Manage Your Marketing: When Measurement Brings Bad NewsA couple of weeks ago, Mitch Joel, head of Toronto’s Twist Image marketing firm and author of two books, Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete, wrote a very interesting blog post titled, “Are most advertisers asleep at the wheel?” The post notes that many companies (and some agencies) still run their marketing in a “set it and forget it” methodology. The plan is made, the creative is developed, and then you measure the results. In the “old days” of marketing (which in some cases could be defined as about ten years ago), this kind of marketing worked pretty well.
The times have changed.
Measurement is no longer something that can be put off until a campaign is over, and in addition to measuring the effectiveness of a campaign on an ongoing basis, campaigns also need to be monitored. Ad placements need to be confirmed. Digital ads need to be tested to make sure they are going to the proper landing page. As we covered last week, online ad inventory needs to be monitored to make sure your ads aren’t appearing on inappropriate sites that your company has blocked.
Something else has changed in the marketing world as a side effect of increased monitoring and measuring. Sometimes measurement will reveal that a program simply is not working. Perhaps the creative is not working well with the audience. Maybe a new product was unexpectedly introduced so the campaign is no longer focused in the right place. Whatever the reason, the measurement data you gather may tell you a story that says, without a doubt, that your strategy needs to change. This can be a tough adjustment for companies that are used to having a low-maintenance marketing campaign throughout the year.
So what can you do if you are finding that a campaign is not performing as well as expected? Here are a few options:
• Analyze what is going on with your industry. Are you seeing less than desirable results across numerous campaigns? Does it seem like your industry is experiencing a slow-down? If so you may not want to change anything. Your campaign could be fine. Stick it out.
• If you are worried about an online campaign, check on the following:
- is your ad now rotating with more advertisers than it had been before?
- has the publication website changed such that your ad is no longer in a highly visible area?
- is the creative you are using in need of a refresh?
• If you are worried about a print campaign (yes, you can measure and monitor those), check on the following:
- take a look at the most recent BPA audit of the circulation if it is available. Has the circulation decreased, or has the circulation to your desired audience decreased?
- has the number of advertisers decreased over the last few issues? What about the number of pages in the portfolio? These can be signs that the publication is in trouble and it might be time to pull your ads.
- has the publication been offering a lot of “remnant space” deals? This can also be a bad sign for the publication.
• If you are worried about a lack of results from your social media marketing efforts, you may want to (as a company) evaluate the content you have been publishing. Is there too much of a gap between posts? Perhaps you are promoting too much or not enough.
The ability to be flexible
Naturally, all of this requires the ability to make shifts in the middle of a month or the middle of a year. That means that the structure of a company, from the marketing team to the sales team, needs to be able to communicate and collaborate seamlessly. When the marketing department makes a change, there needs to be an easy way to communicate the rationale and possible ramifications to everyone else in the company. The same would hold true, of course, if your measurement reveals good news. Your company may want to increase efforts in that area or divert more funds to those tactics. That needs to be communicated effectively as well.
As Mitch Joel said so succinctly, marketers, whether in an agency or in a company’s marketing department, can’t afford to look like they are sleeping at the wheel. Not only does monitoring and measurement need to happen year-round, but there needs to be a capacity to react to what that measurement and monitoring reveals.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/4rilla/4637558143/ via Creative Commons
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