Strategic Marketing Plan Wrap-up: Measures of Success

How is your company doing? Are you succeeding? Are you gaining awareness? Is your marketshare improving? You need tools to underscore and track your progress. My suggestion is a simple chart that displays the stats.

Silos can occur here, just as they do in many other areas of business. For instance, you may have dynamite numbers on social media. That’s peachy. How much of that action is converting to sales? Do you know how to track that? Make sure you create a chart that is as specific as possible. If you ran several different ads in a campaign, don’t lump them all into the same basket to count. Take a look at click-through for each ad. Don’t lump all social media into one bin, either. LinkedIn performs differently from Facebook, which is different from Twitter. Which works best for your product and your company?

After going through the previous steps, you’ll know what questions to ask to measure your success. If your business is mainly e-commerce, you’ll focus heavily on unique views, conversion from website and downloads, and online advocacy. If you are using indirect routes to market with a number of retailers or resellers, collecting feedback from those businesses would carry some weight. The bottom line everywhere, however, is income. Measuring in real purchases, made with real dollars, will show you the big picture.

For Big Wood Ski, as a fairly new company still establishing brand awareness and exploring various routes to market, tracking the biggest bang for the buck will help focus and refine their marketing efforts toward the best performance. Do their hunches about the percentage of online buys compared to in-store purchases play out? Are the retailers they have chosen performing as expected? Is advocacy and retention where they would like to see it?

Since Bex and Caleb are still working out how to package, present, and display their products, some A-B testing of package design or some feedback from customers about the experience might provide insight into where their dollars are returned with the biggest impact. Additionally, it will help to track which types of interaction—from events, sponsorship, contests, celebrity, or store displays—give the greatest traction on social media and build the most brand awareness.

A scan of this chart will give them answers to questions about marketing ideas for their next season:

After these numbers are calculated and entered into the Quantification column, Bex and Caleb will be able to see where their marketing is weak, whether they’re building awareness, and which steps are getting the most attention. They may want to consider some pre- and post-buy surveys to enhance the picture of their marketing status. They may also want to take a close look at microconversions.

Microconversions don’t just look at the purchase. They consider the customer journey in much smaller steps, looking at the way people move from one stage to the next or whether they’re skipping some of the expected steps and jumping directly into conversion. It may take one customer days, or longer, to move from awareness to consideration, while it may take only seconds before another customer eagerly types the information required for a purchase, followed by advocating for the product and company on social media. The steps people take, or leave out, combined with data about the customer profile, can help businesses understand where their best customers come from and how to encourage them with targeted placement, advertising, and products.

Along those lines, using technology to analyze the historical correlation of social media with purchases can help to predict where sales might occur next and where to expect a buy. Adobe makes excellent software to help with these tasks in larger companies, but small companies don’t have to go without. There are a number of great products out there, geared to the small company, that are very low cost, or even free. If you’re not taking advantage of the data that’s moving through your digital pages, you are truly missing out. Start paying attention. The stats will amaze you.

Beginning with my next post, I’ll explore hands-on marketing plans to put into action, giving Season 2 the real world, get-it-done approach to deliver maximum results from your marketing dollars. Next up, SMP Season Two: Specific Plans and Artifacts.