Why Are Marketing Results So Hard to Measure?

Standard

It seems that the biggest argument for decreasing marketing budgets is that the results are impossible to measure. Without hardcore proof of ROI or ROO, how do you justify spending the time, effort and money on a marketing campaign?

Perhaps it is not the lack of statistics that is the problem. Measurable results are possible to achieve if the components are right. If the components are vague, or lackadaisically put together, then even the best laid marketing plan cannot yield measurable numbers.

The moral here is that, to achieve statistically relevant results, first there must be a cohesive plan that consists of:

1) a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goal.

2) a defined target market.

3) a message that speaks to that target market

4) a call-to-action

5) a way to measure the follow-through of the target market on the call-to-action.

For some, the problem in creating a metric system to determine the results is in not knowing what or how to measure. It can be as simple as tally marks when people call, using analytic tools to determine hits to a landing page, counting the number of responses you receive back in the mail, or how many people come by your trade show booth to carry out your pre-sent request.

Remember also that a measurable marketing campaign where the results are less expected may mean that it wasn’t the right campaign, not that marketing is a waste of time, money and effort. After all, sometimes our messaging is not where it needs to be or the product being offered doesn’t meet the demands of the marketplace. Can you say “New Coke”?

What’s in a Name?

Standard

I recently saw an old networking group cohort of mine who told me that the group is considering changing its name because they feel their branding is non-existent. Although I don’t disagree with that feeling, I also don’t believe that changing the name will bring them the hordes of new members they are hoping for.

The facts of the case:

  1. This is an independent group – no affiliations to any of the national or international networking organizations or to any Chamber of Commerce.
  2. They have been around for 6+ years. One of the founding members is still active in the group with other members being around for 1 – 5 years.
  3. They are currently at fewer than a dozen members from a high of about 19 members.
  4. Marketing efforts are sporadic and half-hearted at best. With little to no budget for serious marketing efforts and the complete reliance on volunteers to spread the word, most of the marketing tactics employed by the group are lackluster and only halfway done. (Granted, I take a good deal of responsibility for that, as the marketing professional who was in the group; however, my first responsibility was to my paying clients, including similar types of organizations.)

The thought seems to have arisen that a change in name will change the fortunes of this group. The name (no, I won’t mention it here), speaks directly to what the group does, much as BNI’s name does. I’m not sure what name they can come up with that would more clearly state the purpose of the group.

It seems to me that a concerted marketing effort needs to be made by this group. Whether they hire someone to carry it out, or assign specific tasks to individual members and hold them accountable for their completion, or just work more diligently on inviting the people in their own circles of influence to come check out the group; there is a better solution than changing the name and hoping for a branding miracle.

Personally, I think the group is wonderful. The longevity of most of the members makes for a friendly, close-knit group who know a lot about each other. The level of professionalism is very high, even though the meetings are fun.

Looking for an amazing networking group (7:00 am – 8:30 am) in the central San Diego area? Contact me and I can point you in the right direction!

Determining Your Target Market

Standard

I have too often heard sales people and business owners say that their target market is “everyone.” No matter how useful, ubiquitous, inexpensive, or absolutely necessary a product or service is, “everyone” is never any company’s target market. In fact, if you’re trying to get referrals from people, one of the worst things you can say is that “everyone” is your target market. It makes people tune out because why should they go to the effort of referring business to you if you should have no problem getting business from “everyone” else.

A well-defined primary target market is the lynchpin of a successful marketing campaign. It focuses the time, energy and resources you put into the plan to maximize the results. Without a pre-identified target market, how do you put together a marketing campaign that will cause people to complete your call to action? How do you reach the people that you need to reach? You will generally spend more money reaching people who are not interested in what you are offering and then have to spend more time, energy and resources trying to rectify a “bad” campaign.

There are two types of target markets: 1) One that is based on the established patterns of your best customers. 2) One that is based on a new audience you are trying to break into, but have not yet succeeded in converting into customers.

The best way to identify the first type is to take a look at the top 20% of you customers based on revenues and determine what they have in common. It could be demographic identifiers, psychographic trends, a referral source, or some combination of all three. Once you have determined the commonalities that your top 20% share, you’ve identified your target market. Now, you may find that you also have a well-defined secondary and perhaps even a tertiary target market. You may be able to market to all three with similar, is slightly differentiated methods or you may need radically different approaches to all.

If you’ve identified an audience for your product or service that you haven’t been able to break into successfully, you once again need to identify what they have in common. The commonalities is what will enable you to design a campaign that will resonate with the majority of them. The more defined you make that target market, the better your success will be. If, for instance, you’ve determined that you have a product that’s great for college students, what else should they have in common for the product to pique their interest – gender, dorm vs. apartment vs. living at home, major, etc….?

In any type of target market identification exercise, the more commonalities they have, the easier time you will have finding them and connecting with them.

 

A Lesson In Branding

Standard

Anyone who has known me for more than an hour knows that I’m an avid Disney fan. However, what many don’t realize is that my appreciation of Disney is not just on a personal level, but on a professional level as well.

In my opinion, Disney is the ultimate example of branding. Depending on how you experience them (theme park, movie, store, cruise, etc….), they have captured the ability to imprint on one or more of your senses and give you an experience that makes you smile and maybe even believe in fairy tales again.

I was at Disneyland last week and realized that every one of my senses was engaged at one point or another:

Sight: the most obvious – from the castle to the fireworks to the shows to the characters.

Sound: every “land” and even every ride has a soundtrack that is highly identifiable. Ever try to get Small World out of your head?

Smell: the ice cream shop on Main St. emits the wonderful smell of fresh waffle cones; popcorn and churros from vending carts; the unique scent of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Taste: for me, the ultimate Disney taste is the fried chicken at the Plaza Inn. My family thinks it’s the best fried chicken we’ve ever tasted and is at least a once-per-visit meal for us.

Touch: the feel of Mickey ears on your head or a pin lanyard around your neck. Of course, the emotional touch is what gives Disney the extra punch that other theme parks can’t touch.

Experience: a place that can make most adults feel like little kids again and that can bring out the sense of wonder, excitement and belief that anything is possible in actual kids.

Let me end by saying that the ultimate branding test is stores full of promotional products that people are waiting in line to buy. Yep, folks, every time you buy a piece of Disney memorabilia, whether online, in a Disney Store, or in a theme park, you’re buying a promotional item! Now that’s successful branding!