The Internet has dramatically changed how people find businesses and buy products. In the past, advertising was fairly straightforward; a marketing agency would run a series of newspaper, radio or television ads and track how much business increased. Focus groups could be employed, and other means of advertising such as billboards could be tried as well. The Internet, however, is now the primary means of advertising for many companies and marketing firms. Fortunately, classic techniques for determining success still work admirably; here are a few tips to consider.
Do Your Own Tracking
While all marketing agencies will perform some tracking, they often pick only the data points that seem to show great results. One way to counteract this is to do your own tracking and look for signs that marketing is succeeding or failing. While it can be difficult to identify genuine results in statistical noise, noticeable trends should become apparent over time. If it is clear that your current means of advertising seem to have little effect on business, it may be time to consider other options.
Another way of determining how effectively a particular marketing campaign is working is to ask customers how they heard about your business. Customers are quick to share this information, and tabulating this data can show if a marketing campaign is reaching customers. Further, you may wish to consider giving customers incentives for revealing this information. If most customers heard of a business from their friends or through marketing material not provided by the marketing agency in question, it might be wise to consider employing a different strategy instead of sticking with the same marketing firm.
Take a Break
If the gains from a marketing campaign seem to be minimal, it may be wise to suspend advertising for a period of time. While this can potentially lead to a slight loss of sales, determining whether a particular marketing campaign is working may be worth the risk. Not all marketing companies are able to deliver results, so learning this information as quickly as possible is very helpful. However, if sales drop quickly, you may want to restart the advertising campaign as quickly as you can and even consider scaling it up.
Another technique is to scale a marketing technique up for a short period of time. Again, this technique will cost money, but determining the effectiveness of a marketing campaign may be worth the short-term costs. If business increases dramatically, it may be a sign that a particular marketing firm is doing great work; if the results are lukewarm, it is probably time to consider hiring a different agency or trying a new marketing strategy.
Marketing is a cornerstone of business, and the Internet has made it far easier for companies to begin reaching out to customers. While this competition can be a bit intimidating, those who hire the right marketing firm and can properly track progress will be poised to succeed. Further, it should be noted that the Internet has caused the price of advertising to drop substantially, so creative ideas can be employed at a lower cost.