What difference does it make? The importance of tracking customer response
Valcort’s 35 Keys to Business Growth: #21 We have specific, consistent ways we collect data
and track customer response to every advertising, marketing and sales effort. We use this information to measure our marketing and sales efficiency and effectiveness.
For more than 10 years we have been asking executives to rate their companies’ performance in each of 35 best practices. One that is consistently troublesome to companies large and small is #21-- tracking customer response to sales and marketing efforts. It’s a thorny problem.
Companies faithfully measure production, profit margins, overall sales, and many other metrics. But ask them how well an advertising campaign is doing, how effective their marketing is, or if their reputation is getting better or worse, and most company leaders are vague, fuzzy, uncertain, even mute.
Most companies simply don’t spend the money or the time necessary to measure response at a granular level, even when they spend a good deal of money to communicate.
Why is that? Here are a few reasons:
- We don’t understand some marketing measurements. It’s not that we don’t see marketing as important. We just don’t recognize the value of marketing measurements, and readings on public attitudes and inclinations can be hard to come by.
- We think it’s expensive. Sometimes we believe that in order to measure marketing we will need to shell out a massive amount of cash. This is rarely the case. Tracking marketing campaigns can be affordable and customized to meet specific needs. We may spend thousands of dollars every year on advertising, but do we really know how much business it is driving – if any? By tracking our marketing, we will know more about how effective these campaigns are and where we should invest our marketing dollars to maximize ROI. Here’s the real question: What is more expensive? Measuring marketing or throwing away thousands of dollars on campaigns that aren’t producing results?
- We don’t know what to track. As far as marketing is concerned, we often don’t know what we should be measuring. We understand the importance of advertising and attracting new customers but we have no idea how to gauge the success of our efforts.
- We don’t know what tools to use. Learning about the latest marketing options is important, but having an understanding of the tools that measure marketing is also necessary. Using the right tools can help us conserve advertising spend and optimize results.
How to track the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns
There are several steps that are involved when it comes to tracking the results online campaigns. Here are some examples of the way many companies do it these days.
- Plan the campaign and how you want to track it. As with anything that we do that is related to business, or all of life for that matter, it needs to start with a well thought-out plan. Once the marketing campaign is planned, decide which methods to use to track its effectiveness.
- Define the channels you want track. To measure the success of a campaign, divide marketing-derived online traffic channels, such as:
- Direct – potential customers that find your business without being directed there by other parties. An example of this is a person that saw your web address on a print ad and typed it into their web browser to get information about your product or service.
- Referral –potential customers that find their way to your site via a third party, but not a social media site or a search engine. Maybe your company will give the third party something like a referral bonus for this or you have an agreement to have links to each other’s sites on your individual websites.
- Organic –people who find your company through search engine such as Google. They generally were looking for a type of product or service your company offers, but they were not specifically looking for your company.
- E-mail –people that came to you through such things as an e-mail campaign that you conduct.
- Paid – potential customers that come to you as a result of an ad campaign that you paid for such as a print ad in a newspaper or an ad on a web content site.
- Social –people who found you while surfing through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook (and dozens of others).
- Define the online measurements. Here are some measures that are relevant to marketing strategy.
- SEO Position – For years, many businesses have been obsessed with site ranking but that is starting to change as search engines like Google are constantly changing the way searches are done when using them. But SEO position is still very important.
- Pay-per-click ads – This is best done by what is known as ‘Dynamic Number Insertion’. It is a code that is imbedded into a webpage that will help you to track conversions from all of your tracking resources.
- Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Social Media Marketing – All of the major social media sites have built-in analytics that helps you track the effectiveness of your posts and other messages that you put on them.
Here are some of the most popular tools that can help you track the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns.
How to Track Offline Marketing Campaigns
If you place ads in print magazines or newspapers, have a commercial on TV, pass out brochures or pamphlets, exhibit at conferences, have a billboard on the side of the road, or utilize vehicle wraps, then you may already be struggling with measuring your offline marketing results. Here are a few easy ways to track offline promotions.
- Phone call tracking -- Put different phone number on each campaign communication, and track incoming calls. Call tracking services allow you to determine which ad or campaign is driving phone traffic, and forward calls as necessary. Firming up this end of the process will help you stop losing leads due to response delays, and will enable you to be everywhere and still at work.
- Custom Landing Pages -- One of the best ways to track your offline promotions online is by using custom landing pages specifically created for your offline marketing campaigns. By creating custom landing pages, you can focus on the main goal of the ad and target it toward the audience type that would be coming from your offline marketing campaign.
- Redirect Domains -- Another way to track your offline promotions is by using domains specifically created to redirect visitors to custom landing pages on your main website. Make the domains memorable.
- Direct Traffic -- Measure direct traffic in Google Analytics, which shows the visitors who could not be traced to other online sources, such as search engines, social networks, or other referring websites. The downside to this approach is that your website is always receiving direct traffic from people who bookmark the site or maybe just type it directly into their browser’s address bar.
The most important step is the first one. Get started in your efforts to measure the success of your marketing and communications. The things we measure are the things we improve. It is only by clear tracking and collecting data that we have any idea if we are getting better or worse. Tracking can help us spend that time in better ways, more consistently.