Test, Track, and Tweak Your Marketing both online and offline

The other day a colleague mentioned that a big company had got onto the idea of testing and tracking their marketing. Excellent I said.

Trouble is they had taken the concept to the extreme and were only doing marketing that they could track.

The idea of testing, tracking and tweaking your marketing is so you can make marketing decisions based on the numbers, not some gut feel or one that looks nice. First up you run your marketing campaign (in other words you test it). Then you track the response you get from it such as how many leads a week it generates. As you come up with ways to improve it, you make a tweak (in other words a small change) and get this out in the market place (that is, test it). Then guess what? Yes, we track how it does. Compare this to the previous one, essentially keep what works best and cull what doesn’t.

Let’s get back to the story. So as not to identify who the company is, we’ll say they sell widgets. These aren’t the cheapest, nor the best quality, however, they deliver what they say they do and have been growing their sales over the last few years.

Enter a new manager, with the mantra of only doing marketing that can be tested and tracked.

Exit Sales. Yes, sales are now down 25% over the last 6 months. Agreed the current market has not been the most hospitable for widgets, and the company does have some seriously big competitors.

Really though, the big change was not the economy, it was the change in marketing. Basically what they did was slash and burn any marketing they deemed un-trackable. I know, crazy.

So now, yes they can track the marketing. Trouble is, sales have plummeted.

Here’s the kicker. Can you imagine what the new marketing plan they have put in place it all about? Grow it back to least what it was doing and some, I hear you say. No. No, their grand plan is to stabilise the plummeting and stop it dropping any more; I shake my head in disbelief.

Here’s what would have been a saner, safer, and in the end, more profitable approach:

  1. Put tracking in place where possible.
  2. DO NOT stop any existing marketing at this point (regardless of whether it’s being tracked or not).
  3. Think. There’s always ways of tracking where your sales are coming from.
  4. Put these new tracking ideas into place.
  5. Tweak and split test existing marketing.
  6. Do more of what works best.
  7. Rinse and repeat.
  8. Cull stuff that gives low Return on Investment on time and or money – after you have proof.

The big mistake this company, and in particular, this new manager made, was killing off marketing because they believed they could not track its performance.

Once I heard what it was they killed off, it was immediately obvious how with a little tweak they could track the results. The sad thing about the campaign they killed was it was to a highly targeted, captive, and motivated audience.

Hey, I don’t know the exact numbers (though, nor do they), however, from thinking about the campaign and medium they were using, I am sure it would have been an excellent source of leads.

So if someone suggests you kill off your marketing that you can’t track, run, don’t walk, run, they are a danger to your business.

Imagine if someone said to you that you should stop your Yellow Pages book advertising and you haven’t been tracking the results it generates. If you kill that off, it’s a year before you can get back in, what if you get leads every month from it, yet don’t know because you don’t track it? Before you make a decision like that, you’ve got to know the numbers, and then make an informed decision based on those numbers.

Last words – don’t kill off marketing you have in place without the numbers to back up your decision.

Update: If you’d like a copy of the Leas Source Sheet we give our clients so you too can track your results, then get in touch by phone or the Contact Us page and I’ll email it through.