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How to Judge the Success of a Marketing Campaign

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff

Whether your campaign is analog or digital, there are ways to measure its success.

  • All organizations should choose a marketing campaign strategy based on their budget and its effectiveness in increasing sales.
  • It is essential to measure the performance of your marketing campaign strategy in order to minimize losses.
  • Metrics such as lead conversions, individual visitors and bounce rates are used to measure the success of marketing campaigns.

Marketing campaigns can be the difference between breaking even and surpassing your sales goals. Whether you are creating your campaigns in-house or contracting an outside company, one of the most important things to know is how successful the campaign was.

But how exactly can you do that? It's a common question in the business.com community, so we went looking for a definitive answer.

Jonathan Bacon, vice president of marketing at SureCall, noted that some audiences are still very tactile, meaning that they like to touch and feel the publication, and provided some additional ways companies can track those nondigital marketing campaigns.

"For these audiences, you still want to use tracking methods by including phone numbers, unique URLs, lead generation forms tied into your CRM, or a unique email address that you can follow to see if customers are responding," he said.

For billboards and flyers, measuring ROI can be a little trickier, said Kathleen Bisset, director of marketing at public relations firm SSPR. "Sure, billboards are big and shiny and light up the sky. But are you actually seeing return from your investment?" 

Bisset added that you could always look up traffic patterns to see how many cars passed the billboard, but actually tracking how many people looked up at the board and translated that experience into calling your business or visiting your website is nearly impossible.

"If you feel a flyer or a billboard is a must-have in your marketing efforts … offer a coupon code that's only available on that collateral," Bisset said.

Julia Olson, CEO and founder of Treehut, said that when online tracking is not available, tracking overall performance through geographical location and timing of the marketing campaign is a good tool.

"It is also possible to do an offline survey to gain better insights or brand awareness, but the process can be very time-consuming," she said. "Often, they are simply not trackable, just like those ads during Mad Men times. While not all marketing campaigns are fully trackable – even in today's high-tech-driven era – they can be very successful in building brand awareness."

There are somewhat successful ways to track nondigital marketing efforts, such as keeping an eye on website traffic, cross-channel pollination and press interest, said Valerie Hamm Carlson, vice president of marketing at Simple. An uptick in referrals can also indicate that you're on the right track. 

Digital campaigns

Marketing tactics such as those mentioned above, while still popular with a niche market, have been overtaken by more targeted digital advertising that is easier to quantify. When it comes to gauging the overall success of a marketing campaign, programs like HubSpot are great places to start, as they offer marketing and sales tools to help your business start a marketing campaign.

Bisset said that even with all those tools and marketing materials, success is subjective. "Marketing initiatives that go viral feel successful to a consumer, like when one of your sassy tweets reached a huge retweet audience and makes its way around the Twittersphere." However, if your company is not seeing any real funnel leads from this effort, it might not look so successful to your executives or stakeholders.

"The layers go deeper than simply 'I got no email addresses from this, so it was an unsuccessful endeavor,'" Bisset said. "Brand awareness is huge in terms of warming your prospects, but it's not an easily trackable metric, nor is it something your marketing execs are going to jump for joy over."

Listening to the customer

No matter what type of campaign you're running, you need to listen to your customers.

"Our customer base is at the core of everything we do at MOO, so listening to their feedback is crucial to any successful campaign," said Gina Cothey, vice president of global marketing at MOO.

Bacon noted that success is ultimately the generation of something, whether that's brand affinity, repeat business or new market awareness.

"This is the primary success metric we assign to our campaigns during development and something we refer back to throughout development, launch, optimization and review," he said. "The granular and real-time metrics we have access to now lessens the risk of failure, because 95% of the time, you can optimize to improve performance metrics and, in turn, steer your campaign back toward success."

Common types of marketing metrics

According to Vital and Business 2 Community, these are some of the top key performance indicators (KPIs) to look at for your marketing campaign.

ROI

ROI, or the return on investment, refers to the profits generated as a result of making an investment. In a marketing campaign, this will be the profits you gain as a result of marketing your products. In some cases, marketing campaigns do not require any monetary investment. However, in these cases, you'll still need high-end tools to market your products, so that's where the financial investment comes in. Every key marketing strategy should have an overarching goal which should result to an increased return on investment.

Sales growth

One of the most common KPIs is sales growth. Measuring your sales growth on a daily basis will help you determine which marketing strategies are working and which ones are not. It is also important to share your sales revenue with your employees, as it gives them a sense of pride and ownership in the campaign's success.

Leads

More leads means more sales opportunities. Leads usually come one of in two forms: a sales qualified lead or a marketing qualified lead. According to Vital, an MQL is a lead who has engaged with your brand or shown interest already, such as by downloading a resource from your marketing emails, and an SQL is one your sales staff has identified as potentially ready to convert, so they're worth the time of direct marketing from your staff.

Cost of customer acquisition

This refers to the cost your company incurs from convincing a prospective client to buy your product or service.

Cost per sale

This is the total cost of the marketing campaign measured against the number of sales in a given period. You should try to minimize the cost of a sale by generating only a few qualified leads.

 

Image Credit: Weedezign / Getty Images
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