Big ‘How To’ of Evaluating Your Marketing Efforts
As I continue to reflect on the past year, today’s bright blue Calgary skies and excitement about seeing the Olympic Torch come through our abundant city, I thought I’d share some top tips on keeping positive marketing momentum. And I’m going to tell you how to do this by putting you to work on evaluating where have come from. By doing this, you will know how to go forward!
So get a piece of paper! On that paper, on the left side write in a column:
- why did or didn’t it work?
- does it matter?
- do I want to do it again?
- what do I keep the same?
- what do I change?
At the top of the page, make two headlines beside these questions. The headlines will say:
- what worked
- what didn’t work
Now set that piece of paper aside and take out your business plans, marketing plans, brainstorming notes and gut instincts from the past campaign or past year. Grab a new page and get ready to start jotting notes to address the bullet points below.
Evaluating Your Marketing Efforts – “What” have you done?
- evaluate the revenue and profitability of each campaign – did you set a goal and how did you do?
- evaluate the revenue and profitability of a quarter, half year and full year of business – same question, did you set a goal and how did you do?
- look at your customer database – did you gain customers, did you lose customers, does it matter if your revenue and profit increased, is it a reason why if they didn’t?
- look at your potential customer list – did your overall network and marketing opportunity increase in a measurable way, can you see opportunities from the past that you can put into place for the future?
- how many campaigns did you run, what kind were they and what was the result? Did you gain customers? Did you gain awareness? Do you know?
- use the tools you have in place to measure your business – web analytics, phone inquiries, email inquiries, sales leads, actual sales, visits
- look back at what personal and business goals and visions you set for the year – did you meet them? come close? did they change along the way? are you happy with what you accomplished?
Evaluating Your Marketing Efforts – “Why” did your efforts work or not work?
- did you put enough time into planning? was anything implemented well or poorly because of the time put into it?
- how professional was your effort and did this play a role in response?
- how is your accounting and tracking of customers set up and did you put the right tools into place to manage the ‘business of your business’?
- did you DIY your business in areas where you should have hired an expert? did you hire the right experts? did you get the right training?
- did you make any marketing ‘spends’? Was it in a budget? Was it ‘cost-recovered’?
- did you spend the appropriate amount on marketing? too much or too little?
- did you get ‘results’ from advertising and other marketing efforts (new business, new awareness, other?), awareness is a key element of long-term success… do you know if something generated awareness even if you didn’t get ‘hard’ results
- did you meet the expectations of your customers?
- did you set your goals appropriately in the first place?
- did you continue with commitments that weren’t appropriate?
- did you miss opportunities that were appropriate?
Evaluating Your Marketing Efforts – Moving Forward
Now take that table I had you make and start filling out from the notes you just completed. Be deeply and truly honest with yourself. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. And start identifying not just ‘what’ worked and didn’t, but ‘why’. Deep within every campaign that has ‘numbers’ that didn’t turn out as you’d like (low response, low profit) are some REASONS… the reasons may lie with you personally, your brand, your effort, your infrastructure, your budgeting, your staff, your planning, your customer service, your pricing, your business model. The ‘why’ deserves way more discussion than I can write in a single blog post. But it is the most important part for you to reflect on.
I’m leaving you with this today. First, it is CRITICAL to evaluate your business successes and missteps frequently in your business. Use the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ and then make CHANGE. Don’t be so committed to your goals that you are inflexible to the opportunity to succeed. Second, if it was difficult to complete what I asked you to complete throughout this blog, I’d challenge you to set up better benchmarks right now. Make a list of measurable and non-measurable goals, expectations, hopes, dreams for your business in general. And then a smaller set on a shorter timeline. Try setting montly benchmarks or campaign benchmarks. It doesn’t take too much time to do it from the start and sure makes evaluating easier. It also tells your story a bit better too!