMPANY). And your site address is thecompany.com. You have just launched a new product called THEPRODUCT. So you have created a page on your website (thecompany.com/theproduct). You have chosen to advertise this product on taxis, on radio stations 1, 2 and 3. Your campaign works this way:

  • People who see your ads on taxis are told to either visit thecompany.com/taxi or SMS the word taxi to a shortcode to find out more.
  • Those who listen to radio station 1 are told to go to thecompany.com/radio1 or SMS radio1 to know more. Its thecompany.com/radio2 and text radio2; and thecompany.com/radio3 and text radio3 for those who listen to radio stations 2 and 3 respectively.
  • The same principle can be applied to any media (TV, Billboard) and you can reduce to any level of granualrity that you desire.

The trick though, is that all these pages redirect to thecompany.com/theproduct. A good website has counters (ask the person who built your site) and statistics at the back-end. And you can ask for how many unique people went to each of the addresses you advertised. Also, you need to keep count of unqiue people sent an SMS to your advertised shortcode. This way you get an indication of which media is doing more than the other. As you get better at this, you can also begin to define campaigns that help you determine which customer segments are reached better by some media than others (its guesswork for a lot of marketing staff in big organizations, if they want to be honest about it). As an example, you can actually determine if Old people listen to radio station a more than they read newpaper y. The benefit? Next time you know what media to use to advertise a product has features that can attract a particular customer type. Things can be as straightforward as this. But there are some considerations for embarking on campaigns like the one described here:

  1. You need to be sure that you know what you want to do for people who send you SMS. Most businesses call the customer back to do a follow up and possibly get a sale. Some others have gotten themselves a nice SMS application that allows them to send and receive messages to/from the customer to determine the interest level. Others (and this is my favourite) entice the customer with a potential for reward. This always gets people going.
  2. Decide on what it would cost the customer to send you the SMS. This can be free (in which case, your business would bear the costs of receiving those messages); it can be a standard rate that the network charges for SMS; or it can be premium (your customers must really be excited about sending you an SMS for them to want to pay more than what their network charges for a message!).
  3. Make sure you get your communication and web/WAP/mobile development teams to align. This is the biggest challenge in most cases. And the major reason is that these two teams speak different languages. So it can be like building the Tower Of Babel to get them to work together. But it is possible, and the results can be fantastic!

I end this article by saying that your business is like your child: you cannot decide that because you can't relate with the things that your child is used to, you won't come down to his/her level to try and understand. The same way you cannot decide that all this web and SMS stuff is too techie for you to understand. This is part of the feedback I gave my Uncle when he called to talk to me about building his website. Like every other business, your business is first and foremost a marketing and sales business. The only difference is that you are marketing and/or selling a particular product(s) or service(s). Do let me know if you need help with any of the concepts talked about here and in my previous articles. They are listed on the right hand side or top of this page.

Rate this Article:
  • Article Word Count: 1014
  • |
  • Total Views: 165
  • |
  • permalink
  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |
>