One Simple Question to Help Measure Marketing Effectiveness

Return on investment and measurement are things we talk about a lot in the marketing world. And yet, it seems that businesses still struggle with determining the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

After all, marketing should help drive sales for your business. So, it helps to know if your marketing is contributing to leads and sales.

But, how do you determine where your business comes from?

Certainly, a great way to do this is by using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. It allows you to track all the marketing touch points with your prospects, leads and customers. This can help you analyze what’s working and what’s not.

However, even if your company isn’t using a CRM tool, there is still something you can do to help track where your business is coming from.

It’s a simple question that can offer a lot of insight.

Here it is:

“How did you hear about us?”

Simple enough, right?

Yes, it is. Yet, so many companies fail to work this important question into their processes.

Does your marketing measure up?

Asking this one question will help you better understand your customers and help you track your top business drivers.

Certainly, this process is far from perfect or scientific. Sometimes, people will say they saw a TV commercial when you’ve never run one or they’ll tell you they were referred by a friend even though they originally heard about your company through social media.

Even so, a good number of people will give you solid information that can give you insight into what impacted their decision.

For example, my husband’s law firm asks that question on their new client intake forms. Thanks to that feedback, we realized that a good percentage of his client’s mentioned his ad on the cover of the phone book. Typically, I would say advertising in the yellow pages is a waste of money. But, because we asked the question, we discovered this kind of traditional marketing was effective for his small town law practice.

This is also how my friend, Gini, was able to determine the ROI of her blog. Because she asked the question, she can tell you how much of her new business comes as a result of her agency’s blogging efforts.

The bottom line is that gathering this information is a far better way to measure your marketing efforts than simply guessing at where your business is coming from.

Bake the question into your process.

Although the question itself is simple, the hardest part is finding a way to build it into your company’s new business process and then doing it consistently.

If you’re not sure how to do this, here are some ideas:

  • Train your team to ask the question every time a prospect calls.
  • Include that question as part of the new client intake process.
  • Add the question to your web contact forms so you automatically have the information for prospects.
  • Add the question to your online checkout process.

Figure out what makes sense for your organization and go from there.

Track the information.

Then, the second part of the equation is to track the data. Asking the question does very little good if you don’t do anything with it.

The best ways to track this data is to either load the information into a spreadsheet or use a CRM to house the information.

It also helps if you develop consistent language for each referral bucket. For instance, a law firm client of mine can tell you almost all of their business falls into one of three buckets — referrals from attorneys, referrals from clients and their website.

Those “buckets” of businesses sources will depend on your marketing efforts and what you want to track. But, you might find that tracking will be a lot easier if you can determine the primary business sources and what items might fall under each. That way, whether someone says “Twitter, Facebook or YouTube” you can categorize all of those as “social media.”

Once you’ve determined the process for tracking, make sure everyone on your team knows what to do with the information.

Make decisions based on data.

This exercise will help you take the guesswork out of marketing measurement and help you better understand which marketing efforts are working and which ones aren’t.

From there, you’ll also be able to make more informed decisions about where to invest your marketing dollars, which is a very good thing.

Do you ask this question in your business? Why or why not?

Image credit: aussiegal

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Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

One reply on “One Simple Question to Help Measure Marketing Effectiveness”

I had to agree with your question, That was personally came from customers, But when it comes to online reporting, if where part of the campaign they are most likely visiting and what was the best time. I think Google analytic’s is also important.

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