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Articles > Positioning Systems Newsletter # 55 3-28-06 "Quantify your advertising results"

I spend a lot of money on advertising each year. I’d like to really know how much of it is providing results and what isn’t. What can I do to determine this?

Determining the effectiveness of your advertising is a sticky subjective since frequently the source of our lead generation channels fail to provide substantive evidence to prove their effectiveness. As a past owner of a radio station one of the major difficulties that media faced was the ability to prove itself with customer testimonials and verified proof. We were often called on to have the ads provide "say you heard it on WXYZ for 10% off." Unfortunately the offers usually weren’t very good (Not too many people respond to 10% off.) and simply put radio effectiveness can no, t be judged on how many people come in saying they heard the ad.

So how do you determine the effectiveness of your advertising, or as we call it in Mastery your lead generation efforts? Quantification. While you may not be able to measure the specific result of each media, unless you test them separately, you should be measuring constantly where your leads are coming from. If you use a multi channel approach, it is reasonable to suspect that the effectiveness of your advertising is a mix of all the channels working together. How many of you actually measure how many leads you get each day, week or month? Do you ask where they come from? You may not be able to trust 100% where they are coming from, but if you make different offers with different channels you can measure the strength of each offer. We recommend that you establish a lead generation tracking device for your entire business, and then as you use each media you track them separately as well. A tracking device thus should be set up for your web page, direct mail, newsletter, radio, newspaper, whatever channels you use and monitored separately by the frequency you use these or if they are consistent by the week or month to track their relative effectiveness.

Recently one of our clients, an orthodontist completed a year long advertising campaign with a trusted and respected advertising company. It was a rather expensive effort, but due to the credibility of the firm’s owner, a respected author and advertising expert, the company felt confident they would see results. The advertising company also indicated that they would base their next year’s fees on the results they were able to generate. In the past several weeks they met with this company’s representatives to review the results of the advertising. Disappointing might not be the proper description, but based on the advertising's company’s own expectations they had not meet the goals they had set. In fact the orthodontist indicated that they seemed shocked to see the numbers and quantification that our client was able to present to offer proof that while they had exceeded their previous year’s numbers, they had not come close to generating the number of leads this ad firm had promised they would see using their services. While the first quarter of this year appears to show significant promise, the reality of the situation was they had not met their agreed upon goals and since our client also felt they had provided poor follow up and service the decision to recommit for another year of their services remains in question at this time.

Our client has not only done a superb job of quantifying their lead conversion process which remains consistent at about 72-75% closing ratio, (another surprise to this client’s ad agency since most clients fail to keep these numbers) but also at tracking where their leads come from. The major emphasis this advertising firm had placed was on radio and billboards. These two areas ranked at the bottom of our client’s lead generation sources.

Had the campaign worked? At best the response so far could be judged as lukewarm. The evidence to support continuing the relationship was poor at best.

What do you do to measure your advertising response? When you select a media channel a, nd start your advertising do you immediately set up tracking reports to quantify the results you receive? If not why not? It requires a bit of work to do so including informing everyone who will come in contact with your leads to be aware of your lead generation efforts and the need to quantify these efforts. In many cases the biggest reason ad campaigns and lead generations fail to be effective is internal communication of the advertising is spotty at best. Have you ever responded to an advertising offer and discovered the employee's at the business was unaware of the message or offer? Does that ever happen at your business?

Effective advertising requires coordination and many of us have employees working for us that don’t understand who we are or what we stand for let alone what types of offers we are currently advertising. Is it any wonder that so much of our advertising efforts are wasted or lost when attempting to track their results?

Effective advertising starts with everyone in the organization being absolutely clear on the promise your business is making and then making everyone who comes in contact with lead in your company aware of the advertising/lead generation efforts that are being made in the market.

Establish your marketing message and make it clear who your market it is and who your customer is to your own staff first. Then take the time and effort it requires to inform your staff of your lead generation efforts and set up the reporting for you business to track all your leads and where each channel is providing results. You will then have not the perfect system for tracking advertising results, the subjective nature of this simply will never provide that, but you will have a way to measure how effective your advertising efforts are.

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