Someone recently told me that she thought the objective of every marketing endeavor should be “to make more money.” While we’d all like our efforts to lead to higher sales, measuring success is not always so straightforward. In fact, gauging the effectiveness of advertising based on overall sales is often not the best approach.
While there are certain types of advertising that can be tied to specific sales gains (such as some forms of digital and direct response), most campaigns require a different means of assessing effectiveness. There are too many factors outside of marketers’ control that can influence sales to attribute success or failure to an individual program. In most cases, metrics need to be specifically aligned with a campaign’s goals.
Obtaining those relevant metrics can be a challenge. But we’ve found that conducting pre- and post-research surveys is a cost-effective way to get a baseline read of key metrics prior to a campaign and gather comparative data after its launch.
Before getting started, there are a number of key considerations that will help you maximize your survey’s effectiveness.
What behaviors are you trying to influence?
Do you need to boost awareness to induce trial of a product? Are you trying to build affinity to lower consumer attrition? It’s important to be clear on what behaviors you want to encourage and why—and which behaviors are irrelevant.
For example, if you’re trying to increase awareness to get more people to try your product or service, the likelihood of a repeat purchase isn’t relevant. That metric hinges on the consumers’ post-purchase experiences, something not influenced by an awareness campaign. Targeting the right metrics is the foundation for accurate advertising effectiveness measurement.
Who are you talking to?
One of the trickiest parts of conducting pre- and post-research surveys is getting similar samples of respondents for each phase. This is where many false readings arise.
It’s vital that you set up a clear sample plan that outlines your target audience. Even with this planning, however, it’s not always possible to get the respondents to completely balance out from one round to the next. Analysis of research results needs to include a review of who responded in each round and how this might impact the data. For instance, if the second round of research has more high-income respondents than the first round, the data in the second round would likely skew as less price sensitive.
What else is going on?
Many things can change from the start of a campaign to the end. It’s important to be aware of factors that may impact your target audience’s behavior during the time in question, such as seasonality of demand, news coverage about the product or category, or other campaigns running during the same time period.
Bottom line: with all that goes into creating a campaign, a little extra investment to accurately assess its success just makes sense. Well-framed strategic planning and research will go a long way toward understanding where your marketing dollars are most effectively being spent—something that will ultimately make you more money.