Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How to measure the impact of your marketing

You can measure marketing effectiveness in many ways but the most important step you can take is to establish clearly the measurement objectives before the creative brief is agreed.

The earlier in the process this is decided, the easier it becomes for everyone concerned. If everyone ‘buys into’ and is in firm agreement with the objectives, they are more likely to be happy with the end result.

You need to work out from the offset the desired response you want from your target audience and no campaign should be started without undertaking this planning stage.

This is far more important than what the campaign looks like and part of this planning is to understand how your target audience will interact with your campaign. By spending time working out what you expect from your audience and how they will react to the campaign will enable you to set short, medium and long term measurable objectives for the campaign.

Once deliverables are set, it is essential to spend time ensuring that effective monitoring processes are in place. We all know that the measureable responses can vary - from website hits rates, to the numbers of telephone or sales calls or returned promotion forms, but whatever response you choose to measure, you must remember to track them continually against the agreed targets.

The more transparent you are in terms of campaign measurement, the more likely you will be to exceed your targets as you will know exactly the stage you are at and what you have left to achieve.

To make life easier, marketers should really plan campaign measurement before the campaign starts and integrate into this planning a way of exceeding expectations. Make sure that the responses are visible and as easy to collect as possible. Simple touches, such as setting up dedicated microsites to support a brand campaign, where hits are fully accountable to the campaign, work well; or setting up a dedicated phone number for the same purpose, greatly aid the collection of results.

However, one area that is far less simple to measure is the impact of a campaign in terms of measuring the audience’s reaction in emotional terms. Conducting in-depth focus groups or market research is one way of measuring this and new media analysts would advocate the use of Facebook research and Google trends to gauge such a response.

But the bottom line is that the market capitalisation of any brand is still around 60% unquantifiable because we cannot accurately measure ‘brand value’. An example would be the Sony Bravia campaign.

The first execution (‘balls’) had an emotional quality that left you warm to the brand. The second and third executions (‘paint’ and ‘play-doh’) have tried to apply the box-ticking qualities of the first ad, but just don’t have that initial tug.

Whether this impacts sales figures is another matter. This is one area of evaluation that will continue to evolve with improved technology and new media but with any campaign a marketer can stay one step ahead by planning in advance and sticking to the brief.

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