The Importance of Tracking Marketing Efforts

I wanted to share one of many examples of the importance of tracking marketing efforts.  Tracking is a critical way to understand fully what the return on investment is for marketing and advertising dollars spent.  Advertising can be used for share of mind with no intention to drive specific service or product driven sales.  However, if you are advertising to generate prospects for a specific product or service that you hope to convert to customers, tracking the results of your efforts are necessary to make sure your advertising dollars are indeed generating opportunities for your business.

Recently, a client and I decided to test an ad in the local sections of the Friday and Saturday paper and a full run (all zones) in the Sunday main newspaper where advertising costs are very pricey.

In the Strategic Marketing plan I provided, I discussed how critically important it was to track which day and which paper drove in the responses to the ad so we could spend future advertising dollars on the days and papers that generated a meaningful response.  I provided a very simple check off sheet that would pinpoint where the prospect saw the advertisement that attracted him to the business.  I asked the client to give the tracking form to his prospects to fill out with his other required paperwork before being helped.  We agreed to the importance of this plan and that  I would collect the slips after the first 3 weeks in order to tabulate the information.  This way, we could evaluate which of the papers initially seemed effective for sending him leads.

A little over 3 weeks later, I returned to tabulate the tracking sheet and follow up on our efforts, so far.  For whatever reason, the client decided to simply ask the prospects if they heard about his company in the paper when they came in.  If so, he simply assigned it to the newspaper (not which one, or which day).

Now that the initial “test” was over, it was time for us to discuss where he wanted to invest his newspaper advertising dollars.  Because we did not know which day or newspaper was attracting the prospects most effectively, we could not narrow our focus (and marketing dollars) on these days and zones, so we had to continue our broad reach until we could gather this information.

It was only when he realized that he had proven newspaper advertising worked, but not which advertising was generating the best return on his investment, how important ad tracking really was.  He asked me for the form again and said this time he would use it.

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