Are You Taking Pot Shots With Your Advertising?


Does your advertising really boost sales? Or is it just lining ad agency pockets? Are you getting the best returns from a slim advertising budget by targeting your media and audience? Or are you taking a shotgun approach and hoping for the best?

Do you know which advertising strategies work best for you? Are you sure, or are you guessing?

If you don’t have procedures to measure the results of your advertising then you’re probably relying heavily on guesswork. And you probably aren’t getting the best bang for your advertising buck. You’ll only know for certain if you measure and track the results of your advertising.

Remember the adage ‘What you can measure you can manage’. If you can measure the results of your advertising, you can assess just where advertising is really boosting your sales - that is, where you earn multiples of each advertising dollar you spend.

‘Too hard! Too much time and effort!’ you might object. And with some justification. You run a small business, and you don’t have a lot of time or resources to operate complicated measurement or tracking programmes. But fortunately there are some simple techniques for assessing your advertising return on investment.

These rules vary according to whether you measure advertising that has been focused on a particular product and designed to get a sale in the short term, or whether it was designed to work long term, influencing buyer attitudes towards your business and building a certain image.

You can test immediate response advertising through: 

      -  Coupons
      -  Customer enquiries
      -  Hidden offers
      -  Split-runs in newspapers
      -  Sales monitoring
      -  Monitoring retail store traffic
      -  Surveys

You can use coupons that correspond with product sales or customer enquiries and then get an estimate of ad response by tallying up coupon numbers. You can test ad response through hidden offers of the type, ‘Mention this advertisement and get 15 percent off’, or ‘Call this number for more information.’ If you record the number of enquiries you can get some idea of how successful the ad has been.

You can also get newspapers to run two versions of the same advertisement through a ‘split-run’ arrangement. Each version would carry a slightly different offer and you could record which one got the most responses. You could also keep records of sales of advertised and related items in the days or weeks after an advertisement. And you can monitor store traffic after ad campaigns or have people carry out surveys for you.

Measuring attitude advertising takes a little more stamina. This advertising works long term and you need to track the results of a number of advertising campaigns over a period of months. You need to do a bit of analysis so you can tease out the results of one campaign from another, and you need to keep accurate and long term sales records. This allows you to compare sales year-on-year, and judge the individual and cumulative effect of ad campaigns.

If this sounds a little complicated, don’t worry. We can help you design a marketing plan, set up Key Performance Indicators to measure results, and assist in data analysis. We can also show you ways to actually improve the conversion rate from initial enquiry to your ads, to a sale so as to further increase the return on your advertising investment.

Until next week,
Mike Reddy