Never stop measuring your success
Q. How can I measure whether the money I'm spending on marketing is really working?
A. Measuring the success of your marketing requires defining what "success" means to you ahead of time. This means your planning process should include plans for tracking the effectiveness of your campaign and what specific goals you want to reach.
For example, let's say you're opening a new location and want to get the word out. You decide to advertise in the local newspaper and send direct mail. Rather than simply putting your name out there and hoping the phone rings, define what action you want people to take and what your specific goals are.
Let's say you want people to visit your store and give you their contact information so you can start building a mailing list for that community. You could define "success" in this effort as gathering information on 50 new visitors in your first week.
As part of your ad and direct mail piece, create a "call to action" that encourages potential customers to stop by, such as offering a free gift for the first 50 people who visit. Instruct your staff to ask each person "How did you hear about us?" and keep track of that information just as closely as you do their address and phone number.
If you build measurement into every marketing campaign, you will gradually create a database that tells you how many prospects you've generated from each marketing tactic, what actions they took as a result, whether they became customers and how many sales resulted.
What if you find that what you're doing isn't working? Try a different tactic or a different message, but never stop measuring. There's always an element of trial and error to finding the marketing mix that works best for you.
Jennifer Keirn is the director of marketing communications for Roscoe Medical. Reach her at (440) 572-1962 or email@example.com.