Since taking up clay pigeon shooting a little over a year ago, I’ve kept a record of my score at each Sunday’s shoot. Some of my shooting buddies probably think I’m obsessed by numbers, and they’re right: I’ve kept a record of their scores too.
What has this got to do with marketing?
One of the things that attracts me to clay target shooting is that it’s very clear whether I’m succeeding: either the target breaks or it doesn’t. Measuring the success of marketing is more difficult, but to those that say it can’t be done, I say “Rubbish!”.
While shooting, I’ve been able to see the trend in my performance, and I know when, where, and why I’m improving (although it’s not as fast as I’d like!).
And because I can compare my scores with other competitors on the same day, I can see how my score compares with people faced with the same weather conditions and targets.
Just as with my shooting, I take that same approach to marketing, and make sure that accurate records are kept of the performance of every activity.
Managing marketing effectively is all about asking difficult questions, all of the time.
How many leads do I need to generate, based on how well they’ve been moved through to closed deals in the past? … Why was the direct marketing campaign more successful this month than last? … Which database of contacts is producing the best responses? … Has the media coverage we’ve been getting been on message, and in media read by our target audience? … And so on.
By comparing the results of different campaigns, you can see trends, find what’s working and what’s not, and refine your marketing over time. Keeping track of what your competitors are doing is vital too: how else can you make sure that your message and marketing programmes have sufficient differentiation from what they’re doing?
With accurate records of the performance of past marketing activity, it’s far easier to set realistic goals, within a well though out marketing strategy. It helps you to understand the degree of ‘challenge’ in each goal.